This guide is designed to provide housing providers in Ontario with information about their obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Housing providers are faced with the complex challenge of adhering to municipal and provincial laws and responding to the diverse needs of their renters. The purpose of this guide is to help clarify their requirements under the AODA. It also covers how the AODA works with other legislation and offers useful tips to housing providers on how to ensure that their business practices promote accessibility.

Silhouette image of a woman looking into the distance at a city.

This International Women’s Day, we are called to reflect on the barriers and biases that impede women from fully realizing their human rights; and importantly, to reflect on what we can do to break down these barriers and biases.

The right to adequate housing is a human right. However, women in Canada are often impeded from fully realizing this right due to policies and programs that do not consider their specific needs and circumstances. Last June, the National Indigenous Housing Network and Women’s National Housing & Homelessness Network filed two Human Rights Claims to review the systemic denial of the equal right to housing of women and gender-diverse people, which spotlight the inherently systemic violations of the right to housing.

Critically, the Canadian government has relied on a narrow definition of homelessness, which excludes women’s experiences of gender-based violence and hidden homelessness. Definitions of “homelessness” and “chronic homelessness” used in government policy do not reflect the distinct ways women, girls, women-led families, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people experience homelessness. Definitions tend to be Eurocentric and fail to account for Indigenous ways of understanding and experiencing homelessness.

To fully realize the right to adequate housing, a broader definition of homelessness must be adopted. 

That is why the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR), the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) and the National Indigenous Housing Network (NIHN) are calling on the federal government to expand its definition of homelessness to include the experiences of women and gender-diverse people, centering ways in which Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people define their homelessness. Our collective efforts to end homelessness must be inclusive of all experiences across Canada.

Support this call by sending a letter to the federal government.

How do women experience homelessness differently?

Despite common perceptions that it is primarily men who experience homelessness, almost half of the people experiencing homelessness in Canada are women, girls and gender diverse people.

However, while housing and homelessness supports are generally framed in gender-neutral terms, women have unique needs and experiences in housing instability and homelessness. Women experience homelessness differently for two main reasons: (1) they frequently have different reasons for becoming homeless; and (2) they navigate homelessness differently. These experiences are tied to gender, and other group identities like race, ethnicity, disability, immigration status, social and economic status and gender identity etc. Based on these identities, women face multiple forms of marginalization.   

In the context of inherent Indigenous rights, colonial policies and mechanisms attempt to displace Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people. The lack of action on the Calls to Justice from the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report and Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report has created a failure to provide safe, adequate, and culturally appropriate housing. The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) mentions the need for safe and secure housing more than 400 times.

Pathways to homelessness for women 

Women commonly become vulnerable to homelessness due to poverty, lower wages, intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, addiction issues, mental and physical health challenges, and issues around childcare.  

The Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing and Homelessness Survey identifies that women disproportionately experience poverty and financial instability. Women in Ontario on average live on income that is 28% lower than the average income for men, are over-represented in minimum wage and part-time jobs, and assume unequal responsibilities in housework and childcare. 

As a result, they face greater challenges finding adequate and affordable housing, leading many women to seek out housing that is unsafe, inadequate or unaffordable, and increasing their vulnerability to homelessness. CCHR has reported that more than a quarter of women-led households in Canada are in core housing need, while 90% of families using emergency shelters are headed by single women. This situation is made worse by the increased discrimination that women – in particular single mothers/parents, those receiving social assistance, those who are racialized, newcomers, Indigenous, or with a disability – face in accessing housing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women were disproportionately impacted by income and job loss due to their overrepresentation in part-time employment and in the sectors most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The pandemic exacerbated the housing needs of women, who were less likely to have savings, and put them at a higher risk of experiencing homelessness. Racialized women experienced additional impacts as they earn approximately 58 cents for every dollar earned by non-racialized men and are more likely to work in lower-paying occupations.  

Indigenous women, in particular, are overrepresented amongst women who are homeless, and are 15 times more likely to use a homeless shelter than non-Indigenous women. The 2019 MMIWG Report highlights that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other group of women in Canada and are 16 times more likely to be murdered or missing than white women. A lack of Indigenous-led housing programs leads to unsafe living conditions, inadequate housing, unaffordability, and child apprehension.

Moreover, women account for 79% of people experiencing violence by an intimate partner, while women who are Indigenous, racialized, with a disability, refugees, or identify as LGBTQ2S+ face disproportionately high rates of violence. Research shows that experiencing violence, in particular intimate partner violence, is a key reason that women and their dependents lose access to stable housing or experience homelessness. A report by the Canadian Women’s Foundation found that women who leave their partners and become single parents are five times more likely to live in poverty, while women leaving violence encounter other systemic and structural challenges to accessing stable housing, such as being turned away from emergency shelters due to capacity issues, and discrimination from landlords and property managers who refuse to rent to them based on their gender and other identifying characteristics. 

These challenges increase women’s risk of experiencing homelessness. This cycle is illustrated by the Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing and Homelessness Survey, which found that 47% of women surveyed reported a breakup as the reason for losing access to housing, the most commonly reported reason for women losing their housing, and 75.2% reported being survivors of abuse and trauma.

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness also found that discriminatory practices around social assistance, housing support and child welfare present additional barriers for low-income women to access housing, and interventions from child services are shown to increase risks of homelessness for both mothers and their children. This is in part due to social assistance systems cutting entitlements for mothers whose children enter the child welfare system, a response that further challenges their ability to retain stable and adequate housing. 

Navigating homelessness 

Just as women have different pathways to homelessness, they also navigate homelessness differently.  

The Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing and Homelessness Survey has found a severe lack of gender-specific supportive, transitional and permanent affordable housing to meet the needs of women who are at risk of losing their housing. Critically, as of 2019, 68% of shelter beds were co-ed or dedicated to men, compared to 13% dedicated to women, while many women avoid co-ed shelters due to the increased potential for violence in these spaces. This shortage is especially severe for Indigenous women, with data showing that 70% of northern reserves do not have dedicated spaces for women escaping violence. 

Moreover, women are exposed to different risks when experiencing homelessness. Research underscores the cyclical nature of violence and homelessness for women. Just as violence is a pathway to homelessness, women are much more likely than men to experience violence and exploitation due to being homeless. The same survey shows that 37.5 % of young women and 41.3% of trans and non-binary people who are homeless experience sexual assault, compared to just 8.2% of men.    

With fewer formal housing and homelessness supports available, women more frequently rely on informal, precarious, and at times dangerous supports to stabilize their housing. These can include strategies like couch-surfing with friends and family, staying in substandard or unsafe accommodation, staying in violent or exploitative relationships, and exchanging sex for shelter. These situations represent forms of “hidden homelessness” that exist on the margins of the formal homelessness support and shelter system.

Why do definitions matter? 

In 2017, the Canadian government introduced the National Housing Strategy (NHS) to address Canada’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. The NHS introduced several programs to prevent and respond to homelessness but did not adopt the broad definition of homelessness recognized by the United Nations (UN). The UN definition of homelessness recognizes that homelessness is interrelated with poverty and includes people living in temporary accommodation and inadequate housing without access to security of tenure or basic services. This broad definition encompasses the types of hidden homelessness often experienced by women, including those who are couch surfing, incarcerated, hospitalized, being sexually exploited, exiting foster care, or those living in unsafe or unstable housing.

Most definitions fail to account for the unique structural and systemic oppressions that shape homelessness for Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse peoples including: genocidal violence, intergenerational trauma, institutional betrayal, racism and discrimination, sexual violence and homicide, and criminalization.

Concerningly, these experiences are not captured under the NHS’s narrow definition of homelessness, which focuses on more visible forms of chronic homelessness. The NHS defines homelessness as a “situation in which someone does not have a permanent address, or stable, permanent or appropriate housing, or the means to acquire it.”  As a result, research and data gathering approaches, as well as program design and funding under the NHS, have focused on chronic or visible homelessness. For example, one of the ways that the Canadian government has determined homelessness statistics is by focusing on shelter capacity and occupancy. However, it is estimated that 7% of women in Canada experience hidden homelessness at some point in their lives. Therefore, using shelter occupancy to measure the rates of homelessness excludes large numbers of women experiencing hidden homelessness, for whom both unsheltered homelessness and shelter use pose threats to their safety and an increased risk of child apprehension for women who have children in their care. This systemic undercounting makes it challenging to estimate the number of women experiencing homelessness in Canada. 

Homelessness, chronic homelessness, housing need, and affordability definitions in current federal policy do not reflect the experiences of housing precarity or homelessness, nor the depth of poverty women and gender-diverse people live in, which means it cannot possibly hope to address these issues at a foundational level.

The lack of national data on hidden homelessness has led to the exclusion of key populations of women to receive support from homelessness programs and has produced inadequate policy responses to address their needs. These gaps in responses to women’s emergency housing needs have contributed to the significant shortage in shelters for women, as mentioned above. In addition, programs under the NHS, such as Reaching Home, which is considered one of the main funding streams dedicated to ending homelessness, have also failed to account for the specific factors that make women vulnerable to homelessness, such as lower wages, lack of affordable childcare and being the primary caretakers in the family, as well as gender-based violence.

The Canadian government must change its definition of homelessness to include the experiences of women and gender-diverse people, and center Indigenous ways of understanding and experiencing homelessness, to effectively address their needs and advance the right to housing.

Tell the federal government: Canada’s homelessness definition must be inclusive of women and gender-diverse people.

The holiday season is upon us. For many, this is the time to relax at home and unwind with loved ones. However, for some renters in Ontario they may be dealing with their landlord who carries out an illegal eviction during this time and locks them out of their rental home. It is important to know your rights as a renter when faced with an illegal lockout and how you can get back into your home. 

What is an illegal eviction?

Your tenancy can only be legally ended in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). If your landlord wants to end your tenancy, they must serve you with a notice to end your tenancy, and then file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an eviction based on a reason recognized in the RTA. If your landlord has filed an application to evict, the LTB will send you a notice of this application with a hearing date. The hearing provides you and your landlord with an opportunity to attend a hearing and describe your circumstances to an adjudicator. If the adjudicator finds that the grounds for your eviction are reasonable and fair, then they can grant an eviction order to end your tenancy. This eviction order can only be carried out by the Sheriff’s office, also known as the Court Enforcement Office. Your landlord or anyone acting in the interest of your landlord cannot carry out an eviction order on their own. 

If your landlord changes your locks and prevents you from entering your home, this is illegal. Your landlord is not allowed to evict you themselves, and they are not allowed to alter a lock without providing a replacement key to you. 

What to do if you’re locked out:

It is critical to act quickly if you have been illegally locked out. Taking any of the following steps could help you get back into your home. Document everything that happens related to being locked out of your unit and trying to get back in: 

  • Talk to your landlord. Request a new key to enter your home immediately and remind them that locking you out is illegal. Keep notes about the conversation you have with your landlord. 
  • Call the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at 416-585-7214 and tell them you’ve been locked out illegally. They can have a Compliance and Customer Service Officer call the landlord and attempt to resolve the situation. 
  • If you feel comfortable, call your local police and ask for help. They may be able to convince your landlord to let you back into your unit, especially if you have evidence or identification which proves your address. In some cases, the police have helped tenants re-enter their units.  
  • Call your local legal clinic and request their urgent assistance in dealing with this situation. 
  • File a T2 application with the LTB along with a Request to Extend or Shorten Time explaining the urgency of the situation. Instructions on filling out these forms can be found here: LTB: Forms. Often, the LTB will issue an interim order requiring your landlord to allow you back into the apartment. If the LTB does not respond to you in a couple of days, follow up. If the landlord does not comply with an interim order requiring that you be let back into your unit, contact your area’s Court Enforcement Office
  • As a last resort you can hire a locksmith to change the locks on your door. You may be required to show proof that you live in the apartment. Keep a copy of the new key for your landlord. Get receipts for any work done and keep them as they can be evidence in any applications you file with the Landlord and Tenant Board or that are filed against you. You may end up responsible for paying for any damage done while accessing your apartment. If you have your unit lock changed, try to get legal advice about the steps you should take next. 

As long as no one else has moved into the unit, the adjudicator at the LTB can require your landlord to allow you back in. Bring an application immediately to give your landlord minimal time to move a new tenant into the unit. The LTB will likely not let you back in once another tenant has moved in, which is why it’s so important to move quickly. 

What if my landlord served me with a notice to end my tenancy (an “N-form”)?

Notices of termination (e.g. N4s, N5s, N6s N7s, N8s, N12s, N13s) are not eviction orders – they are just documents from your landlord requesting that you move out on a specified date. If you receive a notice to end your tenancy and you remain in your unit, your landlord can only end your tenancy by applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board. A hearing will then be held, which is your chance to present your circumstances to the adjudicator. 

You do not have to move out on the date specified in the notice, and your landlord does not have a right to lock you out on that date. 

This guide provides condominium boards with a clear overview of their obligations under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. It also informs condominium boards of their obligations regarding accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).   

In this guide, you’ll find information about:

  • The legislative framework, including Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the Residential Tenancies Act, the Condominium Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and condominium by-laws, rules and declaration
  • Discrimination and harassment under the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Prohibited grounds of discrimination
  • Reasonable accommodations and undue hardship under the Code
  • The five accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

This guide and adjoining sample policies offer a framework for housing providers to implement the principles of the right to housing. This is done through exploring their relationship to the right to housing and through the implementation of housing policies that expand their residents’ access to secure and adequate housing.

This resource was produced under the project entitled Housing Providers Implementing the Right to Housing in the Supportive Housing Sector. This project received funding from the National Housing Strategy’s Demonstrations Initiative. However, the views expressed are the personal views of the author and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) accepts no responsibility for them.



  • 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. 



  • Advocates say that New Brunswick’s proposed changes to tenancy law don’t go far enough to address the housing crisis 
    The New Brunswick Coalition for Tenants Rights says that the province’s proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act to cap rent increases at 3.8 per cent should be a permanent measure, rather than the current proposal to remove the cap by the end of 2022. The Coalition and opposition parties also urged the government to amend the bill to address loopholes that allow landlords to increase the rent beyond the cap, and strengthen tenant protections against renovictions and lease terminations. The Standing Committee on Economic Policy is currently studying the proposed legislation, and it is expected to receive royal assent in June.   
  • Fredericton releases Draft Affordable Housing Strategy with 13 key recommendations 
    The City of Fredericton has developed a Draft Affordable Housing Strategy, based on an assessment of residents’ housing needs carried out in 2021. The strategy outlines 13 recommendations to increase affordable housing by increasing City staff capacity and expertise to address issues, revising zoning bylaws, supporting community housing organizations and projects, providing land, exploring taxation tools, requesting provincial support and legislative changes, and collaborating with other municipalities on similar issues. The City has sought public feedback, and the strategy will be presented to City Council in June.   


  • New bill proposed to strengthen protections for seniors from being evicted 
    The Quebec Solidaire opposition party has proposed legislation to prevent the eviction of seniors over the age of 65 who have lived in the same apartment for more than five years. This would change the current rule that prevents eviction of seniors over 70 who have lived in the same unit for 10 or more years. Advocates say the bill should be further strengthened to also prevent seniors’ residences from being converted into regular rental units.  


  • Affordable housing is a top issue during Ontario’s provincial election 
    All of Ontario’s main parties made various election campaign promises to address the province’s affordable housing crisis. While all parties say they would prioritize boosting the supply of housing, the parties diverged on a range of issues impacting renters. Many advocates – including CERA’s Director of Policy and Communications, Bahar Shadpour – emphasized the need to prioritize Ontarians in greatest need and protect the province’s current affordable housing stock.  
  • Hamilton votes to add inclusionary zoning to the City’s Official Plan 
    Hamilton’s Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of adding inclusionary zoning in the City’s Official Plan, to require that housing developments built along the City’s upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) route set aside a portion of units to be affordable.  
  • The Region of Peel is setting up a working group to design its inclusionary zoning system 
    Peel Region will establish a working group to design the region’s inclusionary zoning system, which is expected to create 200 new affordable housing units for low- and moderate-income households each year. The administration of the system will be managed by the Region of Peel, and the working group will be looking into how to set up various aspects of the system including the resale of affordable units, regulating access, ensuring their long-term affordability, and matching residents with units. 


  • Calgary considers launching a Housing and Affordability Task Force and Housing Security Commission 
    Calgary’s Executive Committee has approved a proposal that the City of Calgary should look into setting up a Housing and Affordability Task Force which would recommend how to increase, measure and manage affordable housing across the city. The Committee also supported looking at different Housing Security Commission models to work with supportive housing providers, emergency shelters, and the provincial and federal governments – among other partners – to improve housing outcomes for people seeking supportive housing. Council will consider these two items in early July.  



  • Indigenous housing organization calls on the federal government to fund its Indigenous housing strategy 
    The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) – which oversees Indigenous housing and service providers in B.C. – says that over 20,000 Indigenous housing units are needed over the next 10 years. AHMA is calling on the federal government to invest $7.3 billion to implement a strategy to build and repair housing that is culturally appropriate for Indigenous people across the province. 
  • Victoria City Council delays passing its “missing middle” housing initiative 
    On May 26, Victoria City Council voted to refer a proposed “missing middle” housing initiative back to City staff to conduct another round of public engagements, despite the initiative having received majority support during a previous round of public consultations. If passed, the initiative would rezone single-family lots to allow for more diverse housing types, which could help create more affordable housing options. Advocates expressed concern that the delay could cause this initiative to not be passed.  


  • Auditor General finds Yukon has made little progress on housing in over 10 years 
    A new report by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) has found that the Yukon government has not acted upon recommendations made by the OAG in 2010 to address long-standing housing issues in the territory for those in greatest need. Among other issues, the report found that the wait list for community housing has steadily grown, wait times are longer, and the most vulnerable communities needing support are not being prioritized. The report includes a new set of recommendations directed to the Yukon Housing Corporation and the Department of Health and Social Services to address these issues. 
  • Whitehorse’s draft Official Community Plan focuses on housing issues 
    The City of Whitehorse is seeking public input on its Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan which identifies the city’s land use planning and development priorities for the next 20 years. With a growing population, the plan focuses on increasing density in existing neighbourhoods and expanding housing in new subdivisions. The draft plan is set to be presented to City Council in August. 


  • Nunavut’s budget includes a focus on housing investments 
    The Nunavut government has tabled its 2022-2023 budget which includes an increased amount for housing developments, as the government aims to build 1,000 new units over the next four years. The government also indicated that it is open to using some of its surplus to tackle Nunavut’s housing shortage, and that plans are underway to possibly increase spending on housing incrementally during the government’s mandate. 



  • Supreme Court of Canada upholds ruling that Nova Scotia’s housing practices are discriminatory to people with disabilities On April 14, 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Government of Nova Scotia’s request to appeal an earlier court decision that found the province has systematically discriminated against people with disabilities by failing to provide them with meaningful access to community supports and services, effectively segregating them from the community and forcing them to live in institutions which didn’t meet their needs. The court also ordered the government to pay costs to the Disability Rights Coalition, which launched the case.


  • Advocates call on the Quebec government to create a rent registry In the face of rising rents, the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenant Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ) is calling on the Quebec government to create a rent registry so that prospective tenants can see the amount of rent that the previous tenant paid for the same unit. This may discourage some landlords from hiking up rents for new tenants.  



  • The City of Edmonton has proposed a new strategy to address growing homelessness and encampments City staff have presented a new plan to address homelessness and encampments in Edmonton, where the number of people experiencing homelessness has more than doubled during the pandemic. The plan will include a new Indigenous-led team to provide outreach support, and other outreach teams to support people into bridge housing and temporary units. The City expects the number of people who are sleeping outdoors will continue to grow. This is in part because provincial pandemic emergency shelter funding ended in March, which will cause a 44% drop in the number of available shelter spaces. 


  • Victoria has passed new legislation to speed up the construction of affordable housing On April 14, 2022, Victoria City Council passed new legislation that will speed up the construction of housing projects that are owned and managed by non-profits, co-operatives or government agencies. Projects that meet the City’s community plan and design guidelines will be allowed to bypass the City Council and go directly to the Director of Sustainable Planning for approval.  
  • Vancouver will increase its Empty Homes Tax to 5% in 2023 On April 27, 2022, Vancouver City Council unanimously voted to increase the Empty Homes Tax to 5% in 2023, and have directed City staff to investigate the possibility of increasing it to 10% in the future. This follows the Mayor’s announcement made earlier in the month that the 3% tax has raised $32 million to be invested in affordable housing projects, and has reduced the number of vacant homes in Vancouver.  
  • The first draft of the Vancouver Plan has been released After several years of consultation, Vancouver City staff have released the Vancouver Plan which will guide the City’s strategic land use and growth policies until 2050. The plan focuses on three areas: more equitable housing and complete neighbourhoods; an economy that works for all and; climate protection and restored ecosystems. If passed, the plan will outline changes that are needed to land use bylaws to allow for mixed-use, purpose-built rental and social housing across the city. Following another round of public consultations held in April, staff will present a revised draft to Council to vote on in June. 

The Government of Canada announced its 2022 budget on April 7, with housing being among the top areas receiving investments during this pandemic recovery period. This budget is arriving at the halfway mark of the government’s ten-year National Housing Strategy (NHS), and there remains much room for improvement.  

As investment dollars in the NHS have increased significantly since the inception of the strategy half a decade ago, the 2022 budget still does not direct adequate funds in the most effective way to address the housing needs of those living on low- to moderate-incomes. For many of these households, homeownership is well out of reach, while rental housing and alternative housing choices are becoming increasingly inadequate, inaccessible and unaffordable. Additionally, experiences of homelessness are growing in Canada.  

While the 2022 budget falls short in responding to the urgent housing needs of those most impacted by the housing affordability and homelessness crisis, we analyze here the key housing investments that have been made, followed by a detailed outline of the amounts dedicated to specific housing initiatives. 

The overall housing investment figure 

Overall, this is a modest budget, with less spending than in the years before. A major portion of the budget is directed toward housing initiatives, with a total of $1.95 billion to be spent this fiscal year, and a spending promise of an additional $7.45 billion until 2027. There are also additional funds allocated towards Indigenous housing and infrastructure projects outlined in the budget. However, despite the fact that some of the housing investments are promising, they are unlikely to significantly improve housing affordability, adequacy and accessibility across Canada.  

Housing supply and affordable housing 

Arguably the most significant new funding initiative introduced in this budget is the investment in building new cooperative housing. The government plans to construct an estimated 6,000 new cooperative housing units, which is a major commitment to non-market housing options after decades of underfunding of the cooperative sector.  

The government has also committed to adjusting its existing programs to increase the affordable housing supply. Affordability targets for the Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) will be increased to 40% of the total number of projects funded, and the government will adopt a new definition for affordability under this program. These changes respond to the important findings of a recent report from the National Housing Council, indicating that only three per cent of units created through the program to date would be affordable to lower-income Canadians. It remains unclear whether, with these measures, the government will prioritize funding for deeply affordable rental housing projects with rents considerably lower than the 80% average market rate through its commitments under the RCFI.  

In addition, the government will continue its support for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), one of its most effective programs in generating deeply affordable housing. This investment is estimated to create 6,000 new housing units that will be affordable to lower-income Canadians, with a quarter directed towards projects prioritizing women. Unfortunately, the government did not make the RHI a permanent fixture, and it remains unclear whether this initiative will continue beyond 2024. 

The government also announced the new Housing Accelerator Fund, with a $4 billion commitment over five years. This new fund is aimed at supporting municipalities to increase their supply of housing by speeding up developments. The details of the program and requirements are yet to be developed. The government also plans to encourage the creation of secondary suites through its new Multi-generational Home Tax credit. This new fund has been allocated $5 million for this year, with increases in funding in year two and beyond. To stabilize housing for Canadians experiencing housing need, the budget continues to include funding for the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB). It includes an investment of $475 million in 2022-23 to cover a one-time $500 payment to households facing acute affordability challenges. To date, the CHB’s reach has been limited when considering the number of Canadians facing housing affordability challenges, and with its restrictive eligibility criteria, many Canadians will be unable to access this benefit.  

The government has also committed $150 million over two years to build affordable housing in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon. 

Finally, the government has indicated that it will conduct a review on the impact of increased commodification of housing, what it refers to as “housing as an asset class”, on renters and homeowners. Actions may be adopted following the review, which includes considerations for possible tax treatments of large corporations involved in speculation in the housing market. 

Indigenous housing

The government committed to funding Indigenous housing through an investment of $4 billion over seven years, including funds for First Nations housing on reserves, and for housing in Inuit and Métis Communities. While this is an important step, it may be insufficient to have a significant impact on enhancing housing adequacy for First Nations communities. The Assembly of First Nations estimates that the cost of upgrading First Nations’ housing stock will be much higher, at $44 billion.  

For years, Indigenous housing advocates have called on the federal government to establish an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous housing strategy, a recommendation that was once again formally made to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion through the National Housing Council’s recent report. The budget commits funding to develop this long-overdue strategy, however, some Indigenous advocates are disappointed that the strategy is not explicitly led by Indigenous communities themselves.   

Repairing and maintaining existing homes 

The budget allocates considerable funds to retrofitting programs. Several initiatives are detailed, including a new initiative called the Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program. The program will target up to six community housing neighbourhoods to pilot the Energiesprong model, an approach to conducting retrofitting through larger-scale neighbourhood initiatives. Additionally, the expansion of the Canada Greener Homes Loan Program will include low-interest loans and grants to providers of low-income housing. It is unclear whether the government plans to approach these retrofitting initiatives in tandem with capital repair projects, which combined can more effectively increase residents’ health and safety, while reducing emissions and preserving the existing housing stock. It is also important that these projects maintain housing affordability levels and ensure that existing residents are the main beneficiaries of these investments.   

Facilitating homeownership 

The budget includes further commitments to various programs and initiatives meant to support the path to homeownership. Rent-to-own projects continue to receive funding support. The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit has been doubled and the government has indicated that it will explore ways to make the program more flexible. A new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account was introduced with a total budget of $725 million, which will come into effect next year.    


Important gaps in the 2022 budget 

Overall, the budget includes commitments for several important housing initiatives. However, it falls short in making a major contribution to solving the affordable housing crisis or supporting the growing housing needs of low- to moderate-income Canadians. Missing are commitments to urgently tackle the housing adequacy crisis in long-term care homes, plans to repair and preserve the aging affordable housing stock, efforts to build affordable rental housing options, expanding supports to women experiencing hidden homelessness, and effective strategies to tackle housing financialization. Despite the government’s priority to support women and children who are survivors of domestic violence to access stable housing, the budget does not include specific investments to reach this goal.  

Additionally, the taxation policies outlined in the budget do not go far enough to effectively regulate domestic investors or curb speculative behaviours in the housing market.    

Disappointingly, the budget does not include a commitment to advancing housing as a human right, as legislated in its National Housing Strategy Act. A rights-based approach would ensure that programs and funding allocations, even in the current recessionary context, effectively respond to the needs of those most impacted by the housing crisis.  


The funding breakdown 

Here is a detailed outline of some of the 2022 federal budget’s housing commitments: 

Cooperative Housing Development Program 

Cooperative housing is an affordable, secure and inclusive housing option for many Canadians. The new Co-operative Housing Development Program will support the construction of 6,000 new cooperative housing units to be built over five years. This is the largest investment in cooperative housing by the federal government in 30 years. It shows the government’s renewed commitment to community-based non-market housing options. The 2022 budget allocates $500 million in funding and $1 billion in loans for the new program. The program will allocate $6 million this year, which is to be increased to $34 million next year and above $70 million in the following years. A portion of funding under this new stream will be redirected funds from the National Co-Investment Fund and the Rental Construction Financing Initiative. The program will be implemented in partnership with the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada.  

The Rapid Housing Initiative 

The 2022 budget invests $1.5 billion over two years to the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), with most of the funds earmarked for this fiscal year, and with at least 25 per cent dedicated to women-focused housing projects. This funding stream has proven to be an effective way to build deeply affordable, supportive housing and to urgently respond to the needs of vulnerable Canadians. While this funding is welcome and an important initiative, it is disappointing that the government has not committed to making it a permanent fixture with future funding commitments.  

The Housing Accelerator Fund 

The new Housing Accelerator Fund received considerable funding to allow the federal government to support municipalities to streamline and speed up the construction of housing projects. It received a budget of $4 billion over four years, to help create 100,000 new housing units, with the majority of funds flowing after the second year. The implementation plan of this fund is yet to be revealed. 

The National Co-Investment Fund 

No new money has been allocated to the National Co-Investment Fund (NCIF). However, the government will advance $2.9 billion from already provisioned funds, speeding up the delivery of planned investments so that all remaining funds will be spent by 2025-26. The government aims to accelerate the creation of up to 4,300 new housing units and the repair of up to 17,800 units through the NCIF. The budget did not specify whether this fund will be streamlined and how it intends to ensure that it can more effectively support affordable housing projects.  

Indigenous housing 

The budget commits to investing $4 billion over seven years in housing for Indigenous Communities. This includes $2.4 billion over five years to support First Nations housing on reserves, as well as funds to support housing in Inuit and Métis Communities. In addition, through a $300 million investment over five years, the government will co-develop and launch an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing strategy.  

The budget also outlines the government’s $75 million plan for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, with $4 million budgeted for this year. Through funding and partnership with Justice Canada and Natural Resources Canada, it plans to co-develop an action plan with Indigenous partners.  

Rental Construction Financing Initiative  

The budget outlines the government’s commitment to reform the Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) by enhancing affordability and energy efficiency requirements. It announced that eligible developers could be granted partial loan forgiveness for projects that significantly exceed these requirements. The budget announced that the RCFI’s goal will be to invest at least 40 per cent of its funds in affordable housing developments. The definition of affordability under this stream has also been revised. Affordability will now be defined as rents that are at or below 80 per cent of average market rent. However, in many cities across Canada where rents have skyrocketed, these affordability targets fail to create housing that is deeply affordable.  

Banning foreign investors 

In its attempt to curb rising prices of residential homes, the budget outlined the federal government’s plans to prohibit investors who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from buying residential homes for a two-year period. A list of exemptions is provided, including for international students or people residing in Canada on work permits. Given that a major portion of the speculative and investor-driven demand is from domestic players, it is doubtful that this two-year ban will have any significant impact on reducing residential housing prices.  


Reaching Home 

The Reaching Home stream is part of Canada’s main strategy to end homelessness, funding initiatives to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The government announced new funding starting in 2024 of $562.2 million over two years, which will go to Infrastructure Canada to continue the funding for Reaching Home, ensuring the continuity of this program.  

Canada Housing Benefit 

The Canada Housing Benefit received an additional $475 million to provide a one-time payment of $500 to recipients. The details of this one-time payment are yet to be released. Launched in 2020, the Canada Housing Benefit represents a joint funding commitment between federal and provincial governments of $4 billion over eight years.  

Multi-generational Home Tax Credit 

The government has proposed a new tax credit to provide up to $7,500 for homeowners to build a secondary suite to be used by a senior or a person with a disability. Next year, in the 2023-24 fiscal year, households can use this credit to claim a portion of their renovation and construction costs for secondary suites.  


  • New report reveals that the National Housing Strategy is falling short on creating affordable housing The National Housing Council’s report has revealed that the federal government’s National Housing Strategy is not on track to address the housing needs of communities in core housing need, namely people living in homelessness, Indigenous peoples, women and children fleeing domestic violence, and newcomers. The report outlines that – at the mid-way point of its implementation – the 10-year strategy has not increased affordable housing options, and estimates that only 3% of units created under the strategy’s rental construction fund could be considered affordable to low-income households. The Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, has said that he will look to see what changes could be made to the strategy.  
  • New National Housing Council report recommends actions for the federal government to address Indigenous housing issues The National Housing Council has released a new report with a set of recommendations to address critical gaps in the National Housing Strategy related to urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing. The report has been sent to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, with the Council‘s recommendations that the federal government should: 
    • Establish a national Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Body. 
    • Establish an interim mechanism to fund immediate needs. 
    • Provide immediate and sustained investment in urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing. 
    • Further engagement efforts to understand urban, rural and northern Indigenous homelessness. 


  • 2022 budget includes a rent cap for tenants, protections against evictions, and a tax cut for landlords In its 2022 budget, the Government of New Brunswick has announced that rent increases for 2022 will be capped at 3.8 per cent, with a possible extension of the cap beyond 2022. The government says the cap will be retroactive to January 1, 2022. However several concerns have been raised that the new policy requires legislation to be enforceable. The budget also indicates that tenants who are evicted without cause could be eligible for compensation and landlords may face a penalty. Additionally, the government will also introduce a 50 per cent cut to the property tax rate for apartment buildings and rental homes.  



  • Advocates call on the Government of Quebec to recognize the right to housing A group of over 500 organizations and individuals led by the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) are calling on the Government of Quebec to recognize the right to housing in its housing policy and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The group also called on the government to include substantial investments in social housing in its 2022 budget, and to implement new regulations to address renovictions, short-term rentals, and real estate speculation.


  • Cornwall is considering a new by-law to prevent renovictions On March 29, Cornwall City Council agreed to ask city staff to prepare a feasibility report for a new by-law that would limit the number of tenants that landlords who own multiple units can evict at one time to do renovations. This move from City Council is coming one month after a corporate landlord served all 92 units at an apartment complex with “renoviction” notices. Staff will consult the City’s legal team and present a report at the end of April


  • New stakeholder engagement report on homelessness has been released As part of the development of its homelessness strategy, the Government of Manitoba has released a new report summarizing feedback from community stakeholders on homelessness in the province, with a focus on nine themes: housing, income, other services, transitions, prevention, service delivery, non-profit funding, private sector’s role and accountability. The report is meant to help inform the government’s new homelessness strategy, to be released later in 2022. 


  • Provincial and municipal governments are at odds on how to address housing supply BC’s Housing Minister has said that the province is considering legislation to override municipalities that refuse to approve new social housing or housing developments near transit. The statement prompted a response from the Union of BC Municipalities, in the form of a controversial report, contesting the claim that the province’s housing crisis can be attributed to a shortage of housing supply. The exchange highlights an ongoing debate in the province on how to address the housing affordability crisis and which level of government holds responsibility. 


  • Minister asks for increased and more flexible federal funding for northern housing On March 22, the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and homelessness, Paulie Chinna, spoke at the federal government’s Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs. The Minister asked the Committee to consider various policies to support housing in northern Canada, including multi-year capital funding for new public housing, continued operational funding for public housing, and allowing local and territorial governments to have more control over how federal funds are spent.  


  • New federal funding for affordable housing in Nunavut announced The federal government will invest $45 million through the Rapid Housing Initiative to build 101 affordable homes across Iqaluit, Sanirajak, Kimmirut, Naujaat, Kugaaruk and Pond Inlet. This announcement follows a plea from Premier P.J. Akeeagok in January 2022, who noted that Nunavut needs 3,500 new affordable homes to help address the housing crisis.  

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