While the crisis of people experiencing homelessness is by no means isolated to a single urban context, it is particularly acute and widespread in Vancouver. Vancouver has also been the site of several legal battles over the dismantling of encampments. This case study first describes the encampments at Vancouver’s Create a Real Available Beach (CRAB) Park. Next, it sets out legal challenges related to encampments, including two recent legal cases concerning government efforts to evict residents in CRAB Park through the use of trespass law and injunctions. The report concludes that these legal actions will continue until governments address the lack of secure housing for people experiencing homelessness and recognize that temporary shelters and encampment evictions are inadequate solutions that exacerbate the harms of homelessness. There is an opportunity for the federal government to proactively acknowledge their human rights obligations in respect to federal lands, including CRAB Park and Port Authority lands. This would mean that basic and fundamental rights are protected on federal lands, regardless of who oversees the management of the lands.
This document was produced as part of a cross-Canada knowledge-sharing research project that was funded by the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate in order to improve public understanding of the reality of those living in encampments. Click here to read the full series.