Affordable rental housing shortage in Canada

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There is a problem in Canada that can negatively affect us all.

The problem is housing. There are not enough affordable rental units available to those who have a lower earning ability.

The Canadian economy depends on all segments of the population working in a coordinated effort to supply our high standard of living. From minimum wage jobs to those that pay top dollar, all coordinate together to keep our towns and cities operating every day.

All jobs are important. All people who fill those jobs need a fair and decent standard of living.

Many workers with a low income cannot find affordable housing. If we as a country do not provide affordable housing for all, then it is just a matter of time before our current economic system collapses.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives completed a study on the Canadian rental housing problem. In a survey of 795 neighbourhoods, the study found that only 9 per cent of minimum wage earners could afford a one-bedroom rental apartment.

Almost two-thirds of 36 Canadian metropolitan areas had no options where a full-time worker earning minimum wage could afford accommodation. This assumes housing costs are no more than 30 per cent of employment income.

The rental housing problem and the cure come down to the same thing. Supply and demand.

We either decrease the number of people needing rental accommodation or increase the supply of rental housing. Canada’s population is not decreasing, it is doing the opposite.

The solution is to increase the number of rental units. More competition in the rental market will result in more competitive, affordable, and therefore lower rental rates.

Canada is a big country. We have the land needed to build more rental units. We have developers that can complete the construction. And we have historically low interest rates that would be favourable to finance these projects.

We need some leadership from local governments to free up land via zoning by-laws that can be used for new rental housing projects.

Every Canadian worker contributes to our economic prosperity and deserves affordable housing. That includes those making minimum wage.