It's not a secret that rent in Canada can be a little out of hand, especially if you live in the big cities. However, for minimum wage earners, it can be even harder, if not impossible to actually afford a decent apartment in most places across the country.
A new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) broke down how much the cost of rent for a one or two-bedroom apartment is in major cities across the country. The report, which was appropriately named "Unaccommodating," then looked at how many hours per week someone earning minimum wage would have to work in order to afford those apartments. The numbers are not great.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive city to rent in is Vancouver, BC. CCPA found that in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment, someone earning minimum wage would need to work a shocking 84 hours/week. That's more than double the average 40-hour workweek. For a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner would need to work 112 hours per week.
One thing to keep in mind is that this report used the BC minimum wage from October 2018, which was $12.65/hour. As of June 1, 2019, this has increased to $13.85/hour but with the average two-bedroom apartment costing $2,833 in June, this wage increase likely won't make the Vancouver market any more affordable.
While Vancouver is undoubtedly the most unaffordable place to rent, the report looked at the rest of Canada too. According to CCPA, here's how many hours someone making minimum wage would need to work to afford an apartment in these major Canadian cities.
- Calgary: one-bedroom - 56 hours/week, two-bedroom - 72 hours/week
- Edmonton: one-bedroom - 53 hours/week, two-bedroom - 66 hours/week
- Saskatoon: one-bedroom - 65 hours/week, two-bedroom - 78 hours/week
- Winnipeg: one-bedroom - 63 hours/week, two-bedroom - 81 hours/week
- Toronto: one-bedroom - 79 hours/week, two-bedroom - 96 hours/week
- Ottawa: one-bedroom - 61 hours/week, two-bedroom - 75 hours/week
- Montreal: one-bedroom - 47 hours/week, two-bedroom - 54 hours/week
- Quebec: one-bedroom - 47 hours/week, two-bedroom - 55 hours/week
- Moncton: one-bedroom - 48 hours/week, two-bedroom - 57 hours/week
- Halifax: one-bedroom - 61 hours/week, two-bedroom - 78 hours/week
- St. John's: one-bedroom - 55 hours/week, two-bedroom - 66 hours/week
To make matters even worse, the report also looked at how many neighbourhoods in those cities actually had affordable rental units. In most cases, the number was 0%. The only major cities where people have any hope of finding an affordable are Quebec, where 27% of neighbourhoods have affordable one-bedroom units, Montreal, where 18% of neighbourhoods are affordable, and Moncton, where only 8% of neighbourhoods are affordable.