ARCH Coalition Granted Leave to Intervene in Court of Appeal Hearing of Right to Housing Charter Application

April 3, 2014

In 2011, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) and four individuals filed a court application alleging that the governments of Canada and Ontario had violated their equality rights and their rights to life, liberty and security of the person as protected by sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. CERA and the individuals claim that the Governments’ failure to have effective strategies to address the homelessness crisis results in violation of their Charter rights.  The Governments claim that this case has no reasonable prospect of success and asked the court not hear the case on its merits. Justice Lederer of the Ontario Superior Court granted the Government’s request in September 2013. The applicants filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, asking that the decision striking their case be reversed. The Coalition of ARCH Disability Law Centre, Dream Team, HIV&Aids Legal Clinic Ontario and Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network asked the Court of Appeal to intervene at the hearing of this appeal as a friend of the Court. The ARCH coalition and seven other intervenors were granted the right to address the Court of Appeal as friends of the Court. The ARCH coalition will address the need for the Court to hear all the evidence before it makes a determination on the rights protected by the Charter as a Charter analysis can only be properly undertaken if the Court has an understanding of the context of those persons who are impacted by the Governments’ failure to implement and effective housing strategy. As well, the ARCH Coalition will discuss the need for the Court to understand and apply the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which must be considered when interpreting Charter rights. The hearing of this case is scheduled to be heard on May 26, 27 and 18, 2014. For more information click on this link http://socialrightscura.ca/eng/legal-strategies-charter-challenge-homlessness-motion-to-strike.html.