Professor Deborah Curran receives SSHRC PEG COVID 19 Special Initiative Grant

Homeless encampment on Pandora Avenue in Victoria, BC
Photo used with permission of the photographer (anonymous)

Deborah Curran, Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Studies (Social Sciences) and Faculty of Law, is a collaborator on a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant – COVID 19 Special Initiative - awarded to Professors Van Wagner (York U) and Flynn (UBC). With the academic team comprises most of the municipal law scholars in Canada, they are working with community partners The Shift and others to develop an implementation strategy for the National Protocol on Homeless Encampments in Canada: A Human Rights Approach (The Protocol) developed by co-applicants and collaborator organizations. The purpose of the research is to gain a clearer understanding of how Canadian governments have responded to homeless encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether and how they are fulfilling their human rights obligations under Canadian and international human rights law. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Document the range of government responses to homeless encampments before and during COVID-19, at all levels of government and across Canada;
  • Gather information about how decisions about homeless encampments are made by governments, law-enforcement, and front-line workers across Canada, and whether and how these have shifted during COVID-19;
  • Develop an implementation and knowledge mobilization strategy for the Protocol, with particular attention to the context of the pandemic; and
  • Implement the Protocol by working with governments, law-enforcement, and front-line workers across Canada to ensure they understand their obligations and have the tools to adopt a human rights approach to encampments, particularly with respect to public health obligations during COVID-19.