Trespassing on the Right to Housing: A human rights analysis of the City of Toronto's response to encampments during COVID-19

This report reviews the legal dimensions of Toronto’s approach to encampments during the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures the City’s response to encampments against its human rights obligations to encampment residents as specified in international and domestic law, the National Housing Strategy Act, and A National Protocol for Homeless Encampments in Canada (National Protocol). We explore the City’s human rights obligations and commitments under international human rights law and domestic law. We then consider Toronto’s response to encampments in light of these obligations and commitments. We conclude with recommendations for concrete steps the City can take to adopt and implement a new human rights-based approach to encampments in Toronto. Our goal in setting out these recommendations is to support the City to not only fulfill their legal obligations, but to live up to the important commitments they have made to all residents, housed and unhoused, and to realize the right to housing in our city. 

The report was prepared by 2019-2020 Osgoode Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic students Delaney McCarten and Lauren Graham, with Clinic Co-Director Professor Estair Van Wagner, and Clinic collaborators Dr Kaitlin Schwan and Professor Alexandra Flynn.

Find the full Report here: Trespassing on the Right to Housing Report 2021