OTTAWA, May 21, 2004 – A moderate improvement in affordable housing
conditions in Canada between 1996 and 2001 was announced by Canada Mortgage
and Housing Corporation (CMHC) today.
The proportion of Canadian households experiencing core housing need
declined from 17.9 per cent in 1996 to 15.8 per cent in 2001, according to an
analysis of 2001 census data. The situation improved for both homeowners and
renters, with the greatest overall improvements in housing conditions in
Quebec, the Yukon Territory, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.
“The improvement in housing conditions reflects Canada’s healthy
economy,” said Douglas Stewart, Vice President, Policy and Planning. “Solid
employment and income growth, combined with low mortgage interest rates and
modest increases in shelter costs enabled more Canadians to meet their housing
However Mr. Stewart cautioned that, “Despite these recent improvements,
we must be mindful that 1.7 million households in Canada remain in core need.
Almost all of these households paid more than 30 per cent or more of their
income for shelters and more than one-third of these households paid 50 per
cent or more of their income for shelter in 2001, leaving them with limited
income for other necessities.”
The incidence of core housing need amongst certain groups such as
Aboriginal people living off-reserve (25 per cent) and recent immigrants
(33 per cent) remains considerably higher than for the general population.
Housing needs tend to be most acute in Canada’s largest cities and in the far
The core housing need data excludes Indian Reserves where the need for
housing to reduce overcrowding, replace substandard housing and meet the needs
of a growing population is well-documented.
Households are considered to be in core housing need if they live in
housing which is crowded or needs major repairs or costs 30 per cent or more
of before-tax household income, and if they are unable to find acceptable
housing locally for less than 30 per cent of income.
The information was released in the CMHC Research Highlight “2001 Census
Housing Series: Issue 2 – The Geography of Household Growth and Core Housing
Need” and “Issue 3 – The Adequacy, Suitability and Affordability of Canadian
Summary of Core Housing Need Statistics
In Issue 2, CMHC found that the total number of households in Canada grew
by 7.8 per cent between 1996 and 2001. The proportion of those households in
core housing need dropped from 17.9 to 15.8 per cent. As a result, the total
number of households in core housing need fell 4.7 per cent.
The percentage of households in housing need decreased in all provinces
and territories except Newfoundland and Labrador, where it was unchanged. The
number of households in need fell in all provinces and territories except
Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, where it increased slightly.
In Issue 3, CMHC assessed households against the three standards
underlying its comprehensive indicator of acceptable housing: dwelling
adequacy, suitability and affordability. Confirming past studies, it found
that most Canadian households (70 per cent) lived in acceptable housing in
2001, that is, in housing that met all three standards. The remaining 30 per
cent of households living in housing that was not acceptable were divided
between those with sufficient incomes to access acceptable housing and those
whose incomes were not sufficient. The 15.8 per cent in the latter group are
deemed by CMHC to be in core housing need.
To download a copy of the recently released Research Highlight “2001
Census Housing Series: Issue 2 – The Geography of Household Growth and Core
Housing Need: 1996:2001” and a companion Highlight “2001 Census Series: Issue
3 – The Adequacy, Suitability, and Affordability of Canadian Housing” visit
the CMHC Web site at: www.cmhc.ca or you can order the free publication from
CMHC by telephone at 1-800-668-2642.
OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HOUSING INITIATIVES
The Government of Canada’s range of housing programs reflects its
commitment to improving housing conditions and affordability on a number of
Between 2001 and 2007, the federal government will invest $1 billion to
increase the supply of affordable housing. Affordable Housing Agreements have
been signed with all provinces and territories and $276 million in funding for
some 12,000 units has already been committed. These agreements provide
provinces with the flexibility to tailor programs to meet their particular
affordable housing needs while creating affordable housing for low-to moderate-
The federal government annually spends approximately $2 billion primarily
to assist some 636,000 existing low and moderate-income households through
CMHC assisted housing programs, including ongoing financial support for non-
profit and cooperative housing projects.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s existing renovation programs
have been extended by $384 million over three years and will build on the
success of those programs to date. CMHC’s renovation programs include the
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance program, Home Adaptations for Seniors
Independence, the Emergency Repair Program and the Shelter Enhancement
program. These renovation programs help bring housing up to minimum health and
safety standards and have helped some 650,000 Canadian households most in need
CMHC also supports community-based partnerships for affordable housing.
In 2003, CMHC’s Centre for Public Private Partnerships in Housing facilitated
over 80 housing projects representing almost 6,000 units. More than 30,000
units have been produced since the Centre was established.
In addition, CMHC supports the creation of affordable housing through
research and demonstration activities.
CMHC facilitates access to low-cost financing of affordable housing
projects through mortgage loan insurance and securitization activities. CMHC
is the only mortgage insurance provider for rental housing projects.
For homeowners, CMHC made homeownership more affordable through a 15 per
cent reduction in homeowner premiums for mortgage loan insurance, effective
July 14, 2003.
In 2002/03, CMHC directed close to $105.5 million to on-reserve housing
programs. As well, CMHC is helping to build the capacity of First Nations to
address their own housing needs and manages a Housing Internship Initiative
for First Nations and Inuit Youth.
In addition, $405 million was allocated by the federal government for the
three-year extension of the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative to
help communities sustain their efforts to address homelessness.