Connecting with Canadians

Research Report:

Overcoming Challenges in Centralized and Decentralized Housing Models: Ontario and British Columbia Compared

by Carla Schuk

Social housing policy has experienced substantial changes over the past two decades.  In the early 1990s, social housing devolved completely from federal responsibility to the purview of provincial and territorial governments who have differently organized and administered their respective social housing programs.  This paper addresses the centralized model for social housing employed by the British Columbia government and the decentralized model employed by the province of Ontario in order to assess the challenges and advantages of each system.  The report also examines theoretical models that have been adapted to overcome the trade-offs associated with these two systems.  The author demonstrates that in both models there is an increasing movement toward encouraging partnerships and co-operation vertically and horizontally across levels of government, moving away from rigid models of organization and administration toward more fluid and responsive frameworks. 

The CPRN/SHSC Housing Research Internship and Scholar Program is funded by SHSC and run by CPRN's Director of Housing and Environment, Dr. Michael Buzzelli. The program's overall aim is to develop Canada's housing research and policy capacity by attracting and retaining the best and the brightest in the housing sector. The program is an intensive four-month policy research training experience that results in the publication of original housing policy research. For information on SHSC, go to

Release Date: 22 Dec 2009
Number of pages: 42
Document number: 51971

Related Publications:

E-network: Why Social Housing Policy Matters
Other: Social Housing in Canada
Research Report: A Safer Haven: Innovations for Improving Social Housing in Canada
Research Report: Can Inclusionary Zoning Help Address the Shortage of Affordable Housing in Toronto?
Research Report: City-Regions and the Provision of Affordable Rental Housing
Research Report: Fostering Better Integration and Partnerships for Housing in Canada: Lessons for Creating a Stronger Policy Model of Governmental and Community Collaboration
Research Report: Homelessness, Program Responses and an Assessment of Toronto's Streets to Homes Program
Research Report: Housing for Immigrants in Ontario's Medium-Sized Cities
Research Report: Inclusion and Social Housing Practice in Canadian Cities: Following the Path from Good Intentions to Sustainable Projects
Research Report: Linking Social Housing and Energy Efficiency
Research Report: Moving Towards Sustainability: City-Regions and Their Infrastructure
Research Report: Recession and Stimulus Spending: A Preliminary Examination of Stimulus Spending on Affordable Housing in Ontario
Research Report: Rehousing Vancouver's Street-Involved Youth
Research Report: Social Housing Wait Lists and the One-Person Household in Ontario
Research Report: Social Lives in Social Housing: Resident Connections to Social Services
Research Report: Sustaining Ontario's Subsidized Housing by Supporting Non-Profit Organizations
Research Report: The Homeownership Component of the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program: Critical Analysis of Program Objectives
Research Report: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Funding Social Housing in Canada
Research Report: The Role of Supportive Housing for Low-Income Seniors in Ontario
Research Report: Towards Food Security Policy for Canada's Social Housing Sector
Research Report: Under Pressure: Affordable Housing in Rural Ontario