Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis

Understanding Shelter Affordability Issues: Towards a Better Policy Framework in Ontario

Understanding Shelter Affordability Issues: Towards a Better Policy Framework in Ontario

Housing affordability has become an increasingly serious problem for a growing number of Canadian households. Despite the growing public profile and media interest in this issue, there has been limited appreciation of the broad range of forces creating this problem and the complexity of their interaction. The objective of this CANCEA research was to identify and connect the concepts and factors that contribute to the affordability challenges of shelter in Ontario.
Highlights of this report:

  • Understanding the weaknesses of commonly-used affordability measures
  • Providing a new Shelter Consumption Affordability Ratio (SCAR index)
  • General concepts that can be used to understand the role and characteristics of shelter
  • Demonstration that Ontario affordability pressures are at an all-time high
    • Ontario SCAR index shows that affordability pressures have grown by 13.5% since 2006
    • At least 1.2 million Ontario households are under significant pressure with 840,000 households representing 26% of homeowners that have affordability pressures that are twice as high as the rest of the population
  • Why affordability is a significant public policy issue
  • Why affordability pressures are a symptom of significant economic and financial systemic risk