Housing policy refers to the actions of government, including legislation and program delivery, which have a direct or indirect impact on housing supply and availability, housing standards and urban planning. Through legislation, the allocation of resources, tax policies and housing policy can also impact house prices and affordability, as well as the availability of an adequate supply of rental housing. Policies around housing can result in an investment in social housing, support for alternative types of rental housing (such as co-ops) or tax policies to encourage the private sector to build and operate more rental housing.
In Canada, responsibility for housing policy is shared amongst all three levels of government and as a result there is no strong pan-Canadian approach to housing. Housing policy has a direct impact on homelessness, because the availability of safe and affordable housing is key to ensuring that people who live in extreme poverty are able to obtain and maintain shelter. While most industrialized countries have a strong national housing strategy funded by the Federal Government, Canada does not.