Canada's Rental Housing Crisis: A National Disaster That Demands a National Answer

With little fanfare, a rental housing crisis has gripped Canada. 42 per cent of young adults live with their parents and hundreds of thousands are on affordable housing waiting lists. It's time for Ottawa to step in, argues Denise Balkissoon.

"While the effect of home ownership on the economy is watched with X-ray vision, the rental market is pretty much ignored," says Balkissoon. "This despite the fact that a full third of Canadians are renters, many of them students and newcomers whose journey to stability is made difficult by crowded living situations and constant moving."

"Those who follow the rental market daily don’t hesitate to call the situation disastrous," sh explains. "Vacancy rates are dismal across the country. Only 10 per cent of the shiny new buildings that have gone up during the past decade’s housing boom were built expressly to house renters. Many older rental buildings have been demolished in favour of condominiums, while those that still stand have often been left to crumble."

"This impasse isn’t for lack of ideas, since everyone from builders [PDF] to academics [PDF] to actual renters have ideas about tax incentives [PDF], the best use of capital cost allowances and inclusionary zoning. There just isn’t any interest at the national level at finding a solution."

Full Story: The rental-housing shortage is now a national disaster. It needs Ottawa’s help

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