Minimum wage workers are out of luck when it comes to finding affordable housing. According to a new report, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Canada is $22.40 per hour.
The study, conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), found that a one-bedroom isn’t much cheaper. The average wage needed to rent this type of unit is $20.20 per hour.
“A sole income earner working full time should be able to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment for their family in a country as rich as Canada,” the report states. “But in most Canadian cities, including Canada’s largest metropolitan areas of Toronto and Vancouver, there are no neighbourhoods where it is possible to afford a one- or two-bedroom unit on a single minimum wage.”
Only 24 out of 795 neighbourhoods in Canada offer affordable two bedrooms for minimum wage workers. That’s a mere three per cent. As for one bedrooms, they’re only affordable in nine per cent of Canadian neighbourhoods.
The CCPA based their study on data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), who defines affordable housing as those that cost less than 30 per cent of income.
In Toronto, affordable rentals are nonexistent for minimum-wage workers. At the current $14 per hour rate, they’d need to work 79 hours per week to make rent for a one bed or 96 hours for a two bed. Either that, or they’d need to make roughly $28 and $34, respectively, in order to pay for housing.
But Toronto’s rates aren't as high as Vancouver’s. The average minimum wage needed for a two bedroom in the West Coast city is $35. That’s a whopping $22.35 more than the current wage of $12.65.
“Across the country, skyrocketing rents for decent apartments show no signs of falling,” report author David Macdonald said in a press release. “Building more dedicated affordable housing would increase vacancy rates, cool rental prices and better accommodate the many people shut out of Canada’s overheated housing market.”
This latest study shines light on the fact that wages are not keeping up with the increased costs of housing. A previous survey found that a notable 44 per cent of Canadians spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. Torontonians overspend the most on housing, while Montreal and Vancouver come in second and third, proving the need for more affordable homes.