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Advocacy Issues

Tell Premier Eby that you object to recriminalization

Date 26 Apr, 2024

Category Advocacy Issues

On April 26, Premier David Eby announced his plans to recriminalize substance use in BC. This is a deadly step backward. We are disturbed to see this shift in policy that will keep people in cycles of criminalization, and without question lead to more people dying because they will use alone and in non-visible spaces.

Criminalization also does not direct or support people toward treatment, should they seek it.

This is a deadly choice.

Write to Premier Eby to tell him and the provincial government that you object to policy that will kill. Tell the BC Government that decriminalization and safe supply are the path forward to saving lives and supporting people who use drugs.

Tell Eby that you unequivocally do not agree or support this change.

If you don’t see the form, please refresh your browser.

Residential Tenancy Act Law Reform Platform

Date 5 Feb, 2024

Category Advocacy Issues

“Everyone Needs a Home: Solutions for Preventing Homelessness, Evictions, and Displacement”, is our law reform platform that provides evidence-based recommendations drawing on research and statistical analysis, case law, legislation from multiple Canadian jurisdictions, Residential Tenancy Branch datasets, and the BC Eviction Mapping dataset (which has documented the mechanisms of eviction since mid-2022) for the Residential Tenancy Act.

In BC, hundreds of thousands of households rely on both rental housing and the law to provide a basic level of protection and stability. Tenants in British Columbia have faced dramatic increases in rent paired with the highest eviction rates in the country. The impacts on our most vulnerable neighbours cannot be overstated. Homelessness, community displacement, family separation, disconnection from work and necessary services, and a host of physical and mental health impacts follow eviction. 

The Residential Tenancy Act has the potential to meet these challenges, but in order to do so, it must change. It must offer a concrete response to the risks posed by the commodification of housing and profiteering. Many of the core features of the Act are decades old and do not address present realities.

Calls to Action

Read the summary of our platform and the full platform below. Then, take action and sign our petition calling on Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, to implement these pressing amendments.

Read the Summary

Read the Full Report

Open Letter: Call on City, Province to meet and plan encampment response

Date 17 Jan, 2024

Category Advocacy Issues

The below open letter was sent in collaboration with the Carnegie Housing Project to BC and Vancouver officials, urging a human-rights based approach to supporting unhoused neighbours. The letter was originally sent on January 12, 2024, and signatories listed are representative through January 17 2024.

Dear David Eby, Premier of British Columbia
Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing of British Columbia
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities of Canada
Jenny Kwan, MP Vancouver East
Joan Phillip, MLA Vancouver – Mount Pleasant
Nathan Allen, Director Strategic Projects for British Columbia
Betty Lepps, Director of Urban Relationships Director of Urban Relationships, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Brennan Bastyovanszky, Chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Ken Sim, Mayor of Vancouver
Sandra Singh, Deputy City Manager at the City of Vancouver
Celine Mauboules, Managing Director, Housing and Homelessness Services at the City of Vancouver

We are writing this letter to urge the Province of BC, City of Vancouver, and Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to provide a human rights-based, harm reduction, trauma-informed, decolonial approach to supporting our unhoused neighbours. Eliminating enforcement-based policies, such as the Park Control By-law, in search of compassionate approaches that cease the daily traumatization of city residents who are unhoused will provide a more thoughtful experience that helps people rather than create more harm. This is particularly true for people living in temporary shelters in CRAB Park, Oppenheimer, and other Vancouver parks on the stolen and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.

We support the requests from the CRAB Park Community for:

  • Acquiring the parking lot just west of the park and expedite a tiny home village for the CRAB Park community;
  • A winter moratorium on eviction of people who sleep outside;
  • Provision of washrooms, lockers and better sanitation (peers could be paid to do cleaning);
  • Better communication with the Fire Department and other civic services; 
  • No evictions from structures unless alternate, safer structures are provided by the City.

We also ask that the City work with the Province to rapidly fund and open 24 hour warming spaces across the city. There is still an extensive shortage of suitable shelter and housing units at this time and as such, we ask that the three partners do more to provide what is needed by CRAB Park residents and other unsheltered individuals as outlined by them. We understand the complexities of an encampment and we know that the solution to these concerns is a compassionate and holistic approach that prioritizes providing stable, suitable and appropriate housing to those in need and not forcibly displacing individuals to insufficient shelter or a different outdoor space. At this point, with overloaded and unsuitable shelters and virtually no vacant affordable housing, tent cities are part of the housing continuum.

We request that Mayor Sim and members of Vancouver City Council meet with stakeholders in the community, including people with lived experience, to make an adequate plan for supporting a human rights-based approach for groups who are unhoused to access appropriate shelter and housing when it’s available.

We believe in supporting initiatives that enhance accessibility on the streets, ensure the safety of women and gender-diverse individuals, and promote fire safety to foster a healthy and inclusive community. However, evicting people from parks when there is no suitable housing fails to address these critical concerns in a sustainable, dignified, or compassionate manner.  

Please let us know what actions you intend to take immediately to deal with the crisis. 

Sincerely, 

Steven Johnston, Community Coordinated Response Network
Erin Bodin
Stephen D’Souza, Homelessness Services Association of BC
Aditi Shetty, Potluck Cafe Society & Potluck Catering Inc.
Michelle Lackie, Exchange Inner City
Jessica Sakeskanip, Pacific Association of First Nations Women
Scott McTaggart, Artisan Church
Holly Steele, Support Worker at Embers Staffing
Kathy Shimizu, WePress Community Arts Space Society
Evan, Heart tattoo society
Maria Gaudin, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House
Amanda Burrows, First United
Joanna Habdank
Carrie Humchitt, Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society (VAHS)
Don Shafer, CFRO FM (Co-op Radio)
Mark Friesen, Columbia College
Dr. Lou Lizotte, WISH Drop-In Centre Society
Moroti George, Gallery Gachet
Gilles Cyrenne, president, Carnegie Community Centre Association
Lisa Curry, Megaphone
Clara Prager, Women Transforming Cities (WTC)
Johanna Li, EMBERS Eastside Works
Sherri-Beth Rosette, Pacific Association of First Nations Women
Alex Bodin
Matthew Smedley, Mission Possible
Jill, Watari Counselling and Support Services
Landon Hoyt, Hastings Crossing BIA
Charlotte Lewthwaite
Casey Vickers, ally
Laura McQuarrie-Salter, VWHC Vancouver Women’s Health Collective
France-Emmanuelle Joly
Devin O’Leary, Carnegie Housing Project
Christopher Livingstone, Aboriginal Front Door Society
Christina Wong, Employ to Empower
Naved Noorani, Potluck Cafe Society
Sonam Swarup
Kim Hawkins, Rise Women’s Legal Centre
Samantha Schumacher, Mom2Mom Child Poverty Initiative
Richard Hojjat, La Boussole Centre Communautaire Francophone
Marina Watabe, Board of Director, Powell Street Festival Society
Emiko Morita, Powell Street Festival Society
Adriana Ng, A Better Life Foundation
Julia Aoki, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement
Kathleen Leahy, Vancouver Urban Core Workers Association
Aaron Bailey, Eastside Illicit Drinkers Group for Education
Hannah Dempsey
Delilah, WAHRS
A.J. Withers, Ruth Wynn Woodward Jr. Chair, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University
Jennifer Johnstone, Central City Foundation
Wendy Pedersen, Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative
Laura MqQuarrie Salter, VWHC – Vancouver women’s Healing Centre
Jacqueline Michell, Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre
Brittany Graham, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

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Recent Updates

21 Jun, 2024
National Indigenous People’s Day 2024
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26 Apr, 2024
Tell Premier Eby that you object to recriminalization
read more
25 Mar, 2024
Toast Talks: March 2024
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