The right to adequate housing and shelter is recognized in the United Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Yet, recent data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation show that the number of urban households in Ontario in core housing need was over 725,000 as of 2014 and growing. “Core housing need” means people are spending more than 30% of household income for housing that is crowded and in need of major repairs, and who do not have access to acceptable housing.
Furthermore, over 170,000 households in Ontario were on waiting lists as of 2015 for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing, with average wait times of 4 years and increasing.
The situation is getting worse – between April 2016 and April 2017, the average house price in Ontario rose by 24% to $670,000, and the provincial average for renting a one-bedroom apartment was $12,000 per year in 2016.
Most social housing in Ontario was constructed between the mid-1960s and the mid-1990s. Private housing corporations, which are focused on making profit, are unable to guarantee sufficient construction and maintenance of acceptable and affordable housing. In 2009, Ontario’s Auditor General stated clearly that “social housing is a shared responsibility and the [Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing], in partnership with the federal and municipal governments, is accountable to Ontarians for providing sufficient and well maintained social housing across the province.”
It’s time for real action to confront Ontario’s provincial housing crisis!