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Consulting with Canadians

A 10-year plan to help Canadians access housing that meets their needs and that they can afford.

The goal of the National Housing Strategy is to ensure Canadians across the country have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford.

From time-to-time, Canadians are invited to provide their input and share their thoughts, ideas and feedback on housing-related initiatives associated with the National Housing Strategy, either online or through in-person consultations.

National Housing Strategy Consultations

2019 Women’s Housing Need Survey

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that 25% of all NHS funding will support projects that meet the unique needs of women and their children.

Engagement sessions were conducted in January 2019 with various groups of women from across the country to better understand their housing needs. A draft summary report, along with a supplementary survey, were posted online between April 16 and May 6, 2019 to solicit additional input from as many women as possible. See what are findings are:

2018 Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing

We have compiled all of the feedback from the 2018 Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing consultation. The results of what we heard from Canadians can be found in the report.

Download the report (PDF)

Why we did it?

The Government of Canada believes all Canadians deserve access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. That’s why we have committed to take significant steps to advance a human rights-based approach to housing. We are doing this to help strengthen and ensure that our vision for housing in Canada focusses on the housing needs of the most vulnerable Canadians, both now and in the future.

A human rights-based approach is being advanced that focuses on ensuring that every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home. It is grounded in the core principles of accountability, participation, non-discrimination and inclusion.

On November 22, 2017, the Government took a historic step toward realizing a human rights-based approach to housing when it launched Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. The Strategy is an $82+ billion plan that will strengthen the middle class, fuel our economy and give more Canadians a place to call home. This includes more than $13 billion proposed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.

The Government proposed several new initiatives, which are key elements to continue to take a human rights-based approach to housing as part of the Strategy, for now and into the future. These include:

  • New Legislation that would require future federal governments to maintain a National Housing Strategy and report publicly on its progress in meeting key targets
  • a Federal Housing Advocate to address the systemic barriers that Canadians face in accessing an affordable place to live
  • a National Housing Council to enable people from different backgrounds to have a voice in housing policies and programs
  • a Community-Based Tenant Initiative to promote inclusive communities and build awareness of the challenges facing vulnerable groups
  • a Public Engagement Campaign to fight discrimination in housing type and tenure, reduce stigma and build more inclusive communities for everyone.

What was the focus of consultations?

Through the consultations, we wanted to hear your opinions and ideas about the key elements of a human rights-based approach to housing, the proposed approach to the new legislation, and new concepts to be explored.

For more information please read the Discussion Paper: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing (PDF) , which outlines the key elements of the Government’s proposed approach.

Who participated?

In addition to the hundreds of online submissions and feedback from Canadians, a series of roundtables were held across the country in April and May 2018. Two separate focus groups were also held with people that have lived experience of housing need or homelessness to seek their important perspectives. Findings from the consultations will be included in the What We Heard report.

Roundtable participants represented diverse organizations, backgrounds and views, and included:

  • Provincial and territorial partners and municipal representatives
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
  • Many advocacy organizations in the field of social and economic rights
  • Experts, housing and service providers in the field of housing, homelessness and poverty
  • Individuals and organizations representing the following vulnerable groups:
    • people with lived experience of housing need and homelessness, seniors, newcomers, women who are victims or at risk of family violence, Indigenous peoples, racialized groups, people with disabilities, including developmental disabilities, veterans, at risk youth, the LGBTQ2 community and people who are dealing with mental health or addiction issues.
  • Legal academics and professionals, and others.

What others have suggested

Canadians, including experts in the field of housing, joined the conversation and shared their feedback on a human rights-based approach to housing. Here’s what some of them have submitted:

These idea papers represent the views of the particular author and do not necessarily represent the views of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Employment and Social Development of Canada or the Government of Canada. The idea papers are subject to the Copyright Act, and the author is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in the idea paper. The idea papers are available in the language(s) in which they are written. When content is available in only one language, we will make an effort to provide similar content in the other official language.

Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing

Social Rights Advocacy Centre – Bruce Porter

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

Emily Paradis, Ph.D.

Christopher Essert, Associate Professor, Queen’s University Faculty of Law

To learn more about the NHS and its initiatives, please visit