Housing policy news: June 2022

June 30, 2022



  • Ontario has set the 2023 rent increase at 2.5 per cent The provincial government has set the maximum amount a landlord can raise the rent for an existing tenant at 2.5 per cent in 2023, which is double the amount set in 2022, and the highest amount since 2013. Usually, the government ties the rent increase amount to the Ontario Consumer Price Index, which would have pushed the 2023 amount to 5.3 per cent. The government said that it limited the increase to help protect tenants from significant increases, however advocates say that the 2.5 per cent figure is still too high. The rent increase guideline applies to most renters in Ontario who are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. However it does not apply to vacant units, community housing, long-term care homes, or units that were first occupied after November 15, 2018. 
  • Toronto’s Rent Bank program is now permanently grant-based On June 16, Toronto City Council voted in favour of converting its Rent Bank program to offer grants on a permanent basis, moving away from their previous repayable loans model. This move will help lower income residents cover deposits or pay their rent. Several advocates expressed their support for this move while encouraging the City to consider strengthening the program in the future. CERA recommended that the City increase funding and make the eligibility criteria more inclusive, while also protecting the existing stock of affordable housing and creating new affordable housing options for lower income residents to reduce the need for rent relief in the long run. 


  • Saskatchewan expands its housing benefit program but advocates say that gaps remain The Saskatchewan Housing Benefit is now available to renters who pay 35 per cent or more of their pre-tax housing income on rent. The benefit amount and asset eligibility limit have also been increased, and rent limits have been removed. The government says that these changes will allow more low-income households to receive the benefit. However, advocates say the expansion does not go far enough as several vulnerable groups remain ineligible to receive support, including people who receive other government assistance, residents in social housing programs, sponsored newcomers, and post-secondary students. 



  • Vancouver approves a plan to increase density along its Broadway corridor After weeks of consultation, Vancouver City Council has passed its “Broadway Plan”, which proposes to increase the density and variety of housing types in the area, including affordable housing, around an important transit hub. Several details in the plan have been deferred to the next Council which will be elected in October 2022. However, some important elements have been passed, including measures to protect existing tenants and prevent them from being displaced from their neighbourhoods.    



  • Gwich’in communities will be consulted on how a federal housing and infrastructure investment should be spent The Gwich’in Tribal Council is planning to consult Gwich’in communities to hear their priorities for how $25 million should be spent to address their critical housing and infrastructure needs. Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik welcomed the investment while highlighting that much more is needed in their communities where the housing needs are at a critical level, and infrastructure needs alone could cost $100 million. Another $42 million will be invested in Tłı̨chǫ communities, where Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty says 35 per cent of homes are in need of major repairs. The investments are part of the federal government’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund. 
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