Canada’s Federal Housing Initiative: Dancing Booties On Feet Of Clay

ripples on muddy water mark the tidal bore at Moncton, NB
Tidal Bore, Petitcodiac River, Moncton, NB photo by Larry is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Moncton, New Brunswick, where the tide dances in and out at a famous rate
over a bottom of solid mud.

Faced with country-wide housing crises like much of the world, two years ago Canada claimed it was at last standing up to be counted, after decades of little or no national support for affordable housing.

Bravo! Except . . .

The Canadian federal government has never actually abandoned housing support. It’s been quietly insuring first-time house buyers for decades. It seems, however, that some bright spark in government noticed that the definition of ‘affordable’ has, over the last two or three years, expanded to include housing for the middle class. That’s where much, if not all, first-time home-buying takes place.

And so, with a miracle of modern re-branding and a lavishing of expensive government fanfare, a great deal of same-old same-old was magically reborn as the core of a federal ‘affordable housing’ initiative.

Almost immediately, housing activists noted that it seemed to be weighted in favour of middle-class ‘workforce’ affordability up front, with more critically-needed ‘truly’ affordable housing penciled in for later years.

And so we’ve spent the last year of so reading government press releases explaining how yet another chunk of support was heading out the door. Destination? Over and over again to the ‘hardworking middle class’, not to all those lower class slackers.

An article a few months ago in The Tyee spelled out the scope of this federal government boondoggle.1

And now, slowly, come a gathering drumbeat of complaints. As far as the critical need for truly affordable housing is concerned, the feds are largely all show, with very little go scheduled any time soon.

Read more about the housing crisis in one Canadian Province — New Brunswick, at the CBC: ‘I’ve Never Felt Shame Like This In My Life’: 500 Homeless, 5,000 Await Affordable Housing



  1. Try: The Really Grand, Super Exciting Canadian Housing Strategy Currently Leaking Hot Air