By the Numbers – The affordable housing crisis

Toronto – March 26, 2015 – According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of your pre-tax earnings, but right now, one of every four families in Canada spends more than that percentage to keep a roof over their heads. The growing crisis in affordable housing is accelerating, as both the average price of homes and the cost of rent both continue to rise faster than average wages. For those on social assistance, the shrinking supply of affordable housing has placed more and more Canadians at risk of homelessness, and if the Harper government fails to renew its federal contribution to affordable housing programs, an additional 160,000 affordable housing units could disappear over the next few years.

3.3 million

Number of households which spend more than 30% on shelter; 25.2% of all households in Canada.


Number of Canadians who experience homelessness annually.


Number of households that live in substandard housing in need of major repairs; 6% of all households in Canada.


The number of households with more residents than allowed under National Occupancy Standards.


Number of families in Ontario alone who are on a waiting list for subsidized affordable housing.


Projected amount of federal government cutbacks to investment in affordable housing initiatives from 2010 levels.


Estimated number of affordable units that would be lost because of cutbacks in federal program assistance; a 26% reduction in assisted housing stock.


Average price for a house in Canada, February 2015.


Minimum annual income needed to service the purchase of a house sold for $419,699, with a five-year mortgage of 3%. At a mortgage of 6%, the minimum annual income would climb to about $106,000.


Minimum annual income required to pay the $930 average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Canada. The minimum income required rises to $42,000 to pay the $1,260 average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.


Estimated annual earnings from full-time, minimum wage employment.

Sources: Gaetz, Stephen; Gulliver, Tanya; Richter, Tim (2014);  The State of Homelessness in Canada; Statistics Canada, Homeownership and Shelter Costs in Canada; Housing Market Statistics, The Canadian Real Estate Association