Published: Sat, July 20, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

New Report Finds Few Places Where Minimum Wage Workers Can Afford Housing

New Report Finds Few Places Where Minimum Wage Workers Can Afford Housing

That's still less than the nearby Grandin neighbourhood, west of the core, where you would have to earn $32.10 - the highest rental wage in the city - to afford a two-bedroom unit, which is nearly as much as the average rental wage of $33.70 in Toronto.

Across Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one-bedroom, according to the report, leaving Calgary on the high side of things for two-bedrooms but right on average for one-bedrooms (at $20.98 an hour).

The rental wage neighbourhood maps in this report and the accompanying online database show a common reality known to all renters, which is that it is more expensive to live downtown - close to most jobs - than in outlying areas that necessitate longer commutes and often the purchase of a auto.

In the new study, says that if you earn minimum wage and live in Vancouver, you will need to work 112 hours a week to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment.

"The Canada Housing Benefit is a good short-term solution as we wait 10 years for the rental housing market to build up and then hopefully increase vacancy rates and also stabilize rents", Macdonald said. Again, this is the income you would need to bring home to be able to afford an average-priced two-bedroom apartment.

In Toronto, for example, a person needs to make $33.70/h to afford an average two-bedroom - or work 96 hours a week at the provincial minimum wage rate. With two-bedroom units being more common, it is easier to determine the rental wage in more neighbourhoods outside of Canada's biggest cities.

The report defines "affordable" rent as 30 per cent or less of a renter's pre-tax income, the same cut-off used by federal officials.

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While there has been some uptick in rental construction over the last decade - mostly in the luxury rental market, Macdonald said - the Liberals hope to use billions in federal funding to help finance more than 100,000 new rental units.

On average, the study finds a Montrealer needs a $16/hour wage or 54 hours of minimum wage labour for a two-bedroom apartment to be affordable.

Despite being similar to the national average, Macdonald said in none of Guelph's four neighbourhoods can a full-time minimum wage worker afford the average one-bedroom apartment, and much less a two-bedroom apartment which is what the study focused on.

Study author David Macdonald writes that Montreal is something of an exception because "more affordable neighbourhoods continue to exist on the island itself and public transit is abundant". Though the increase is a result of many factors, some of which differ from province to province, one of the most important contributors was the collapse of new purpose-built rental construction (apartment buildings).

Condos are also more expensive: In the Vancouver area, the average two-bedroom condo rented for more than $2,000 a month a year ago, compared with $1,649 for a two-bedroom apartment. However he talked about the income is potentially no longer ample for low-income renters to shut the affordability hole. Its design will be tailored to each province.

According to the report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), that wage is $26.97 an hour.

The report arrives as Canada's rental market is getting tighter.

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