The case for a human rights response to homeless encampments

Haseena Manek and Leilani Farha

A pattern is emerging. For two years running, the month of January has triggered the forced eviction of homeless people living in encampments in Toronto. 

This was the fate of those living in the Rosedale ravine a few weeks ago. They were evacuated ostensibly to preserve the ecology of the area, though it’s just as likely that their removal had to do with pressure from neighbours. 

Similarly, almost exactly a year ago, homeless folks living under the Gardiner Expressway had their encampment torn down for fire safety reasons. A few weeks later, a cluster of transparent domes – infrastructure for a luxury pop-up dining concept dubbed Dinner With A View – appeared nearby in a twisted metaphor for gentrification, with a heavy dose of irony.  

What’s happening in Toronto is mirrored across the country, with tent cities dotting the Canadian landscape in Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Peterborough, North Bay and Fredericton. Regardless of where they spring up, the experience is disturbingly similar – deplorable conditions and, eventually, eviction.

Read the full story in NOW Magazine.