Minimum wages not enough to rent an apartment in most of Canada – Study

Worker in Barrie would need to earn $21.94 an hour

Nevermind affordable homeownership, let’s talk about affordable rental housing…and who can afford it.

A report Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds the rental crisis to be huge for full-time minimum wage workers.

Its report found a one-bedroom apartment would be affordable to full-time minimum-wage workers in only 70 of 795 Canadian neighbourhoods. A two-bedroom rental would be affordable in just 24 of those neighbourhoods. With the exception of St. Catharines and Sudbury, all the affordable neighbourhoods are located in smaller Quebec cities.

“A sole income earner working full time should be able to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment for their family in a country as rich as Canada. But in most Canadian cities, including Canada’s largest metropolitan areas of Toronto and Vancouver, there are no neighbourhoods where it is possible to afford a one- or two-bedroom unit on a single minimum wage.”

A worker in Barrie, the study found, would need to earn $21.94 an hour and work 63 hours a week to get into a one-bedroom unit; it would take $25.60 an hour 73 hours of work to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

The study, Unaccommodating: Housing Rental Wage in Canada, is based on October 2018 rents and wages. It defines affordable as no more than 30 percent of before-tax income spent on housing.

The Centre notes the 2019 federal budget placed a strong emphasis on housing affordability and included multiple initiatives aimed at making it easier for “middle class” families to become homeowners. “While the high price of buying a home is in the news daily, the increasing cost of renting an apartment draws less attention. This is odd given that 4.7 million of Canada’s 14 million households (exactly one-third) rent their homes.”