Ottawa, August 20th 2014 –Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), a Quebec network comprised of 150 organizations, will take advantage of the Peoples’ Social Forum that will take place starting tomorrow, in Ottawa, to sound the alarm on the state of the right to housing in Canada.
Based on figures obtained from Statistics Canada from the National Household Survey of 2011, FRAPRU identified that 382,590 Canadian tenant households, representing 9.5% of all tenants, spend more than 80% of their income on housing. This is an increase of 20% compared to the situation in 2006, at the time of the arrival in power of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government. The FRAPRU reiterates that a household should not spend more than 30% of its income for housing, which is the case today of 1,622,700 Canadian tenant households.
“By allowing the situation to deteriorate, like that of homelessness, the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper tramples the right to housing”, accuses François Saillant, FRAPRU’s Coordinator. He specifically criticizes the Government for granting only crumbs to assisting households facing housing problems, while gradually withdrawing from funding existing social housing. As of 2019, Ottawa plans to invest only 250 million $ per year to tackle all of the housing problems coast to coast. “This amount is ridiculous given the magnitude and severity of needs. By 2016, the federal investment for housing will be less than the savings that Ottawa will make as a result of the gradual end of subsidies that the Federal Government has been paying for decades to existing social housing.”
FRAPRU is alarmed by this last phenomenon, which, in its opinion, threatens these dwellings and more particularly their affordability for lower income households. At the end of 2013, 584,700 public, cooperative, non-profit or indigenous housing units still received federal grants. It is 45,000 less than in 2006, while the figure was 630,000. However, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation expects that this number will drop dramatically in the coming years to 519,700 in 2016 and only 452,300 in 2018.
While welcoming that more and more stakeholders are mobilizing against this federal disengagement, particularly in the municipal world, FRAPRU wants to take advantage of the Peoples’ Social Forum to expand the mobilization. In addition to participating in the various activities of the Forum, including the Peoples’ Unity March in the streets of Gatineau and Ottawa, on August 21st, FRAPRU organizes its own workshop to address the respect of the right to housing in Canada, on Friday August 22nd at 4:30pm. The new United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, will attend and speak at the workshop.
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