This paper examines how policy could help low-to-moderate income earners living in urban areas across Canada to access affordable rental housing. This would help them move from financial and psychological anguish to fully participating and thriving in society.

For one in three Canadians, “home” belongs to someone else and renting may be the only option. Today, they struggle to find adequate, accessible and affordable rental housing and are being left behind in public policy efforts to tackle the ongoing housing crisis.

This paper examines policy options at all levels of government to support low-to-moderate income earners living in urban areas across Canada to access affordable rental housing.

We found that the lack of purpose-built accessible and affordable rental units, the impacts surrounding homeownership on the rental market, and the precarity experienced by renters are driving the unaffordability of rental housing. These factors are causing financial and psychological anguish among renters, and in some cases, desperation. Thoughtful policy interventions are necessary to ensure that renting is an accessible and affordable long-term option for all Canadians. This report offers recommendations that would pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous society where low-to-moderate income renters in Canada can fully participate and thrive.

Increase Supply

  1. Incentivize Construction and Maintenance of Purpose-Built Market Rental Housing
  2. Fund the Construction of Purpose-Built Non-Market Rental Housing
  3. Launch Dedicated Funds for Non-Profit Acquisitions to Protect Affordable Stock
  4. Introduce Right of First Refusal Bylaws

Accelerate Development

  1. Expedite Permits for Developments that Meet Zoning Requirements
  2. Upzone to Encourage Rental Housing Density and Diversity
Redistribute Taxes

  1. Reform Property and Land Value Tax
  2. Commission a Study to Reform the Capital Gains Tax
  3. Adopt a Taxation on Imputed Rent

Empower Renters

  1. Empower Renters in the Community Planning Process
  2. Collect Comprehensive Rental Data, Increase Transparency, and Strengthen Affordability Definition
  3. Protect Security of Tenure with Stronger Landlord Requirements for Renovations
On the Edge of Affordability

Increasing access to affordable housing for low-to-moderate income renters in Canada

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