Where Will We Live? Ontario's Affordable Housing Crisis

The percentage of renters is increasing in Ontario and across Canada. Renters in Ontario now constitute over 30% of the total population. In the City of Toronto, almost half of all households rent their home. This increase has been largely driven by a growing proportion of renters within the younger generations. Over half of Ontario households between the ages 25 to 34 are renters. This trend may be due to the increasing cost of homeownership, the lack of well-paid and secure jobs and the increasing numbers of single-person households. Low- and moderate-income households are also much more likely to rent their homes. 71% of households with income below $20,000 are renters, compared to only 10% of households with income over $100,000.

A significant percentage of renters across Ontario and in Toronto are facing unaffordable housing costs that limit their ability to spend money on other life necessities. Too many people are choosing to forgo a healthy diet or the medication they need just to keep a roof over their head. Many facing rising rents are being displaced from their communities and many more are commuting longer hours between home and work. The road to homelessness for renters living on lower incomes is a stark reality if they lose their job or face a health challenge. Renters are facing a combination of rising housing costs, stagnating incomes, and limited access to subsidized housing.

Renters tend to have much lower incomes compared to homeowners. As rental housing costs continue to rise, all levels of government must focus on alleviating the burden of unaffordable housing, especially for low-income renters. Solving the affordable rental housing crisis in our province requires long-term commitment to targeted housing policies and investments that focus on the needs of low- to moderate-income renter households.

Rents have risen across Ontario over the past 20 years, particularly since 2011. We know for a fact that our affordable rental housing crisis will not be solved by building more condominiums or luxury purpose-built rentals. We need a combination of targeted policies and investments including funding for social housing, government support for non-profit housing, and strong protections in place for tenants. Preserving the status-quo is no longer an option for the hundreds of thousands of renters struggling every day to keep a roof over their head.

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