More than Wishful Thinking: Recent Developments in Recognizing the Right to Housing under S 7 of the Charter

More than Wishful Thinking: Recent Developments in Recognizing the Right to Housing under S 7 of the Charter

This paper addresses recent developments in case law surrounding the recognition of a right to housing under section 7 of the Charter. I argue that for a right to housing to be guaranteed, section 7 interpretations must be expanded in scope to be beyond criminal law. Additionally, section 7 must be expanded to include positive rights. Reviewing the trajectory of Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decisions, I find there is room for optimism on both fronts. Additionally, I review recent cases in the lower courts and conclude that while a "right to housing" has not (yet) been read into section 7, recent decisions have effectively done so by indirectly ordering a remedy of establishing shelter spaces. While the court has shied away from explicitly ordering this remedy, it has, nonetheless, all but mandated it. If this is not "reading in" a right to housing in a traditional sense, as in Vriend, it certainly amounts to much more than a wink and a nod in the direction of a positive right to housing.

JOURNAL: Windsor Reiew. Legal & Social Issues
VOLUME: 38
ISSUE: 1
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017