International Jurisprudence: Security of Tenure in Canada

Canada made commitments under international law to implement the right to housing by ratifying various treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The obligations under the ICESCR have been enshrined in domestic law through the National Housing Strategy Act (NHSA) that was passed in 2019. Canada’s implementation of the ICESCR is monitored by the Committee of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), while other treaties are monitored by other committees. The CESCR has a tool called the Optional Protocol that allows people to bring claims to the CESCR directly if they believe their rights have been violated, and the Committee makes decisions on these claims. Canada can learn a great deal from decisions made under the Optional Protocol, and five such cases are discussed in this report.

Security of tenure is an integral part of the right to housing, and there are standards for security of tenure in international law which this report goes through in detail. For tenants in Canada, there is no minimum standard for the protection of security of tenure because each province has its own laws. To provide an example, this report compares the levels of protection in Ontario and British Columbia. Canada can learn from the policies that other countries have implemented to protect security of tenure and what they have done to implement the right to housing. In this paper, we discuss Scotland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Germany.

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