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How is Rent-Geared-to-Income in Ontario changing in 2020?
Published on 13/07/2020
What housing and income security advocates need to know
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many households have experienced a sudden, drastic loss of employment income and/or increased living costs. In response to this, the federal and provincial governments have introduced time-limited income security measures to help reduce the hardships that Ontarians are facing. Together, the sudden loss of income combined with temporary income boosts could be causing significant income volatility for households.
For tenants living in Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing, income fluctuations could also mean rent fluctuations, as the amount of rent they pay is directly related to their income.
In addition, changes to RGI rent calculations were already underway before the COVID-19 crisis. Since the beginning of July 2020, municipal housing service managers can – but don’t have to – start using a new method of calculating RGI rents.
This uncertainty about how rents will be calculated paired with the income volatility because of COVID-19 means that RGI tenants don’t know how much their rent will be in the coming months.
In this backgrounder, we explore how COVID-19 emergency benefits and pre-existing changes to RGI calculations will affect RGI tenants in Ontario and what could be done to help them navigate this uncertainty.