Keeping to the Marketplace: The Evolution of Canadian Housing Policy
Some social housing was developed as a result of the 1949 National Housing Act (NHA) amendments but this program remained marginalized for many years as government policy favoured shelter provision by private entrepreneurs. While the 1973 amendments to the NHA set the stage for a vigorous "comprehensive" housing policy, these measures were short-lived. In 1978 federal termination of land banking and transfer of financial responsibilities for housing to the provinces encouraged a rapid contraction of the growth of social housing, contributing to mounting homelessness in the 1980s. Bacher's analysis is a fundamental departure from explanations of the policies of the Canadian federal state by both liberal and Marxist scholars. While accepting their notion of the "hegemonic" role of the ideologically rigid Department of Finance, he stresses that such orthodoxy was not shared throughout influential sections of the Canadian civil service. Many critical policy shapers chafed under the department's narrow constraints and were instrumental in effecting policy changes which enabled more socially responsive housing programs to develop.
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