Migrants bear the brunt of worsening housing crisis in Canada
A challenge of several decades
Meanwhile, the surge in rents is out of sync with declining trends in household incomes, leading to significant affordability issues for the poorest tenants, particularly affecting migrants and refugees who are among the most vulnerable in the rental housing market.
The number of households waiting for social housing continues to grow – it currently stands at over 23,000, according to the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM), greatly exceeding the total number of units available in Montreal’s social housing stock (around 21,000 HLMs managed by the OMHM) – and just as many people can no longer find adequate housing in the Quebec metropolis.
Since the early 2000s, the socio-economic integration of migrants has become more difficult in Canada’s large cities, mainly due to the lack of recognition of credentials and previous experience in the labor market by migrants. Canadian employers, resulting in low entry wages. migrants face many obstacles, including difficulty in accessing affordable housing. Most migrant households spend a significant portion of their income on rent and tend to experience more precarious housing conditions than native-born residents, sometimes long after arrival.
Migrants are not equally vulnerable to the financialization of housing – recent migrants are among the most at risk, experiencing acute financial pressure with housing, especially in Montreal. Likewise, when looking at immigration status, refugees are the most vulnerable category compared to families or migrant workers.
In addition to low income, migrants face other specific obstacles in terms of housing. In a complex real estate market where vacancy rates are very low, finding housing is a challenge for everyone. For migrants and visible minorities, there are additional challenges such as lack of knowledge about the local housing market and tenants’ rights, language barriers, lack of credit history and / or financial guarantors and various forms of discrimination.