Why are we seeing more encampments in Toronto and Cities across Canada since the start of COVID-19?

Encampments reflect the Canadian governments’ failure to successfully implement the right to adequate housing. During the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, the number and size of encampments has grown across the entire City. Someone might live in an encampment because:

  • Shelters have had COVID-19 outbreaks, due to congregate living settings and shared washrooms;
  • Some individuals have had negative experiences in certain shelters, and feel unsafe;
  • Homophobia or transphobia in shelters;
  • The physical conditions of some shelters remind people of traumatizing institutions, like prisons or residential schools;
  • Others have no place to go due to Provincial services like crisis beds and detox facilities that are no longer available or were discharged from correctional facilities without an adequate housing plan;
  • At the start of the global pandemic, encampment clearing was paused and the focus shifted to the safety of those in encampments and living outdoors.

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