The AccèsLogis Québec Program: 15 Years of Partnership between the State and the Social Economy

By Ducharme, Marie-Noëlle; Vaillancourt, Yves | Canadian Review of Social Policy, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The AccèsLogis Québec Program: 15 Years of Partnership between the State and the Social Economy


Ducharme, Marie-Noëlle, Vaillancourt, Yves, Canadian Review of Social Policy


Abstract

Over the past 15 years, the Quebec government's public policy on social and community housing has been based mainly on the AccèsLogis program. Under this program, some 23,000 new social housing units have been developed. While the program's regulations and funding are governed by the public sector (primarily provincial, secondarily federal), its development and implementation rely heavily on the participation of social and solidarity economy (SSE) stakeholders, and particularly on the input of housing Non Profit Organizations (NPOs) and co-operatives. In other words, SSE stakeholders play a significant role in program implementation (co-production) and in its definition and design (co-construction), to use a distinction favoured in this paper's conceptual framework (Vaillancourt, 2009).

This appraisal of the AccèsLogis program is based on research that was mostly done in partnerships since 1995. Our paper is divided into two parts: first, we present the context in which the AccèsLogis program emerged, along with its main characteristics; then we show that the program represents a social innovation in which SSE stakeholders make a major contribution while participating not only in the implementation of the program (co-production), but also in defining its architecture (co-construction).

Résumé

En matière d'habitation sociale et communautaire, la politique publique du gouvernement du Québec, au cours des quinze dernières années, s'est principalement appuyée sur le programme AccèsLogis. Ce programme, conçu en 1996 et lancé en 1997, a permis de développer près de 23 000 nouvelles unités de logement social. Même si la régulation et le financement du programme relèvent du secteur public (principalement provincial et secondairement fédéral), son développement et sa mise en oeuvre misent fortement sur la participation des acteurs de l'économie sociale et solidaire (ESS), notamment sur l'apport des OSBL et des coopératives d'habitation. En d'autres termes, les acteurs de l'ESS assument un rôle important non seulement sur le plan de la mise en oeuvre (co-production) du programme, mais aussi sur le plan de sa définition et de son orientation (co-construction), pour reprendre une distinction que nous privilégions dans notre cadre conceptuel (Vaillancourt, 2009).

En nous appuyant sur des résultats de recherches, le plus souvent partenariales, menées depuis 1995, nous présentons un bilan du programme AccèsLogis. Nous le faisons en mettant en lumière la contribution de l'ESS et les relations partenariales qui se sont instaurées entre l'ESS et le secteur public. Il en ressort un portrait globalement positif, mais non exempt de quelques zones d'ombre. La structure de notre texte repose sur deux grandes parties. Dans une première partie, sur un registre plutôt descriptif, nous présentons le contexte d'émergence du programme AccèsLogis et ses principales caractéristiques. Dans une deuxième partie, sur un registre plus analytique, nous faisons ressortir comment le programme AccèsLogis constitue une innovation sociale dans laquelle les acteurs de l'ESS font un apport majeur en participant non seulement à la mise en application du programme (co-production), mais aussi à la définition de son architecture (co-construction).

Introduction

Over the past 15 years, we have often used the case of social housing in Quebec to illustrate our conceptual framework and political vision on the possible contributions of the third sector - the social and solidarity economy (SSE) - to the democratization and enhancement of social and public policy (Ducharme & Vaillancourt, 2005; Ducharme, Vaillancourt & Lalonde, 2003; Vaillancourt, 2009, 2011; Vaillancourt & Ducharme, 2001; ). More recently, we used the case of social housing policy again to explain our distinction between two forms of participation by the SSE in the development of public policy.

In its first form, which we call co-production, the participation of the SSE occurs when policies are implemented and reside on an organizational level. …

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