Canada’s international students often face inadequate housing, according to Statistics Canada

Unsuitable housing common among Canada’s international students: Statistics Canada

“Living in unsuitable housing conditions is a harsh reality many international students in Canada face, with Indian students bearing the brunt of this issue more than any other source country. According to Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census of Population, the disparity in housing conditions between international and Canadian-born students is stark and concerning.

## The Struggle of International Students

In Canada’s top ten municipalities with the highest number of international students, a significant percentage of these students were found to be living in unsuitable housing. This ranged from 25% to 63%, which is notably higher compared to Canadian-born students in the same age group. Particularly, students from India seemed to face the most challenges in finding suitable housing, especially in municipalities like Brampton and Surrey, where the proportions of those living in unsuitable conditions were alarmingly high.

## A Closer Look at the Housing Crisis

The criteria for suitable housing, as per the National Occupancy Standard, are clear in defining the basic requirements for a habitable living space. However, many international students in cities like Toronto have shared their struggles of having to cope with overcrowded living arrangements, limited amenities, and a severe shortage of rental options. This situation is exacerbated by Canada’s record low rental vacancy rate of 1.5% in 2023, making it even more challenging for students to secure suitable accommodations.

## Addressing the Root Cause

While India and China remain the top two source countries for international students in Canada, the disparity in their housing conditions is evident. Indian students, in particular, seem to face higher rates of unsuitable housing compared to their Chinese counterparts. This raises questions about the support systems in place for international students and the need for more comprehensive solutions to address this issue.

As the number of international students continues to rise in Canada, there is a pressing need to address the housing crisis they face. The data from the 2021 Census is a wake-up call to policymakers, educational institutions, and communities to prioritize the well-being of these students and ensure they have access to safe and affordable housing options. Ultimately, providing adequate housing for international students is not just a matter of convenience but a fundamental aspect of ensuring their success and well-being during their time in Canada.

In a country known for its diversity and inclusivity, it is crucial to extend the same support and opportunities to international students who contribute to the richness of our communities. By addressing the challenges they face in finding suitable housing, we can create a more welcoming and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their background or origin. Now is the time to take action and ensure that every student in Canada has a safe and comfortable place to call home.”



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