The Right to Housing - A Human Right

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2841

Abstract:  In February of 1982, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission granted legal approval to the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation to design special programmes to increase adequate housing for Natives. According to statistics provided by the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC), only 11 per cent of Native people who need affordable housing presently have it. In response, the SHC has developed a five year plan which contains special measures to improve and expand housing opportunities for Native people. The plan projects that by 1985, 21.7 per cent of all housing units administered by SHC will be occupied by persons of Indian ancestry.

The proposal to provide housing specifically to meet the needs of persons of Indian ancestry was submitted to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for legal approval. Without legal approval programmes which display a preference for a certain group of people run the risk of violating the provisions of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. However, the Human Rights Code provides for certain groups of people wo have experienced disadvantages and inequities because of their race, sex, marital status, physical disability, etc.

In order to ensure that long term positive changes result from SHC's special programme, approval was subject to a number of conditions agreed by SHC. Of particular interest is a condition which stipulates that all housing units designated as Section 40 housing under the National Housing Act, be turned over and administered by native non-profit organizations. In compliance with this condiiton plans are currently underway to transfer housing units to native organizations in a number of centres. SHC is also being required to develop a plan of action which will asses housing needs for persons with physical disabilities.

Although the legal approval given by the Saskatchewan Human Rights commission applies to a very small programme, it is significant because it is the first step toward ensuring that equal opporuntities exist with respect to public housing in Saskatchewan.

This abstract was published in the Connexions Digest in 1983.
See also CX2640.

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