MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Zac Spicer

Geographical Areas

Canada, United States


The purpose of this research paper is to explore the legal issues that surround inclusionary zoning. More specifically, the question to be answered through this research is: How can Canadian municipalities shield themselves from legal challenges that may put inclusionary zoning policies at risk of being nullified? Through inductive research byway of qualitative content analysis of 16 American court cases, in which the legal challenges posed to inclusionary zoning ordinances are then extrapolated and applied to the Canadian context, the fundamental legal issues pertinent to Canadian municipalities become illuminated. What has been observed is that there have been a number of different arguments used, against inclusionary zoning, in American case law, however, when applied to the Canadian context, the most relevant one pertains to the purview of municipal authority. In the United States, a number of ordinances have been struck down because of the obligation placed on municipalities to have explicit authority from the state before implementing inclusionary zoning. In Canada, the relationship between a provincial government and its respective municipalities is much the same. In consequence, the most critical legal challenge that inclusionary zoning policies may face, within the Canadian context, is whether explicit authority has or has not been given by the province, to its respective municipalities, to enact such policies.