Housing and shelter costs

Housing and shelter costs data provide information to develop housing communities and projects. These data in conjunction with other Census Program topics such as activities of daily living and income and earnings are used to establish affordable, suitable and adequate housing targets and evaluate housing needs.

Examples of reported data usesFootnote1


At the federal government level, Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) relies on housing and shelter costs data to carry out its responsibilities under the National Housing Act. These data are used to determine core housing need and to produce Canadian crowding estimates (i.e., number of bedrooms). (Note: Crowding, the need for major repair and housing affordability are the three housing standards which make up the core housing need indicator.)

Core housing need is an important indicator for various government organizations. For example, it is used to monitor the status of ALL Aboard: Manitoba's Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion Strategy whose indicators are prescribed in Poverty Reduction Strategy Act regulations. Understanding core housing needs is also important for the work on the Tripartite First Nations Housing Memorandum of Understanding between the province of British Columbia, the federal government and First Nations.

Other examples of legislative uses at the provincial level that require these Census Program data include the Ontario Housing Policy Statement 2012, stipulated under the Ontario's Housing Services Act, 2011, and New Brunswick's Community Planning Act (section 77).

The City of Toronto uses these data in support of the Official Plan Housing Policy under Ontario's Planning Act, R.S.O. 2005, as well as for rental housing protection under Ontario's Rental Housing Protection Act.

Resource allocation and service delivery

Census Program data on this topic are used federally to allocate resources and/or deliver services related to Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan, housing for National Defence and the Canadian Forces, as well as ESDC's Persons with Disabilities Working Group activities, among others. Examples of uses at the provincial level which require Census Program data on housing for resource allocation include Société d'habitation du Québec : programme de logement à loyer modique and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation programs.

At the local level, these data inform programs for affordable housing development and repair (including Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program and CMHC's Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program). They are used for resource allocation in the development of multi-year plans and policy recommendations for affordable housing and homelessness (e.g., 10-year plans now required under Ontario legislation).

Planning, development, monitoring, evaluation and performance reports

Housing and shelter costs data, more specifically the cost of housing, repair and disrepair, are used by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for policy development. Other examples of data applications for this topic include by Health Canada for their population health surveillance plan, and by Public Safety Canada for emergency management planning and strategic policy research.

They are used for resource management and development in Nunavut and for the Consolidated Homelessness Prevention Program and Emergency Energy FundFootnote2 in Ontario. This Census Program topic with income and earnings and basic demographic data are used to support programs such as British Columbia's Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program, Homeless Outreach Program and Emergency Shelter Program.

Local governments look to results from this Census Program topic to inform land use policy, to attract and measure resident and business retention, for economic development, urban and regional planning, and community safety programming. Housing and shelter costs were cited by the Region of Waterloo in relation to regional program plans such as Homelessness to Housing Stability Strategy and the Community action plan for housing, and by the Region of Peel for the Long Term Affordability Housing Strategy and Peel Renovates program.

Research and other uses

Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation produces various research publications using these data such as 2006 Census Housing Series: The Housing Conditions of Canada's Seniors and A Profile of Condominiums in Canada, 1981-2006. These data are used by local governments to produce population and housing projections, and are inputs in socioeconomic models.

Aboriginal organizations use this Census Program topic to assess the incidence of crowding given the impact on education, health and social issues, determine affordable housing requirements, develop programs and policies for urban and rural Aboriginal people, conduct research, for program monitoring and research, information on housing costs, decision-making and service delivery, family support, in proposals for funding and in policy papers.

Housing and shelter costs data are consulted by service providers for planning and setting strategic priorities associated with health and community services. Academic organizations analyse them to identify priority regions, and use them for teaching, research and curriculum development. They are sought after by business for market research and site location research.

Tenant associations refer to these data in regards to rent increase applications. They are also used for advocacy related to rental supply, to understand and assess living conditions of various target groups (francophones, Acadians, lone-parent families, persons with disabilities) and to map broadband availability.

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