Bill C-304: Libby’s Affordable Housing Bill passed second reading

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,

57-58 Elizabeth II, 2009

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA

NOT OFFICIAL VERSION

DRAFT PREPARED BY BRUCE PORTER AND LEILANI FARHA

FROM ADOPTED AMENDMENTS

AS WE UNDERSTOOD THEM

DECEMBER 11, 2009

BILL C-304

An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for

Canadians

Whereas the provision of and access to adequate housing is a fundamental

human right according to paragraph 25(1) of the United Nations Universal

Declaration of Human Rights;

Whereas, in 1976, Canada signed the International Covenant on Economic,

Social and Cultural Rights, a legally binding treaty committing Canada to

make progress on fully realizing all economic, social and cultural rights,

including the right to adequate housing;

Whereas the enjoyment of other human rights, such as those to privacy, to

respect for the home, to freedom of movement, to freedom from

discrimination, to environmental health, to security of the person, to

freedom of association and to equality before the law, are indivisible from

and indispensable to the realization of the right to adequate housing;

Whereas Canada’s wealth and national budget are more than adequate to ensure

that every woman, child and man residing in Canada has secure, adequate,

accessible and affordable housing as part of a standard of living that will

provide healthy physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social

development and a good quality of life;

Whereas improved housing conditions are best achieved through co-operative

partnerships of government and civil society and the meaningful involvement

of local communities;

And whereas the Parliament of Canada wishes to ensure the establishment of

national goals and programs that seek to improve the quality of life for all

Canadians as a basic right;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the

Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable

Housing Act.

INTERPRETATION

Definitions

2. The definitions in this section apply in this Act.

“accessible housing”

“accessible housing” means housing that is physically adapted to the

individuals who are intended to occupy it, including those who are

disadvantaged by age, physical or mental disability or medical condition,

and those who are victims of a natural disaster.

“adequate housing”

“adequate housing” means housing that is habitable and structurally sound,

and that provides sufficient space and protection against cold, damp, heat,

rain, wind, noise, pollution and other threats to health.

“affordable housing”

“affordable housing” means housing that is available at a cost that does not

compromise an individual’s ability to meet other basic needs, including

food, clothing and access to education.

“Minister”

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and

Housing Corporation.

“Aboriginal Community”

“Aboriginal Community” means a community made up of Métis, Inuit or First

Nations peoples, whether or not that community is situated on a reserve.

NATIONAL HOUSING STRATEGY

National Housing Strategy to be established

3. (1) The Minister shall, in consultation with the provincial and

territorial ministers of the Crown responsible for municipal affairs and

housing and with representatives of municipalities

and Aboriginal communities, non-profit and private sector housing providers

and civil society organizations, including those that represent groups in

need of adequate housing establish a national housing strategy designed to

respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to adequate housing as

guaranteed under international human rights treaties ratified by Canada.

Financial assistance

(2) The national housing strategy shall include incentives for affordable

rental housing and ensure that the cost of housing in Canada does not

compromise an individual’s ability to meet other basic needs, including

food, clothing, and access to health care services, education and

recreational activities, and shall provide financial assistance, including

financing and credit without discrimination, for those who are otherwise

unable to afford rental housing.

Requirements

(3) The national housing strategy shall also ensure the availability of

housing that:

(a) is secure, adequate, affordable, accessible, and not-for-profit in the

case of those who cannot otherwise afford it;

(b) reflects the needs of local communities, including Aboriginal

communities;

(c) provides access for those with different needs, including, in an

appropriate proportion, access for the elderly and the disabled, and

reasonable design options;

(d) uses design and equipment standardization where appropriate to

accelerate construction and minimize cost;

(e) uses designs with LEED (Leadership in and Environmental Design)

certification;

(f) includes not-for-profit rental housing projects, mixed income

not-for-profit housing cooperatives, special-needs housing and housing that

allows senior citizens to remain in their homes as long as possible;

(g) includes housing for the homeless;

(h) includes provision for temporary emergency housing and shelter in the

event of disasters and crises; and

(i) complies with standards for the maintenance of existing housing stock or

for the construction and maintenance of new housing and appropriate health,

security and safety standards.

Priority

(4) The national housing strategy shall give priority to ensuring the

availability of secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing to those

without housing and to members of groups particularly

vulnerable to homelessness, including: (a) those with special housing

requirements because of family status or size or because of a mental or

physical disability;

(b) members of groups denied housing as a result of discrimination; (c)

those who are experiencing violence or who are at risk of experiencing

violence.

Quebec

(5) The Government of Quebec may choose to be exempted from the application

of this

Act and may, if it chooses to do so, receive an unconditional payment equal

to the total of

the amounts that would otherwise be paid within its territory under this

Act.

Implementation of national housing strategy

4. (1) The Minister, in consultation with the provincial and territorial

ministers of the Crown responsible for municipal affairs and housing and

with representatives of municipalities and Aboriginal communities shall

develop a coordinated approach to the implementation of the national housing

strategy and may provide advice and assistance in the development and

implementation of programs and practices in support of the strategy.

Measures may be taken

(2) The Minister, in cooperation with the provincial and territorial

ministers of the Crown responsible for housing and with representatives of

municipalities and Aboriginal communities, may take any measures that the

Minister considers appropriate to implement the national housing strategy as

quickly as possible.

Conference to be held

5. (1) The Minister shall, within 180 days after the coming into force of

this enactment, convene a conference of the provincial and territorial

ministers of the Crown responsible for municipal affairs and housing, of

representatives of municipalities and Aboriginal communities, non-profit and

private sector housing providers and civil society organizations, including

those that represent groups in need of adequate housing, in order to

(a) develop standards, and set objectives and targets for the national

housing strategy referred to in subsection 3(1) – including targets to end

homelessness – with clear timelines and accountabilitv mechanisms and

develop programs to carry out the strategy;

(b) set targets for the commencement of the programs referred to in

paragraph (a)

(c) develop the principles of an agreement between the federal, provincial

and territorial governments and representatives of the municipalities,

Aboriginal communities, housing providers and civil society organizations,

including those representing groups in need of housing, for the development,

delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the programs referred to in paragraph

(a): and

(d) develop a process for the independent review, addressing and reporting

of complaints about possible violations of the right to adequate housing;

and

e) develop a process for review and follow-up on any concerns or

recommendations from United Nations human rights bodies with respect to the

right to adequate housing.

6. The Minister shall cause a report on the conference, including the

matters referred to in paragraphs 5(a) to (Lib) to be laid before each House

of Parliament on anyone of the first five days that the House is sitting

following the expiration of 180 days after the end of the conference.