Rent Assistance Programs Are Available In Canada & Here’s How To Apply In Each Province
If you’re a renter living in Canada, you probably know the pain of the current housing market.
As real estate prices rise and the cost of living continues to rise, many people are struggling with affordability.
However, there is some good news. There are several assistance programs in Canada that help beneficiaries struggling with housing costs, and they could help you save some money.
What rental assistance programs are there in Canada?
The Canada Housing Benefit is a program for Canadians who spend a large portion of their monthly income on their housing, whether they are renters or homeowners.
This achievement is distributed at the province and territory levels, with each province having slightly different rules for who qualifies for it.
Who is Eligible for Rent Assistance in Canada?
In general, if you are an owner and spend over 30% of your income on rent or over 50% on your home, you could be eligible for the benefit. However, there are exceptions to this rule at the state level.
Each province has its own rules and regulations for how this rental support is distributed, as well as other qualifying factors that interact with the federal minimum.
Moreover, Canada’s housing benefit has recently even been boosted by the federal government, which is administered by the Canadian Revenue Agency – a unique exception to how things normally work.
With that top-up, low-income families (where households earn less than $35,000 and individuals less than $20,000) could be eligible for a one-time payment of $500.
Which rental subsidy programs are there in the individual federal states?
In BC, the Canada – BC Housing Benefit aims to make rent more affordable. However, direct application for the program is currently not possible.
Instead, the benefit is granted to specific priority groups selected by non-profit housing providers or BC Housing.
Once in the system, candidates must complete a renewed application form each year to remain eligible.
In Alberta it’s a different system. If you have an eligible income, you can apply for the rent subsidy here directly from a local housing provider.
If you’re heading east in Saskatchewan, all you have to do is go to the provincial government’s website and fill out an application to apply for the same funding. The admission criteria apply.
In Manitoba, the housing benefit provides assistance to three vulnerable communities. These groups are youth dropping out of the child welfare system, people affected or at risk of homelessness, and people living with addiction and mental health problems in designated residential buildings.
Ontario has a similar system, with select vulnerable groups — such as people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, seniors and more — being the only ones who can apply through their local housing provider.
The system in Quebec is slightly different and is called the Rent Supplement. It is available to low-income households and aims to help people reduce their housing expenses to 25% of their income. You can apply for this at your responsible housing office.
On the East Coast, New Brunswick’s program specifically targets renters earning between $12,500 and $50,000 before taxes. You can apply for the benefit directly with the province.
You can also apply directly through the Nova Scotia government. You can qualify if you spend more than 30% of your income on rent or 50% of your income on home ownership expenses.
In PEI you can get government money to pay for your housing if you are part of a vulnerable group. It will be given as needed. If you qualify, you can apply for it online.
Newfoundland and Labrador allocates funds based on an applicant’s income as determined by the government. The province has no official application for this program. So if you apply for the rental housing program you can get this or the NL Canada housing benefit.
As for the territories, in the Yukon you can claim the benefit directly if you have less than $100,000 in assets and “have an annual household income […] below the affordable household income limits for your eligible dwelling unit size.”
If you spend more than 30% of your income on rent in the Northwest Territories, you can apply.
Finally, Nunavut provides support to vulnerable groups through its housing authority.
Hopefully, with this overview, you can get a little more clarity on the types of rental assistance programs available to you.
It’s also important to note that different provinces and even municipalities have different resources and programs for those who may be facing high housing costs.
So, visit your local government’s website for more information on options specific to you.
The cover image of this article was used for illustration purposes only.