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Rent prices reach new heights: Crisis hits Canada's housing market
Renters across Canada are challenged with finding affordable housing options as rental rates surge relentlessly. Experts suggest that the situation will unlikely improve soon, worsening the housing crisis that has gripped the nation.
In 2022, the Government of Ontario committed to building 1.5 million new homes by 2031 to help mitigate the crisis, a goal requiring multiple collaborations and strategies to deliver this goal.
According to the latest government budget tabled by Finance Minister Peter Belthfalvy, achieving the target within a decade is a considerable challenge for the province, given the need to construct 150,000 homes annually. 
Tony Irwin, President and CEO of the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario, believes that a comprehensive approach to housing over the next decade is needed to ensure economic stability and growth of the province.
In a media release from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Irwin stated, “We need more housing options, including more purpose-built rental housing, a more streamlined process for building them, and more skilled trades workers to build them.”
Data from Rentals.ca reveals that the average rent for new listings has surged by nearly 10 per cent from last year, hitting a record high of $2,117 last month, placing an enormous burden on Canadians searching for a home.
Harshita Ketheeswaran, a York University student and renter in Toronto, articulates her housing struggle while maintaining other expenses.
“I’m working to pay off my tuition and basic necessities,” she said. “Finding an affordable place to live close to work is a task that hinders my finances.”
Housing experts attribute the crisis to various factors, including:
- Affordable housing scarcity
- Increasing construction costs
- Escalating demand in urban areas
- COVID-19 pandemic—remote work opportunities drove an influx of individuals into cities, simultaneously increasing rent pressures.
According to the 2021 Canadian Rental Housing Index, Ontario houses over 1.7 million renters, a 10 per cent increase since 2016.
Meanwhile, average rental prices in the province rose 27 per cent between 2016 and 2021, with the largest spikes spanning Halton, York and Peel.
Ketheeswaran adds, “I seldom see one-bedroom apartment listings for $1,200 a month now, and many renters like me are struggling to make ends meet since housing costs consume a large portion of their income.”
Immediate action is imperative to address the affordability and availability of rental housing. Renters’ stories and warnings from experts, serve as a reminder for policymakers to prioritize solutions for affordable housing, ensuring a brighter future for Canadians.

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