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The Road to Innovation, Convergence or Inertia: Devolution in Housing Policy in Canada


  • Barbara Wake Carroll
  • Ruth J. E. Jones


The focus of this paper is on housing policy in Canada since 1945 with a particular emphasis on the period since 1986 when the federal government began its withdrawal from housing policy. The paper applies existing theories of policy change, namely innovation, convergence, policy learning, and policy inheritance to the five phases of housing policy that have occurred in postwar Canada. It also incorporates two surveys of provincial housing policy conducted by the authors in 1994 and 1997 to assess the changes that have occurred since the federal government withdrawal in 1996. The analysis suggests that within a broader model of the policy process which deals with both periods of change and non-change, the theories of change can explain previous periods of activism, but the model can also explain the current period which can best be described by inertia. This inertia is understandable because the preceding conditions for change which existed in the earlier phases of housing policy are largely absent today.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Wake Carroll & Ruth J. E. Jones, 2000. "The Road to Innovation, Convergence or Inertia: Devolution in Housing Policy in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(3), pages 277-293, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:26:y:2000:i:3:p:277-293

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bennett, Colin J., 1991. "What Is Policy Convergence and What Causes It?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(02), pages 215-233, April.
    2. Michael M. Atkinson & Gerald Bierling, 1998. "Is There Convergence in Provincial Spending Priorities?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(1), pages 71-89, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. William R. Lowry, 2009. "Policy Changes on Canada's Rivers: Different but not Isolated," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 26(6), pages 783-800, November.
    2. Macnaughton, Eric & Nelson, Geoffrey & Goering, Paula, 2013. "Bringing politics and evidence together: Policy entrepreneurship and the conception of the At Home/Chez Soi Housing First Initiative for addressing homelessness and mental illness in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 100-107.

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