Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources! October 10, 2017
    Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model October 6, 2017
    The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed September 28, 2017
    The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Five Things to Know About Pre-1964 Canadian Housing Policy

On November 4, I gave a historical presentation on Canadian housing policy at the annual conference of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. My slide presentation, which focused on pre-1964 Canadian social history, can be downloaded here.

Here are five things to know about pre-1964 history that set the tone for important developments in Canadian housing policy:

  1. Prior to the 1940s, there was virtually no government-assisted housing for anyone at all in Canada. In the early 1900s, if you were without work and needed help paying the bills, you typically had to rely on family or friends for assistance. In some cases, a social welfare agency might provide you with time-limited support (i.e. used clothing, food, fuel); in other cases, a local church might help you. But barring any of those options, you likely faced destitution.

  1. The Great Depression had an important impact on the role of government in Canada’s social welfare system. Prior to the Great Depression, it was easy for some Canadians to see unemployment as an individual failing; but by the end of the Great Depression, it was clear to most that unemployment was often brought on by macroeconomic factors that were largely outside of the control of the individuals who found themselves without work. This changed the mindset of Canadians—suddenly, it wasn’t hard to convince people of the need for government to play a strong role in both job creation and social policy supporting unemployed persons.
  1. World War II had a profound impact on Canada’s social welfare system. By the end of World War II, Canada’s national and provincial governments were in a relatively strong macroeconomic situation; indeed, unemployment was at an all-time low. This more favourable fiscal situation, combined with the abovementioned change in mood vis-à-vis unemployment, made it much easier for Canada’s federal government to start contemplating increased spending on social programs.
  1. After World War II, Canadian veterans had to fight hard for government-funded housing. As Professor Kevin Brushett has eloquently pointed out here, veterans returning to Canada after the Second World War were not given government-funded housing; rather, they had to fight for it. Once the federal government made government-funded housing available for veterans, this made the thought of government-funded housing for other groups of Canadians more palatable.
  1. The introduction of government-sponsored mortgage insurance in 1954 had a profound impact on home ownership in Canada. This social insurance program protected financial institutions against risk when they provided mortgages to Canadian homeowners. Indeed, it was a government-sponsored insurance program rather than a subsidy per se. Under the scheme, individual homeowners would pay insurance premiums. This plan, which remains in place today, resulted in higher levels of home ownership.

Canadian housing policy then saw dramatic change in 1964, but that’s a topic for a future blog post!

The following individuals were very helpful in helping me prepare the present blog post: George Fallis, Francesco Falvo and Allan Moscovitch. Any errors are mine.

Enjoy and share:

Write a comment





Related articles