Study shows one in 10 disabled Canadians live in unsuitable homes

Jun 17, 2022 | Canadian News, News

A study conducted by Statistics Canada shows people with disability are more likely to live in unaffordable and unsuitable homes.

The study on housing affordability for disabled people found many people with a disability living in places that needed major repairs as compared to all other Canadians.

The data found significant differences in housing experiences for men and women with disabilities.

Women with disabilities are more likely to live in owner-occupied dwellings (69.6 per cent), and less likely to live in unsuitable housing (over five per cent) and be in core housing needs (13.6 per cent) as compared to men with disabilities.

The StatCan report is a compilation of results of a 2016 Canadian census of disabled people aged 15 and older. Nearly six million disabled people were surveyed out of a total population of more than 28 million.

The study focuses on those living in private dwellings and used indicators such as tenure status of households, shelter costs, housing affordability and suitability, condition of dwelling, core housing need, and household living arrangements.

Over 1 in 10 (13 per cent) of people with physical disabilities revealed that they do not have the necessary aids and assistive devices that they need.

Such aids include assistive devices and features include access ramps, walk-in baths or showers, lift devices or elevators, lowered counters, and automatic doors.

The tenure status of a household refers to whether the household owns or rents its private dwelling.

Almost 70 per cent of disabled people lived in a private dwelling owned by a member of their household. Out of these people, over 37 per cent of people lived in a dwelling with a mortgage, and around 30 per cent lived in a dwelling without a mortgage.

Shelter costs refer to the monthly dwelling-related expenses paid by households, including mortgage or rent.

Disabled Canadians paid $970 as a median shelter cost. However, it is similar to the median shelter cost of $1,020 for all private households.

Housing affordability is derived using the shelter cost-to-income ratio, which refers to the proportion of average total income households spend on shelter costs.

The survey shows 25 per cent of the disabled people lived in households that spent more than 30 per cent of their total household income on shelter. This figure is higher by almost 20 per cent of the total population.

Housing suitability refers to whether the dwelling has enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household (as per the National Occupancy Standard (NOS)).

Nearly 40 hundred thousand disabled people lived in unsuitable housing. According to NOS, this means that there were not enough bedrooms in the dwellings to meet their needs.

Data on the condition of the dwelling, divided into needing regular maintenance only, needing minor repairs and needing major repairs, are used to provide some insight into whether the housing is habitable.

Nearly 10 per cent of all persons with disabilities lived in private dwellings that needed major repairs.

Core housing need considers whether the needs of the household in terms of affordability, suitability and the condition of the dwelling are being met and, if not, whether affordable rental housing is available that meets all these needs.

Around 16 per cent of persons with disabilities were living in households in core housing needs, which is nearly 10 per cent higher than the total population in core housing needs.

Household living arrangements refer to whether a person lives with another person or other people, and, if so, whether they are related to that person or those people.

Over 70 per cent of disabled people lived as part of one census-family household, which is below the rate for the total population at nearly 77 per cent.

Chloe Harbour, who worked as a volunteer with a disability coalition, said that it is not easy to find good accommodation for disabled people.

“Landowners do not easily rent their properties to disabled people. They struggle to find an affordable as well as a safe place to reside,” Harbour said.

“The rents are already high for every property but [disabled people] are paying more than normal tenants to secure a rented place.”