Journal of Law and Social Policy

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English Abstract

For around two decades, if not longer, Canada has seen a number of cases dealing with tent encampments, typically, but not always, located in public parks. Often these decisions arise out of municipalities seeking interlocutory or interim injunctions against the tent encampments. Property and property rights have a significant role to play in these decisions as the alleged harm to property and property rights tends to be determinative of the matter. In this article I seek to explore why it is that these decisions are showing property rights more respect than the rights of those within tent encampments. I argue, that contrary to recent theoretical arguments, property does not reflect relational justice nor respect for individuals as individuals. Instead, property requires respect for property rights because of the fact that property is a communal endeavour. Thus, the question should not be whether these tent encampments are causing property rights irreparable harm but whether the legal treatment of these tent encampments and their residents reflect the broader community in which they exist.

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