Journal of Law and Social Policy

Document Type


English Abstract

Canadian public pension funds play an increasingly significant role as institutional investors, including in the domestic residential property market. Some scholars have suggested that pension fund investments of this kind result in a form of public ownership, sometimes characterized as “pension fund socialism.” However, the actual character of pension fund investment in Canada is much more akin to a financialized pension fund capitalism, with public pension funds adopting investment strategies consistent with private financial market actors. In the summer of 2017, tenants and housing activists in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood organized a successful rent strike against their corporate landlord as well as the Alberta pension fund that co-owned the buildings. The strategies developed during the rent strike, including calling on and working with the unions and union members whose pensions are invested with that fund, serve as examples for other activists grappling with pension fund capitalism.

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