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About Congress

Mark your calendars for CHRA’s first-ever virtual Congress on Housing and Homelessness happening from April 27 to 29, 2021! Get ready for three days of learning, networking and engaging with leaders from across the Canadian community housing sector to have your say on key issues, learn about the latest sector developments, make connections across the country, and get inspired! This year’s virtual format will:

  • Present over a dozen concurrent information sessions and workshops
  • Feature presentations from leaders in the Canadian housing sector
  • Recognize and celebrate excellence in the sector with CHRA’s National Awards
  • Tackle the key issues facing urban, rural and, northern Indigenous housing by participating in CHRA’s Indigenous Caucus
  • Highlight innovations and transformations in the sector
  • Offer plenty of networking opportunities
  • Host a virtual tradeshow
  • Offer a chance to win prizes and more!

Featured Speakers

Sheila Watt Cloutier

Citizen Advocate on Environmental, Cultural and Human Rights

Thursday, April 29

Sheila Watt-Cloutier has been a political representative for Inuit at the regional, national and international levels, most recently as International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council (formerly the Inuit Circumpolar Conference). Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues affecting Inuit, most recently, persistent organic pollutants and global warming. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work and has been featured in a number of documentaries and profiled by journalists from all media.

Jesse Thistle

Métis-Cree Author and Assistant Professor, York University in Toronto

Indigenous Caucus Event (Tuesday, April 27)

Biography

Jesse Thistle is a Métis-Cree Ph.D. Candidate in the History program and Assistant Professor at York University, Toronto. Currently, he is working on theories of the intergenerational and historical trauma of the Métis people. Jesse’s work involves reflections on his own previous struggles with addiction and homelessness and has been recognized as having a wide impact on both the scholarly community and the greater public.

Dr. Paul Kershaw

University of BC Professor, and Founder, Generation Squeeze

Innovation Forum (Tuesday, April 27)

Biography

Dr. Paul Kershaw is a tenured University of BC professor, public speaker, regular media contributor and Founder of Generation Squeeze – a voice for younger Canadians in politics and the market supported by cutting-edge research. Kershaw is one of Canada’s leading thinkers about generational equity.

Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing

Opening Ceremonies (Wednesday, April 28)

Biography

Balakrishnan Rajagopal is Associate Professor of Law and Development at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He founded the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the Displacement Research and Action Network. He is recognized as a leading participant in the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Network of scholars and is one of its founders and is recognized as a leading global commentator on issues concerning the global South.

Hon. Ahmed Hussen

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Opening Ceremonies (Wednesday, April 28)

Biography

Ahmed Hussen was elected as the Member of Parliament for York South—Weston in 2015 and sat on the Justice and Human Rights Committee. He was also the vice-chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. In January 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Ahmed as Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. Ahmed was subsequently re-elected as the Member of Parliament for York South—Weston in October 2019. On November 20, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Ahmed Hussen as Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Mayor Danny Breen

Mayor of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Opening Ceremonies (Wednesday, April 28)

Biography

Danny Breen was first elected to the St. John’s City Council in the Fall of 2009 and was re-elected by acclamation in 2013, representing Ward 1, in the east end of St. John’s. He was elected as Mayor of the City of St. John’s in September of 2017. Danny has served as Chair of the Public Works Committee, Chair of the St. John’s Sport Event Partnership and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Eastern Regional Services Board. He has also served as Chair of the City’s Audit and Accountability Committee and the Finance Committee, as well as Co-Chair of the St. John’s Regional Fire Services Committee.

Romy Bowers

Incoming President and CEO, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Opening Ceremonies – Wednesday, April 28

Biography

Romy joined CMHC in 2015 after a diverse career in the Canadian banking industry, including 12 years with the Bank of Montreal, where she gained extensive experience in treasury operations and risk management. Initially appointed Chief Risk Officer, she also served as CMHC’s Chief Commercial Officer before taking on the role of Senior Vice President, Client Solutions. On March 2, 2021, Minister Ahmed Hussen announced that Romy would take over as President and CEO of CMHC effective April 6, 2021. CHRA is very pleased that Congress will be one of the first opportunities that the community housing sector will get to hear from Romy in her new role.

Jagmeet Singh

Leader of the Federal New Democratic Party, and MP, Burnaby South

Keynote Breakfast – Thursday, April 29

Biography

Leader of Canada's New Democratic Party since October 2017, Jagmeet Singh is a lawyer, a human rights activist, and a former Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario. Jagmeet understands the struggles Canadians are faced with because as a young man, he had to step up and take care of his family. As NDP Leader and Member of Parliament for Burnaby South, Mr. Singh will speak about his vision for housing in Canada.

Mark Spiro

Founder and Partner of Crestview Strategy

Indigenous Caucus – Monday, April 26

Biography

In 2004, Mark Spiro founded Crestview Strategy, an industry leading public affairs agency. Having worked in a senior capacity in both the public and corporate sectors, Mark brings clients a unique insight into managing and mitigating public affairs risks using an evidence-based approach to managing opinions. Over the past twenty-five years, Mark has organized and executed campaigns for both political and corporate clients which rely on the practical application of understanding the dynamics of opinion and how it can impact the public policy process. Whether for approvals of large-scale mergers or asset acquisitions, regulatory reforms or legislative changes, Mark has delivered winning outcomes for clients in Canada, the United States, Australia and Israel. The Indigenous Caucus is excited to welcome Mark to speak at the Indigenous Caucus Events during Congress.

David Sharpe

CEO of Bridging Finance

Indigenous Caucus – Monday, April 26

Biography

David is the Chief Executive Officer of Bridging Finance Inc. and is responsible for the strategic direction of the firm and ensuring sustainable growth is achieved. David has over 25 years of financial services industry experience, in roles such as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Risk Officer for leading financial organizations, and previously was the head of investigations for the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada. David is a Mohawk and member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga). In 2015, David was named to the Diversity 50 in Canada. David will be joined by Robert Byers, Namerind CEO and Chair of the Indigenous Caucus for a fireside chat on the topic of economic Reconciliation.

Dr. Sandy Buchman

Past President (2020–21), Canadian Medical Association

Congress workshop session – Wednesday, April 28

Biography

Dr. Buchman is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto and from 2005–2019, provided home-based palliative and end-of-life care through the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, Sinai Health System, in Toronto. He now serves as the Freeman Family Chair in Palliative Medicine and Medical Director of Palliative Care at the North York General Hospital in Toronto as well as the medical lead of a new residential hospice in Toronto. He served as President of the Canadian Medical Association in 2020-21 in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century. With nuanced background as an academic, medical practitioner and advocate with significant experience working with vulnerable groups, CHRA is please to have Dr. Buchman unpack the complex relationship between housing and health at Congress.

Congress at a Glance



MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021 TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2021 THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021

Homelessness Workshop

10:00am – 2:00pm

Housing Policy Course

10:00am – 2:00pm

Indigenous Caucus Event

10:00am – Noon

Innovation Forum

10:00am – Noon

Housing Professionals Mentorship Program

10:00am – Noon

Opening Ceremonies

10:30am – Noon

Keynote

10:30am – Noon
1 HOUR LUNCH 1 HOUR LUNCH (with Tradeshow Exhibitors)

Indigenous Caucus Meeting

1:00pm – 5:00pm

Indigenous Caucus Event

1:00pm – 2:30pm

Innovation Forum

1:00pm – 2:30pm

Housing Professionals Mentorship Program

1:00pm – 2:30pm

Concurrent Sessions

1:00pm-4:15pm

Concurrent Sessions

1:00pm-4:15pm
30 MIN BREAK 15 MIN BREAK

Speed Networking

2:30pm – 2:45pm

Indigenous Caucus Event

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Innovation Forum

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Online Escape Room

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Awards Presentation

4:30pm – 5:00pm

Please note:

  • Times are displayed in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
  • This is a preliminary schedule of Congress. Sessions, speakers and times are subject to change.

Agenda

Pricing



Member Non-Member Student HPMP mentee HPMP mentors

April 26

Housing Policy Course

$320

$320

$320

$320

$320

April 26

Homelessness 101 Course

$200

$200

$200

$200

$200

April 27 

Indigenous Caucus or 

Innovation Forum

$200

$250

$150

HPMP Event 

HPMP Event 

April 28-29

Congress

$250

$300

$150

$150

$250


Cancellation and Refund Policy

Notice of cancellation or request for refund or substitution must be sent in writing to Jane Jiang at jjiang@chra-achru.ca. Cancellations received:

  • Before March 27, 2021 – full refund of monies paid less $25 processing fee.
  • Between March 26 and April 7, 2021 – 50% refund.
  • After April 7, 2021 – NO REFUNDS.

Cancellations made after April 7, 2021 for unpaid registrations are subject to a $50 cancellation fee. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for refund cheques to be processed. We do not offer partial refunds. Substitutions are allowed, space permitting.

Congress Bursaries

CHRA offers a limited number of bursaries to its retired members, persons with lived experience, students and early career professionals. The bursaries cover the full cost of Congress registration. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please complete the online application form below. The deadline to apply is April 6, 2021. Additional information on bursaries is included in the form. There are a limited number of bursaries available, therefore we cannot guarantee all applicants will receive a bursary.


Convince Your Boss

So, you want to attend CHRA’s virtual Congress, but your manager needs convincing? We drafted a sample letter for your management team to help you justify your attendance.

If you need specific information about Congress, please feel free to reach out, we’re here to help! It is by uniting the sector that we can make safe, secure, affordable housing a reality for every Canadian—and that includes you too!

Social Media


Get the conversation started online by using #CHRA2021 and tagging us - @CHRA_ACHRU - on Twitter. 

Which part of Congress are you most excited for? A specific workshop? Making new connections? Share thoughts with our event hashtag!

To help you share your message, we’ve put together this interactive social media toolkit with messages and graphics.

Marketing toolkit: Click Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Your virtual Congress experience includes the same amazing keynote speakers, educational opportunities in a variety of areas, a simulated tradeshow experience, and networking opportunities to unite you with housing leaders and professionals from across Canada and abroad—all from the comfort and safety of your own home.
If you are interested in community housing and homelessness in Canada or abroad—then yes, you should join us! Congress aims to meet the needs of the community housing and homelessness sector throughout Canada. Whether you are just starting out, or have been in the sector for years, Congress gathers housing professionals from all backgrounds, whether they be leadership, asset management, frontline staff, and for varied interests including Indigenous housing, inclusive communities, homelessness, harm reduction and much more.
Registrants will receive a link to access our online conference platform via email the week prior to the event. All keynote plenaries, education sessions, networking and the tradeshow take place in one seamless online environment.
We suggest using Chrome or Firefox. Visit the “virtual tips page” for more details.
The last day to register is April 23.
Attendees will have access to the platform a week before Congress goes live.
No matter what role you’re playing in the event, you can visit the live information/ help desk in the lobby for help with any questions or troubleshooting issues that arise on the day of the event. If you have any questions leading up to the event, please reach out to jmcnamara@chra-achru.ca
Content will be available for one month after the event conclusion.