North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is addressing the housing crisis that she says continues to impact her local riding and communities countrywide.
In Ottawa today (Dec. 7), Blaney tabled a private Member’s bill C-207 to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights to include the right to appropriate and affordable housing for all Canadians.
According to Blaney, the Right to Housing Bill would “ensure that the right to housing is firmly recognized as law. It would redefine the federal framework for housing legislation and would set a requirement for the Minister of Justice to ensure every regulation change is consistent with the right.”
The MP previously introduced the same bill in 2016, but Liberal and Conservative MPs turned it down. And since that time, Blaney finds housing affordability, on the west coast, in particular, has gone from bad to worse.
She points to homelessness on the rise, with the price of an average home in her riding having more than doubled and rental vacancy rates sitting near one per cent.
“There was a time when I was young when I saw a sleeping bag that I thought of times with family spent out camping,” Blaney recalled.
“Now when I see sleeping bags, it’s because there are so many people out on our streets across this country carrying their bedding with them because they have no safe home to go back to.”
“The reality is,” Blaney continued, “the fact of owning a home has become an impossible dream, and finding a decent place to rent is getting harder and harder every day.”
She said safe and affordable housing is “increasingly out of reach.”
“The Liberals have agreed in their National Housing Strategy that housing is a basic human right, but we’re not seeing any action or accountability in our communities where it matters,” Blaney added. “Putting it in the Bill of Rights sets a requirement, and allows laws to be challenged in court if they are failing to meet that requirement.”
NDP Critic for Housing and Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan seconded the bill.