Canada Without Poverty has a long history of being involved with international human rights and law. In 1993, CWP (then named the National Anti-Poverty League, or NAPO) was the first non-governmental organization (along with the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues or CCPI) to be invited to present orally at the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
CWP/NAPO provided oral testimony on Canada’s enforcement of economic and social rights, which the Committee took into account in their concluding observations. CWP/NAPO was invited to return to the UN in 1995 and 1998 (read here) to speak to the Committee on the reforms to and the eventual loss of the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), the federal social assistance program that provided health and social transfers.
In 2006, CWP/NAPO collaborated with other prominent Canadian non-governmental organizations to present a concise analysis of Canada’s compliance with the ICESCR, including details about which rights were being violated by the government (read here). The consensus was that the absence of effective follow-through measures for the Committee’s recommendations was very concerning. Similarly, the lack of a national housing strategy, the reforms to welfare eligibility, and minimum wage were cited as major concerns by CWP/NAPO and other organizations.
In March 2015, CWP presented to the Committee a 13 page document with a list of issues (read here) detailing Canada’s shortcomings in the areas of poverty, homelessness and hunger. The focus of this list of issues was Article 11 of the ICESCR (on the right to an adequate standard of living) and how that right directly affects the issues of homelessness and food insecurity.
Most recently, in March 2016, Canada was reviewed under the CESCR. Both the Government and some NGOs, including CWP, were invited to make submissions. To read our 2016 oral submissions, click here; for CWP’s 35-page written submission, click here; for the concluding observations from Canada’s review at the 2016 CESCR, click here.