Publications, opinions, and speeches

Policy backgrounder

How is Rent-Geared-to-Income in Ontario changing in 2020?

Published on 13/07/2020

Important note: The information on this page is out of date and is only available for archival purposes.

Please note that this backgrounder does not reflect the policy changes outlined in Bill 204, which was introduced in September 2020. One of the measures included in Bill 204 prevents rents from increasing for tenants in Rent-Geared-to-Income units in 2021. Some of the information in the backgrounder will be inaccurate in light of Bill 204.

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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.

Download the backgrounder

[Available for archival purposes]


Housing and homelessness, Income security


This backgrounder explores how COVID-19 emergency benefits and pre-existing changes to RGI calculations will affect RGI tenants in Ontario.