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Canada’s seniors facing a ‘perfect storm’: New FCM report (05/10/2015)

(Ottawa) A report released today by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) says Canada faces a seniors' housing crisis — one that will have serious consequences on everything from our economy to our communities. Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead lays out the perfect storm facing our seniors: rising rent costs and a doubling of the seniors' population just as federal support for social housing disappears.

"This report should be a wake-up call to any federal party that is serious about strengthening the economy. It presents striking evidence that the crisis in housing is real and it's growing. Municipalities are working on solutions to protect Canadian families but we need a federal partner to join us," said FCM president Raymond Louie.

The report explores the fundamental role housing and transit play in meeting the needs of our aging population and highlights how municipalities are leading the way in developing solutions. It also examines what the federal government must do to address this dramatic demographic shift so that our cities and communities can meet the housing needs-and ensure quality of life-for all Canadians.

Report at a glance:

Our population is aging rapidly

  • In 2011, there were nearly 5 million adults aged 65 and over in Canada. By 2036, that number is expected to double to 10.4 million.
  •  The City of Edmonton alone will see its population aged 80 and over increase by 266 per cent between 2006 and 2041.

Seniors struggle to find affordable housing

  • With limited and fixed incomes, close to 700,000 senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge.
  •  Rent at seniors' residences is 2.5 times the cost of rent on the private market.

Federal support for seniors housing is disappearing

  • The federal government's annual contribution of $1.6 billion for social housing is scheduled to expire over the next 20 years.
  • By 2040, federal support for seniors' social housing will disappear completely-just as the number of seniors is set to double.

Solutions do exist — municipalities are taking action

  • 93 per cent of seniors live at home and prefer to age in place, but there is no one-sized-fits all answer.
  • Local governments are already addressing this crisis on the ground, exploring solutions and delivering programs to address the high cost of rental housing and increase accessibility of public transit for seniors.
  • The federal government must play an active role in partnership with municipalities by renewing social housing agreements, providing incentives for the creation of affordable rental housing units and supporting programs that allow seniors to retrofit their homes so they can remain at home longer.

FCM is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.

Page Updated: 05/10/2015