Toronto, ON – March 12, 2024 – A new data mapping tool launched today, called the Low-end of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor. The tool presents critical information on the affordable “low-end” of the private rental housing stock in six urban regions across Canada: Calgary, Halifax, Greater Montreal Area, Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver Area, and Winnipeg.

Until now, not enough was known about the existing stock of deeply affordable rental homes in cities across Canada, making it difficult for decision-makers to develop and evaluate policies and programs that effectively tackle the housing affordability crisis.

“Millions of people across Canada are impacted by a lack of affordable rental housing, and renters with lower incomes are facing especially alarming challenges securing homes they can afford,” says Annie Hodgins, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR). “We know that decision-makers across Canada are very concerned about the escalating affordable housing crisis, and they are searching for solutions. The LEMR Housing Monitor will equip them with the data they need to make impactful decisions when it comes to preserving the few affordable homes that still exist, and increasing the supply of housing that is affordable to people with lower and middle incomes.  

By presenting data from federal, provincial and municipal sources that have been integrated into a single tool for the first time, the LEMR Housing Monitor will help fill knowledge gaps and uncover key trends impacting affordability. It can be used by policymakers, urban planners, housing providers, service providers and housing advocates to enrich evidence-based decision-making in housing across Canada.

“By integrating data from dozens of federal, provincial and municipal sources, the LEMR Housing Monitor provides us with important context and a deeper understanding of trends in affordability than any one data source could,” says Megan Earle, CCHR’s Data Scientist. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool that provides insight into housing trends in a way we haven’t seen until now.”

The LEMR Housing Monitor features interactive maps that display data related to characteristics of the affordable housing stock within a defined area including the number of affordable units, types of units (i.e. market vs. non-market), and vacancy rate. The maps also include layers of information about renter households and building and neighbourhood characteristics (e.g. eviction rates), which provide additional context to the housing stock data and insight into regional differences. A date filter can be applied to observe how the data changes over time.

Initial insights gleaned from the tool include that less than half of bachelor and one-bedroom rental units are affordable for one-person households in all of the six regions studied. The tool has also revealed that between 2006-2021, the percentage of rental homes that are affordable to one-person households decreased between 8 per cent and 54 per cent across these regions.

“Anecdotally, we’ve heard that the number of affordable rental homes is diminishing and that they are increasingly unavailable in central urban areas,” says Daniel Liadsky, Managing Director of Purpose Analytics. “The LEMR Housing Monitor will help to translate anecdotes into evidence by articulating the magnitude of this issue and identifying where it is most acute.”

“This tool is more than a data bank; it represents a significant shift in how we approach housing decisions,” says Marlene Coffey, CEO of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA). “With government and cross-sector partners, we can turn numbers into meaningful action, safeguarding our vital community housing supply and strategically investing in housing needs across the continuum.”

The LEMR Housing Monitor was developed by the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR), Purpose Analytics, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, and R and Shiny Developer Sharla Gelfand.

Visit the LEMR Housing Monitor:


About the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR)
The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is Canada’s leading organization working to advance the right to housing. For over 35 years, CCHR has worked at the intersection of human rights and housing. We do this by serving renters to help them stay housed, providing education and training about housing rights, and advancing rights-based housing policy through research, policy development, advocacy and law reform.

About Purpose Analytics
Purpose Analytics works to build a data-informed non-profit sector, by supporting non-profit organizations to use data to support decision-making and communicate impact, and cultivating a network of people in the non-profit sector who work with data.

About the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
Founded in 1988, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is an independent association funded and directed by its members. ONPHA leads, unites and supports a strong community-based affordable housing sector that helps to build vibrant, healthy and diverse communities for all Ontarians.

About Sharla Gelfand, R and Shiny Developer
Sharla is a freelance R and Shiny developer and a statistician. Their work specializes in developing tools that enable easier access to data and replacing manual, repetitive work with repeatable, reproducible, and future-proof processes.


Contact:

For more information including media interviews, please contact:

Shelley Buckingham
Director of Communications, Canadian Centre for Housing Rights
Email: media@housingrightscanada.com

The National Right to Housing Network, the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights, and Professor Sarah Buhler at the University of Saskatchewan are proud to partner on a research project exploring a human rights and youth-centred approach to eviction law and practice, with the aim of reducing youth evictions and taking seriously the lived expertise, human rights, and unique circumstances of youth.

In Canada, children and youth experience eviction from rental housing at higher rates than most other age groups. Eviction is particularly damaging for youth because of its long-term consequences and propensity to entangle youth with other systems. Eviction into homelessness is also a violation of international human rights law. Yet Canadian eviction laws do not reflect human rights obligations or account for the unique experiences and vulnerabilities of youth. Instead, tribunals often function as “eviction machines.” 

Using a human rights and youth-centred lens, this project will explore the following three research questions:  

  1. Access to justice: How can eviction law and processes become more accessible to youth? What types of information and supports will empower youth to participate in eviction hearings?
  2. Eviction decision-making: What materials can be developed to encourage eviction decision-makers to consider the human rights and unique circumstances of youth?
  3. Eviction legislation: What legislative reforms can be made to ensure that the human rights of youth are considered in eviction processes?

Research insights to date

Over the course of this project, research insights will be produced and shared on this page.

Research products:

Preventing Youth Evictions in Canada: Building a Framework Based in International Human Rights

Keeping Youth Housed: Preventing Youth Evictions Through Law


Workshops

Coming soon! The project team is organizing two workshops – in Saskatoon and Toronto – to engage housing and youth advocates, and youth with lived expertise in our research questions. The workshops will be held in the Spring of 2024. More information will be shared on this page soon.


Acknowledgements

This work is funded by Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS), a member of the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Making the Shift funds, conducts, prototypes, and mobilizes cutting-edge research to prevent and end youth homelessness in Canada. 


The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights is conducting a research project to address the knowledge gap that exists in Canada about housing and gender-based violence (GBV), with generous support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.

Through this project, we aim to produce new knowledge and deepen an understanding about the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity, in order to inform policy recommendations that offer pathways to housing security for women and gender-diverse people who have been impacted by GBV.  

Gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner/interpersonal violence (IPV) are pervasive problems in Canada, with Statistics Canada reporting that 44% of Canadian women have experienced some form of GBV/IPV in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many times when someone experiences violence in their home, the onus is on them to leave the home in order to escape the violence. In many cases survivors are faced with housing insecurity after leaving their home, in large part due to a lack of safe, appropriate and affordable housing. This presents a key barrier to the right to housing for women and gender-diverse people, who disproportionately experience GBV/IPV and related housing insecurity.  

Project background 

While there is extensive literature on GBV in Canada, a knowledge gap exists in understanding the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity. To address this knowledge gap, this project examines the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity in five Ontario communities: Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and Lanark County. By conducting interviews with service providers and surveys with survivors, this project endeavors to illustrate the ways in which the ongoing crisis of housing affordability in Ontario is impacting survivors’ pathways out of violent homes.  

The project to date

An advisory committee has been assembled to assist in guiding this project, which includes Dr. Carolyn Whitzman, as well as team members from WomanACT and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. In the coming months, the project team will carry out data collection and compile findings in a report. This project has received ethics approval from the Community Research Ethics Office.


Acknowledgements

This project is generously supported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.


By supporting the Secure Homes for Renters campaign and the ongoing work of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR), you can help address the growing issue of housing insecurity faced by countless renters across the country. 

It’s no secret that the path to a sustainable solution is a complex one, fraught with historical negligence and systemic challenges. The decline in governmental support and oversight of the housing system over the past decades has directly contributed to the current crisis, leaving countless renters vulnerable to exploitation and insecurity.  

However, in the face of this challenging reality, hope prevails – CCHR and its network of over 100 partners across the country stand together, advocating tirelessly for the rights and well-being of renters, offering vital support and resources, and driving critical changes in policy and practice. 

At the forefront of this transformative movement is the call for strong rent regulations that ensure fairness and security for all renters. Over the past four decades, provinces have steadily withdrawn from regulations protecting tenants from excessive and unfair rents. While some provinces have retained a measure of protection, more comprehensive and uniform regulations are imperative to protect renters from unjustified rent increases and exploitative practices.  

Your support for the Secure Homes for Renters campaign directly contributes to this crucial mission, advocating for the implementation of fundamental protections that safeguard renters’ rights and pave the way for a more equitable housing landscape in our country.  

CCHR’s multifaceted approach to tackling the housing crisis encompasses not only immediate interventions but also strategic, data-driven initiatives aimed at fostering lasting change.  

Through our Renter Helpline serving Ontario renters, individuals facing eviction and rights violations receive vital legal counsel and support, bolstering their ability to navigate complex housing challenges. Additionally, CCHR’s commitment to public education workshops and community sector training fosters a culture of empowerment and knowledge, equipping both renters and housing providers with the tools needed to secure housing stability. 

Moreover, CCHR’s dedication to delivering comprehensive data and research serves as a cornerstone for evidence-based policy recommendations, shedding light on critical gaps in knowledge and advocating for impactful, systemic solutions. By collaborating with local partners and advocating for rights-based housing initiatives, CCHR ignites a movement that transcends individual experiences, mobilizing communities and decision-makers to prioritize the fundamental right to housing for all. 

Your support is instrumental in sustaining and expanding the transformative work of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights. Your contributions enable the organization to continue empowering communities, delivering key research, and advocating for crucial policy changes.  

Together, we can build a future where every Canadian has access to a secure and affordable place to call home.  


Join us in this collective effort to champion housing security and equity for all.

Together, we can create a country where secure homes for renters are not a privilege but a fundamental right. Please give generously today.

Renters across Canada are in crisis, facing growing housing insecurity due to the high cost and scarcity of housing options that meet their needs. Across the country, the cost of rental housing has increased rapidly over the past decade, and right now, half of renters are worried about being able to pay their rent. When affordable housing options are not available, lower income renters cannot afford other basics like food and medication, and are forced to live in precarious, inadequate and sometimes unsafe housing. 

At the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights, we hear these stories every day – renters who are in fear of losing their homes because they cannot afford the latest rent increase, or who are living in poorly maintained or overcrowded homes that put their health at risk, but have nowhere else they can afford to go.  

Recent polls show that increasing rental costs and the lack of affordable rental housing is a serious concern for 95% of Canadians. Every day, people across Canada are being pushed out of their homes. This is unacceptable and cannot continue – renters deserve fair rents and basic legal protections, and it’s time for our governments to step in and help ensure all renters can afford the housing they need.  

The housing affordability crisis did not happen overnight.  

At one time, our governments took a more active role in supporting our housing systems with programs and policies aimed at ensuring that housing remains affordable for Canadians across the income spectrum. From the 1940s to 1970s, governments across Canada played key roles in regulating housing markets and investing in the development of social and purpose-built rental housing. However, beginning in the 1980s and through the 2010s, governments progressively withdrew from their role regulating and investing in housing in the public interest. Their decision to do so has directly contributed to the current housing affordability crisis and growing rates of homelessness.  

It is not a coincidence that housing costs and rates of homelessness both grew during the 40-year period when governments scaled back their support and oversight of the housing system. This withdrawal has had many consequences, including rising housing costs, the stalling of construction of rental housing, and greater housing insecurity for low and middle income renters.  

It does not have to be this way. 

Now is the time for our governments to re-engage with the role they once played supporting a healthy housing system that protects renters and ensures they have a secure place to call home. A key way they can do this right now is by ensuring basic protections like rent regulations are in place across the country. Governments have a role to play in regulating businesses to promote healthy markets and protect consumers, and that must extend to rental housing. Currently, although some provincial and territorial laws provide a degree of rent regulation, renters are not adequately protected against excessive rent increases anywhere in Canada.  

In the absence of strong laws that regulate rents, private landlords are free to charge rents far higher than what is necessary to cover their expenses and make a reasonable profit. This practice is known as rent gouging, and it’s causing rents to climb excessively across Canada to the point that half of renters are worried about being able to pay their rent. In many places, price gouging laws prohibit businesses from taking advantage of emergencies to overcharge for basic necessities. Yet, even though housing is a basic necessity and a human right, rent gouging is legal everywhere in Canada. 

Also, the regulations that are in place vary across the country. For example, some provinces have rules for calculating allowed rent increases above the limits, but the formulae used are broken, allowing landlords to impose excessive increases that widen their profit margins at renters’ expense. Other provinces allow unlimited rent increases across the board.   

Long-term solutions don’t need to take a long time. 

Solving Canada’s housing affordability crisis requires cross-governmental and cross-sectoral collaboration on both long- and short-term initiatives. The creation of new affordable housing is key, but requires an extensive investment of time, resources and collaboration to implement. In the meantime, it is crucial that we protect the few affordable homes that still exist. One quick and cost-effective way this can be done is through provincial and territorial governments implementing strong rent regulations to ensure that rents are fair and renters have basic protections to live securely in their homes.   

Last year, hundreds of people across the country joined our call on the federal government to take action to ensure that all renters across Canada have a secure place to call home. Now we’re calling on all provincial and territorial governments to do their part.  

Join us in this push to save renters’ homes and demand action on affordability by writing to your provincial or territorial representatives. 

Housing is a human right, and it’s time for our governments to take action to protect renters’ right to live securely in their homes. 


Donate today to support the campaign.

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) proudly partnered with the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) and other non-profit organizations in Manitoba on a project that aimed to prevent unnecessary evictions of vulnerable households in the province.

Across Canada, renters are increasingly struggling to find affordable housing and to remain in their homes. Eviction rates are shockingly high, with 7% of Canadian households reporting that they have been evicted at some point in their lives. Some of these households are evicted when they fall behind on rent because of temporary financial difficulties. Others are evicted because of solvable problems like noise complaints. With varying decisions related to the eviction of people from their rental homes, it is unclear how decisions are considered and whether alternative solutions were pursued.  

It is incumbent upon courts and tribunals to identify situations where eviction is not a necessary means to resolve disputes, and to prioritize alternative measures that will prevent people from unnecessarily losing their home. Many evictions are not necessary – and unnecessary evictions are a violation of the right to housing. People who are unnecessarily evicted from their homes may not find another permanent place to live and could experience homelessness as a result. This is why CCHR and our partners in Manitoba worked to develop legal arguments that will assist local advocates in fighting these evictions. 

In some provinces, the law allows tenancy tribunals to respect tenants’ right to housing by recognizing alternatives to eviction. This allows the tenant and landlord to pursue other ways to resolve their issues, considering each party’s circumstances and abilities, while meeting their contractual obligations. An important alternative to an eviction is called a conditional order, which is a way for a tribunal to recognize the many cases where eviction may be avoided. A conditional order directs a tenant to resolve an issue in their tenancy. For example, a tenant who owes rent can be given a repayment plan. A tenant who has been impacting their neighbours with excessive noise can be directed to make less noise. Conditional orders can prevent evictions, allowing for other solutions to resolve an existing tenancy issue while keeping a tenant housed and respecting the landlord’s interest in ensuring that issues are resolved. 

CCHR undertook detailed research into the history of conditional orders in Manitoba. We discovered that the Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) used to routinely avoid evictions by making conditional orders. But in 2009-2010, the RTB suddenly, and without any explanation, largely abandoned this important eviction prevention tool. 

As a result, tenants in Manitoba are routinely subjected to unnecessary eviction with no consideration of alternative solutions and whether their tenancies actually need to end. 

CCHR worked with community organizations in Manitoba to develop legal arguments to persuade the RTB to resume the use of conditional orders as regular practice. In every eviction hearing, the RTB must approach eviction as a last resort, considering whether an eviction is really necessary, or whether a conditional order would be a better option. 

At the same time, we also worked to persuade the Manitoba government to amend its Residential Tenancies Act to provide that RTB adjudicators may only order an eviction if the landlord has proved that it is necessary and that a conditional order would not be possible.


This project was generously supported by the Manitoba Law Foundation.  


Learn more about conditional orders

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is proud to be partnering with Purpose Analytics and several national partners on an innovative initiative funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Supply Challenge. The Low-end of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor project aims to build an understanding of the scale of and change in affordable housing stock in Canada, through the lens of six major urban centres: Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg and Halifax.

A lack of affordable rental housing across the country has resulted in a crisis in many Canadian cities, especially for lower-income renters who face increasing difficulties securing a home they can afford. Despite growing attention paid to this issue, little is currently known about the scale and scope of the existing deeply affordable housing stock in Canada, or about changes taking place at the low-end of the private rental market, which are the most affordable private housing options available to residents. To address this knowledge gap, CCHR and Purpose Analytics developed this project, which seeks to integrate and aggregate existing data related to the loss of units and the displacement of people living in deeply affordable rental housing in urban areas. The project will also evaluate the potential to use these datasets to produce a modelled estimate of how the supply and location of deeply affordable market rental housing is changing over time.

The project will produce an online tool called the Low-end of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor, which will present data on low-end market rental housing. This free and open access tool will be available to policy makers, service providers, community advocates and anyone in the general public interested in matters of affordable housing supply. Data will be brought in from various sources including census data, administrative data from local governments and data from community organizations. The goal is to provide accessible, centralized data that can enrich evidence-based decision-making in housing across Canada.

Project background 

The Low-end of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor is funded by CMHC’s Housing Supply Challenge, a fund aimed at creating solutions to overcoming barriers to the creation of new housing supply in Canada. The focus of the data-driven round of the challenge is on improving access to data so that it can be utilized in important housing decisions. The Housing Supply Challenge is one way in which Canada’s National Housing Strategy is promoting informed decision-making throughout government.

In the absence of an adequate supply of social and non-profit housing, it is the “low end” of the private rental market where the majority of lower-income renters must seek housing, and it is this supply that appears to be declining the fastest. Deeply affordable rental housing, or low-end of market rentals, represents a critical component of the housing spectrum, providing homes to lower income households where equity-deserving groups are disproportionately represented.

In a 2020 study, housing policy expert Steve Pomeroy found that from 2011 to 2016, for every new affordable unit of housing created in Canada through government funded programs, Canada lost 15 existing affordable private market rental units. Without a baseline understanding of the current state of affordable housing stock in major cities, and no way to monitor change over time, it is currently impossible for decision-makers to actively intervene on issues related to housing supply and to monitor the impact of housing programs and policies. Although some data on these matters exists, it tends to be scattered in various (and sometimes unknown) locations across Canada’s urban and rural municipalities. There is no central point where this information is stored, systematically organized, and shared.

The LEMR Housing Monitor tool was developed as a response to this gap, and will provide a sophisticated tool serving as a central point to access trustworthy data on deeply affordable private market units. The project will also identify possible data gaps in the six urban centres, and assess where the collection of additional and new data may be necessary.

The project to date

Currently, the project is engaging with community organizations and public bodies to identify their data needs and priorities to help shape the design of the LEMR Housing Monitor, and to gather existing data that will populate the tool.    

The project team has formed Regional Advisory Groups in the six urban centres consisting of various local non-profit organizations, and is engaging with local and regional governments as well as provincial housing authorities in our sites of study. The team is currently exploring, gathering, processing and refining available data, while identifying gaps in publicly available sources of data. The work to develop the infrastructure of the LEMR Housing Monitor is at an advanced stage, and the tool will be launched in early 2024.  


How to contribute

If you are responsible for managing data on affordable rental housing, CCHR and Purpose Analytics invite you to make a contribution to the LEMR Housing Monitor.

At this moment, we are seeking data for the following areas only:

  • Calgary
  • Halifax
  • Greater Toronto Area
  • Metro Vancouver
  • Island of Montreal (plus Laval and Longueuil)
  • Winnipeg

Please fill out the form below to get in touch with the LEMR project team.


CCHR and Purpose Analytics are grateful for the contributions of our partners on this project:

  • British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
  • Community Housing Transformation Centre (The Centre)  
  • Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) 

The Low-End of Market Rental (LEMR) project received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the Housing Supply Challenge. However, the views expressed are the personal views of the author and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them. 


The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is proud to be partnering with the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) and the National Right to Housing Network (NRHN) on a project funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Solutions Lab. The project aims to develop and prototype national shelter standards that adopt a rights-based and gender-sensitive approach that will help improve emergency shelter service delivery.

In Canada, women and gender-diverse people are more likely to have trouble finding a safe and secure place to live, and disproportionately live in core housing need. For those who experience homelessness, they are often denied access to emergency shelters that are operating over capacity and are struggling to meet demand due to chronic underfunding and an increase in housing need. Additionally, certain policies, rules and practices in emergency shelters may lead to people being turned away, separated from their children or unable to access supports.   

These issues can have devastating impacts on women and gender-diverse persons who are in need of shelter services, and present barriers to realizing the right to housing. It is critical that we change the way that emergency shelters are designed so that they align with a rights-based and gender-sensitive approach to housing. 

Project background 

To help address these challenges, this project seeks to identify what shelters in Canada could look like if they were gender-sensitive and aligned with the right to housing. Our goal is to transform emergency shelter service delivery for women and gender-diverse people, by developing and prototyping national shelter standards that use a rights-based and gender-sensitive approach. These standards can help to better meet the needs of women and gender-diverse people in accessing emergency shelter services.

The project to date

An Advisory Group has been formed to oversee implementation of the project and provide guidance on current shelter practices. The Advisory Group is made up of people with lived experience, frontline service providers, researchers, housing advocates, human rights experts and policymakers. 

The project team has worked with focus groups to explore common barriers in the shelter sector and in the coming months will be exploring rights-based and gender-sensitive solutions through design charettes. The first of these charettes will take place at the 2023 CAEH National Conference to End Homelessness in November 2023. Register to join this event.

These solutions and models will then be tested, and the results will be used to build prototypes and a roadmap for national implementation, through engagement and advocacy with policymakers and key stakeholders. 


Acknowledgements

This project is generously supported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Solutions Lab. 


The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Canadian Right to Housing Research Fellowships:

Brittany Cormier and Monika Imeri

Brittany Cormier and Monika Imeri

About the fellowship

The Canadian Right to Housing Fellowship program aims to foster and promote research that advances understanding of the housing landscape in Canada and of housing as a human right.  

About the 2023 fellows

Brittany Cormier

Brittany is a master’s student at Saint Mary’s University, a qualitative researcher and an abstract painter based in Charlottetown, PEI. She holds a first-class standing bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from the University of Prince Edward Island. Brittany studies hidden and at-risk forms of homelessness in her community, as well as evictions and housing discrimination experienced by tenants. Her recent work includes research and administration, provincial-level policy work, and program delivery in the non-profit sector.  

As a research fellow with CCHR, her project will examine discriminatory practices in the rental housing sector, examining the impacts of housing discrimination on communities and how it undermines the right to housing.  

Monika Imeri

Monika is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography at Carleton University. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, where she graduated summa cum laude in city planning. She is actively engaged with local community organizations and advocates for urban justice in Ottawa, where she is based.   

As a research fellow with CCHR, her project will examine the multidimensional impacts of development-led displacement in Ottawa. She will take an ethnographic case study approach to document the lived experiences of tenants from equity-deserving communities who have been affected by dispossession, housing insecurity, and discrimination in Ottawa. The project will uncover and shed light on the lived realities of displacement and its impacts on equity-deserving populations. 


Using innovative approaches to bring hidden homelessness into the light

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is proud to be partnering with CT Labs and several local partners in Saskatoon on a project funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Solutions Lab, to understand and estimate hidden homelessness in Saskatoon. 

Hidden homelessness is experienced by many people across the country, but there has been great difficulty in understanding the extent of the problem as it is an invisible form of homelessness. This is why at CCHR we have developed a pilot project in Saskatoon to understand and enumerate hidden homelessness, in order to better serve the housing needs of those who are invisibly unhoused. Using Saskatoon as a case study, the project will produce a framework for estimating the scope of hidden homelessness that can be used by policymakers and service providers to develop effective solutions. To do this, we have brought together stakeholders from across Saskatoon’s housing system to capture the journeys of those experiencing hidden homelessness and co-develop innovative strategies for collecting data to create evidence-based solutions. The aim of the project is to develop a framework that can be translatable to similar urban centers across Canada.    

CMHC’s Solutions Labs are an innovative approach to tackling complex societal challenges that cannot be solved by one organization or sector. Using bottom-up collaboration, they provide a safe space for diverse perspectives to come together, for assumptions to be questioned, and for community-based solutions to be created. They are one of the tools under the National Housing Strategy being used to inform decision-making at all levels of government. 

Project background 

Using limited data, a 2016 study by Statistics Canada found that nearly 1 in 10 Canadians have experienced hidden homelessness. Some populations are disproportionately experiencing hidden homelessness such as Indigenous Peoples, women, LGBTQ2S individuals, or children involved with the child welfare system. 

The term is commonly used to refer to people who are living temporarily with friends, family, or strangers without a secure place to call home. They may be couch-surfing, sleeping in cars, or living in unsafe situations just to have a roof over their heads. Despite hidden homelessness being prevalent in communities across Canada, there is a lack of data on the scope and nature of the issue. Without accurate data, the needs of this population are often not represented in current housing policies and left out of solutions that can help them find permanent housing. An innovative approach is needed to address current data gaps and deepen understandings of the hidden homelessness experiences.  

Taking place over 14 months, the lab will engage with community stakeholders to understand the issue, identify and prototype solutions, and develop an implementation roadmap that has the participation and buy-in of the housing ecosystem.  

The project to date

Over the next few months, the project team will be speaking with individuals who have lived experience of hidden homelessness. The journeys and experiences collected in these conversations will be the foundation for future phases of the lab and inform the development of solutions.    


The Understanding and Estimating Hidden Homelessness in Saskatoon project received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the NHS Solutions Labs, however, the views expressed are the personal views of the author and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them. 


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Get the latest updates about the right to housing in Canada