The term ‘encampment’ is used to refer to any area wherein an individual or a group of people live in homelessness together, often in tents or other temporary structures (also referred to as homeless camps, tent cities, homeless settlements or informal settlements).
Encampments must also be understood in the context of historical and ongoing structural racism and colonization in Canada, whereby Indigenous peoples have been systemically discriminated against and dispossessed of their lands, properties, and legal systems. Other groups have also endured systemic and historical disadvantages that have created barriers to accessing housing and shelters, including 2SLGBTQ+, Black and other racialized communities, people living with disabilities, and people who are criminalized. This is the result of structural conditions and the failure of governments to implement the right to housing or to engage with reconciliation and decolonization materially and in good faith.*
*Source: Farha, L., & Schwan, K. (2020). A National Protocol for Homeless Encampments in Canada: A Human Rights Approach