Housing: Current Problems

BC


December 11, 2019


Urban Indigenous Housing Srategy

Statement on National Urban Indigenous Housing Strategy

In Canada 79.7% of Indigenous Peoples live in urban centres yet an Indigenous Urban Housing strategy has yet to be developed.

Aboriginal Housing Manager Association (AMHA) applauds the Federal government efforts in the National Housing Strategy to address the needs of Metis/First Nations/Inuit groups on a distinction basis, it has failed to recognize the majority and the most vulnerable; the urban Indigenous peoples. As per the Special Rapporteur’s report “states should recognize the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and that indigenous peoples must be able to influence decisions that affect them in housing and related areas. Indigenous peoples must be meaningfully consulted with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent to all decisions made regarding housing policy, laws and programmes that may affect them.”

“As the newly formed federal government opens parliament, on International Human Rights Day – we share this statement in the sincere hope that urban Indigenous housing conditions and homelessness are prioritized in the federal government’s implementation of the National Housing Strategy, as a matter of human rights and consistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The public statement written below was created collectively by AHMA, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Leilani Farha, and a variety of Indigenous Housing Leaders from across Canada at a public press conference in Toronto at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

We demand the federal government:

  1. Recognize the right to an adequately resourced National Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy developed and implemented by urban, rural and northern housing and service providers;
  2. Recognise urban, rural and northern housing and service providers as expressions of Indigenous self-determination, as recognised by the Federal Court of Appeal in Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (Misquadis) and as per articles 4, 21 and 23 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  3. Create new legislation, mirroring the rights and accountability framework articulated in the NHSA, which recognises culturally relevant housing as a human right for Indigenous people in urban, rural and northern areas;
  4. Domesticate and implement the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law;
  5. Finally, we challenge the newly formed government to meet these four demands in the first 100 days of government.

https://www.ontarioaboriginalhousing.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Statement-on-National-Urban-Indigenous-Housing-Strategy-11-12.pdf


February 25, 2022


Homelessness

Supreme Court rules against City of Prince George in homelessness case

The BC Assembly of First Nations – is pleased to welcome the recent verdict in Prince George (City) v. Johnny. Once again, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has ruled against the City of Prince George’s attempts to dismantle an encampment, known as “Moccasin Flats,” located within a vacant lot in Prince George. After losing an initial court case in October 2021, which also sought to dismantle Moccasin Flats, the City tried a different legal route – but the result was the same.

Moreover, the most recent ruling affirmed that Prince George’s current shelter availability does not necessarily translate into actual shelter space accessible to encampment residents. The City’s multiple efforts to remove Moccasin Flats before working to address the root cause for such encampments have created additional strain on service providers and inflicted further trauma on unhoused individuals in Prince George, of whom at least 80% are Indigenous.

Additionally, the City’s partial demolition of Moccasin Flats in November 2021 was deemed to be in contravention of the October 2021 Stewart Order, which authorized the encampment to remain in place unless and until the City demonstrated available and accessible housing and daytime facilities. As Justice Coval noted, “this breach inflicted serious harm on vulnerable people.” Furthermore, the City attempted to evade responsibility for this Supreme Court violation by claiming that B.C. Housing had organized and executed the effort. However, the City’s own evidence from their Bylaw Manager stated that Bylaw personnel were involved 

“Targeting the unhoused is unethical, illegal, and ineffective,” continued Regional Chief Teegee. “Encampments are not a long-term solution; however, deliberately removing people’s shelters before providing acceptable housing options is simply cruel. If the City of Prince George is serious about addressing homelessness and advancing reconciliation, then they must drastically change their approach to this complex crisis.”