Victoria (City) v. Adams: Advancing the Right to Shelter

Victoria (City) v. Adams is an important B.C. case about social and economic rights. The issue in this case was whether a City bylaw which required homeless people to remove tents and any overhead protection, while sleeping in Cridge Park, violated their right to life, liberty and security of the person. This is a key case in the development of protections for poor and homeless people in Canada.

After a loss in the British Columbia Supreme Court, the City appealed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The Poverty and Human Rights Center was granted status to intervene. The Centre filed a factum and made oral submissions arguing for an interpretation of s. 7 of the Charter as including a right to adequate housing, consistent with international law norms. The Court of Appeal agreed with the lower court that an absolute prohibition on the erection of a temporary overnight shelter violates the Charter. To view the Court of Appeal decision, follow the link provided below.

Victoria (City) v. Adams: Advancing the Right to Shelter is one in a series of law sheets produced by the Poverty and Human Rights Centre that are focused on the domestic enforcement of social and economic rights. The law sheets are intended to assist lawyers, front line advocates, and non-governmental organizations who rely on the human rights framework in their advocacy before tribunals and courts, to assist members of vulnerable groups. This law sheet describes the issues in the Adams case and the role of international human rights law in the decision.

To view the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision follow this link: British Columbia Court of Appeal: Adams v. Victoria (City) (PDF)

To view PHRC’s factum click here: PHRC Adams Factum (PDF)

To view the Law Sheet click here: Victoria (City) v. Adams: Advancing the Right to Shelter (PDF)

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