Housing Futures | Shaping the Debate | President | Leadership | UNB

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Housing Futures

New Brunswick, and all of Canada, are in the middle of a housing crisis. Population growth has outpaced development and renewal of aging building stock, contributing to a lack of housing supply and increasing pressure on housing affordability.

Traditional development timelines and methods alone will not be able to address this. New Brunswick needs to find innovative solutions to provide affordable and adaptable housing for its communities.

On April 4 and 5, 2024, Shaping the Debate: Housing Futures will provide opportunities for leaders in the province to come together, discuss the complexities of this issue, and explore the possibilities for what the future of housing should look like in New Brunswick.

The event will open on Apr. 4 with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Julia Woodhall-Melnik and Dr. Tobin Haley of UNB’s HOME-RL. Discussion topics will include:

  • Panellists' approach to housing
  • The challenges and strengths they have experienced
  • Their vision for affordable housing in New Brunswick

On April 5, keynote speaker Dr. Erin Dej will speak on the NIMBY to Neighbour project, which aims to counter unhelpful rhetoric about homelessness and poverty in mid-sized cities in Ontario. NIMBY is an acronym for “not in my backyard” and refers to a characteristic mindset that opposes new development (e.g., shelter, affordable housing, group home) in a given residential area. A panel discussion will follow, exploring how to counteract NIMBY-ism in mid-sized cities in New Brunswick.

Register now


SUB Ballroom, 21 Pacey Dr., Fredericton campus

5 – 7 p.m. | Fireside chat, moderated by Julia Woodhall-Melnik and Tobin Haley

Wu Conference Centre, 6 Duffie Dr., Fredericton campus

8:30 a.m. | Arrival

9 a.m. | Welcome remarks

9:15 a.m. | Keynote address by Dr. Erin Dej – From NIMBY to Neighbour

10:30 a.m. | Networking break

11 a.m. | Panel discussion - Mayor's roundtable

12 noon | Conclusion


Assistant professor

Dr. Dej is an assistant professor in the faculty of human and social sciences, department of criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford, ON campus).

Dr. Dej received their PhD from the department of criminology at the University of Ottawa and MA in legal studies from Carleton University. Before joining Laurier, Dr. Dej held a SSHRC funded postdoctoral fellowship with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, York University.

Dr. Dej is a critical criminologist, using qualitative research to support efforts to prevent and end homelessness in Canada, with an emphasis on unpacking social exclusion and working to build social inclusion.

Using a social constructionist framework to study marginalization and exclusion, Dr. Dej is a qualitative researcher with a primary focus on homelessness, mental health and autonomy among marginalized people, as well as homelessness prevention.

Dr. Dej has received numerous awards allocations, including the Wilfrid Laurier University Early Career Researcher Award (2021) and the Richard V. Ericson Graduate Paper Award, Canadian Society of Criminology (2009). They have taught courses on homelessness and criminal justice in Canada, qualitative methodologies in criminology and theories of crime.

Associate Professor

Julia Woodhall-Melnik is an associate professor with the department of social science, in the faculty of arts at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. She is also the Canada research chair in Resilient Communities.

She received her PhD in sociology and her certification in university teaching from the University of Waterloo, where her research focused on investigating employment in low-waged service sector work as a social determinant of health. During this time, Julia also led a variety of analyses of publicly funded housing options for low-income households with non-profit organizations and academic think tanks. Julia held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellowship at McMaster University.

Julia continues to produce innovative research which explores employment and housing as social determinants of physical and mental health, addiction and wellbeing. Her work investigates the effectiveness of publicly funded rehousing and housing loss prevention interventions on health and housing outcomes, employment and income. Julia employs both qualitative and quantitative methods in her work and is adept at community-based research. She is profoundly committed to incorporating the voices of persons with lived experience of poverty and low-income into her research. Her goal is to produce research that positively impacts the quality of life of low-income and impoverished Canadians.

Julia is the principal investigator of the Housing, Mobilization & Engagement Research Laboratory (HOME-RL). HOME-RL engages community members, academics and students in research and experiential education opportunities that are designed to promote community resilience and wellbeing. Through this lab, students are provided with the opportunity to engage in world class, methodologically rigorous research while building relationships within the community and developing their skills to become academic leaders themselves.

Assistant professor

Tobin LeBlanc Haley is an assistant professor of sociology in the department of social science in the faculty of arts at the University of New Brunswick. Originally from New Brunswick, she completed her BA (Hons) and MA at UNB before obtaining her PhD from York University.

Her research is community-engaged, blending critical policy ethnography, archival research and arts-informed approaches to make visible the impacts of Canadian social policy for people living at the intersection of disability, socio-economic poverty and housing precarity, and to chart new opportunities for positive change. She is the host of a political television show, “the NB debrief” and is currently working on several externally funded research projects related to housing, disability and poverty.

Dr. Haley is committed to student-centered, accessible and anti-racist/anti-oppressive pedagogy, and encourages students to bring their own experiences into the classroom.

President and Vice-Chancellor, UNB

Dr. Paul Mazerolle is UNB’s 19th president and vice-chancellor. An internationally recognized criminologist with degrees from the University of New Brunswick, Northeastern University and the University of Maryland, Paul is also a professor in the department of sociology at UNB.

Paul’s career has included academic leadership positions in the United States, Australia and Canada. After joining UNB in 2019, Paul implemented a comprehensive consultation process to inform UNB’s new strategic vison, UNB Toward 2030. The aspirational and transformative strategic vison is focused on the growth and impact of the University locally, nationally and globally.

Paul is fiercely dedicated to leading an institutional effort that creates a return to economic growth through innovation, entrepreneurship and social cohesion for not only UNB, but the Province of New Brunswick. Paul is a member of the New Brunswick Business Council, the New Brunswick Ministerial Economic Advisory Board, the National Advisory Research Committee for Universities Canada and Chair of the Cyber Security Ecosystem in the province.