Dalhousie Law Journal


Allocation, Housing, Fairness, Legal, Economic, Perspectives, emotional, religious


Housing is an emotional, almost religious, topic. Indeed, even church groups have been active in promoting public housing in Canada and elsewhere.' The housing market has also become a battleground for a struggle between vested property interests and citizens' groups which insist upon a redefinition of the right to shelter. Organizations, such as the Toronto-based People's Housing Coalition, Halifax's Access Housing Services Association, and a host of tenants' unions, ensure that housing problems are not hidden from public scrutiny. Developers and landlord associations have risen to the challenge and, under the banner of free enterprise, they steadfastly resist any charges that they are the cause of the housing crisis.2 The focus of the numerous federal programs directed towards this problem has changed direction since the 1960s, shifting more toward the middle-income home owner. However, the shift in the focus of these programs is not the result of a coherent policy decision, but is a by-product of economic restraint and a changing social mood. Indeed, a coherent policy has never been the hallmark of Canada's national housing policy.