Anna Kopec

Anna Kopec, Assistant Professor, SPPA

Anna Kopec’s paper “Critical Junctures as Complex Processes: Examining Mechanisms of Policy Change and Path Dependence in the Canadian Pandemic Response to Homelessness” was published in the Journal of Public Policy, 1-21 (2023). DOI:


Policy change is not an instantaneous or linear process. In fact, change includes several mechanisms working in tandem and even against one another. This article examines the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on homelessness policy in Canada. In a sector that is already plagued with emergency responses – rather than long-term solutions – the pandemic has initiated a critical juncture where policy change is possible, but not guaranteed. Although the existing failures to alleviate homelessness in Canada make policy failings even more obvious, aspects of the pre-existing Canadian response to homelessness negate change. The pandemic, however, has led to temporary solutions and created a setting where long-term change is possible. Using over 150 primary sources, this article analyses mechanisms of change and path dependence in the pandemic response to homelessness. The presence of such mechanisms is tested in three major Canadian cities.  Read full article