Rent Assistance Programs Are Available In Canada & Here's How To Apply In Each Province

Need some money to help with rent? 💰

Trending Staff Writer
A 'For Rent' sign. Right: An apartment building in Montreal.

A 'For Rent' sign. Right: An apartment building in Montreal.

If you're a renter living in Canada, you'll likely know the pain of the current housing market.

With the price of property climbing, and the cost of living continuing to increase too, many people are struggling with affordability.

However, there is some good news. There are several assistance programs in Canada to help eligible people struggling with the cost of housing, and they could help you save some money.

What rental assistance programs are there in Canada?

The Canada Housing Benefit is a program for Canadians who are spending a large amount of their monthly income on their housing, whether they're renters or homeowners.

This benefit is doled out on a provincial and territorial level, with each province having slightly different rules for who qualifies for it.

Who qualifies for rent assistance in Canada?

In general, if you're spending over 30% of your income on rent or over 50% on your home as an owner, you could qualify for the benefit. But, there are exceptions to this rule at a provincial level.

Each province has its own rules and regulations on how this rental assistance is doled out, as well as other qualifying factors that interact with the federal minimum.

Moreover, the Canada Housing Benefit even got a recent top-up by the federal government that is being administered by the Canada Revenue Agency — a unique exception to how things typically run.

With this top-up, low-income families (where households earn less than $35,000 and individuals earn less than $20,000) might be eligible for a one-off $500 payment.

What rent assistance programs are available in each province?

In B.C., the Canada - BC Housing Benefit is supposed to make rent more affordable. However, there's no way to apply for the program directly at the moment.

Instead, the benefit is given to certain priority groups chosen by non-profit housing providers or by BC Housing.

Once you're in the system, candidates have to complete a reapplication form every year to remain eligible.

In Alberta, it's a different system. Here, you can apply for rental assistance directly through a local housing provider if you have a qualifying income.

Heading east in Saskatchewan, all you need to do to apply for the same funding is go to the provincial government's website and fill out an application. Eligibility criteria applies.

In Manitoba, the housing benefit offers assistance to three vulnerable communities. These groups are youth transitioning out of the child welfare system, those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, and people living with addiction and mental health issues in designated housing buildings.

Ontario has a similar system, with select vulnerable groups — such as people with disabilities, Indigenous people, seniors and more — being the only ones who can apply via their local housing provider.

Quebec's system is slightly different and called the Rent Supplement. It is available to low-income households and aims to assist people to reduce their spending down to 25% of their income on housing. You can apply for it through your local housing bureau.

As we hit the east coast, New Brunswick's program is specifically for renters who make between $12,500 and $50,000 before taxes, among other things. You can apply for the benefit directly with the province.

You can also directly apply via the government in Nova Scotia. You may qualify if you spend over 30% of your income on rent or 50% of your income on the cost of owning a home.

In P.E.I., you can get government money to help pay for your housing if you're a part of a vulnerable group. It's given out based on need. If you qualify, you can apply for it online.

Newfoundland and Labrador are allocating funds based on an applicant's income as determined by the government. The province has no official application for this program, so when you apply for the Rental Housing Program, you could get that or the NL-Canada Housing Benefit.

As for the territories, in Yukon, you can apply for the benefit directly if you have less than $100,000 in assets and "have an annual household income [...] under the Affordable Household Income Limits for your eligible unit size."

In the Northwest Territories, if you spend more than 30% of your income on rent you're eligible to apply.

And finally, Nunavut doles out assistance to vulnerable groups through their housing authority.

Hopefully, with this rundown, you can be a bit more aware of what types of rental assistance programs are available to you.

It's also important to note that different provinces, and even municipalities, have other resources and programs for those who might be experiencing high housing costs.

So, check out your local government's website to get more information on specific options for you.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Tristan Wheeler
Trending Staff Writer
Tristan Wheeler is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on money and budgets and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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