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City of Edmonton sued over homeless encampment evictions

A group is suing the city claiming that evicting homeless people from encampments violates their human rights.

The Coalition for Justice and Human Rights (CJHR) filed the lawsuit against the City of Edmonton on Monday.

In a news release Thursday, the CJHR said in part, “Despite being aware of the inadequacies in housing and shelter provisions to address the needs of all Edmontonians, the City of Edmonton continues to displace encampments with no reasonable solution. These actions have placed vulnerable people in dangerous situations, thereby violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and undermining their fundamental human rights.”

There were 3,137 homeless people in Edmonton as of August 2023, according to Homeward Trust Edmonton’s By-Name List, CJHR said in its statement. Nearly 1,400 people sleep in shelters or outside.

“Due to the City’s policy of displacing encampments, unhoused individuals have endured severe hardships,” said Chris Wiebe, a lawyer from the Engel Law Office who acts as co-counsel for CJHR.

“These include the loss of essential personal belongings like tents, propane tanks and propane-powered stoves, ID, and bikes; disruptions in crucial relationships and support systems that enable unhoused people to protect and care for themselves and each other; and an elevated risk of injury, and even death from exposure to extreme weather.”

In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, the city confirmed it received notice of the legal action and that it is preparing to discuss and defend its approaches in court.

The city has until Sept. 18 to file its statement of defence.

More details to come…


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