This project provides a policy history of the ideological and structural factors that underpinned the transformation of federal affordable housing policy in Canada from 1984 to 2008. Emerging out the subsidy-based Keynesian housing programs of the 1970s, the federal government began to construct a new ‘financialized’ approach to affordable housing in the 1980s centered on the mortgage insurance and securitization operations of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada’s federal housing agency. This new approach to housing policy was fully consolidated by the end of the 1990s and was one factor contributing to affordability problems and growing indebtedness in Canada’s metropolitan centres over the 2000s. New mortgage insurance products and securitization programs, the key pieces of financialized housing policy, incentivized financial institutions to lend mortgage credit to households over the 2000s, which in turn helped drive demand and competition for homes in urban housing markets. The project argues that in the 1980s and 90s political and economic structures were the main factor prompting the restructuring of affordable housing policy, but that over the 2000s restructuring became more dominated by the ideological belief that financial innovation and market competition could provide affordable housing for lower-income borrowers.
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