Individuals experiencing homelessness or inadequate housing live in environments “conducive” to an epidemic, because they may not be able to access and use traditional services and standard resources. (Black Press Media File).

Housing challenges in Canada complicate efforts to fight COVID-19

Five per cent of all households deemed ‘not suitable’ while other dwellers face other challenges

New data from Statistics Canada, compiled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, confirms many Canadians live in inadequate or no housing which complicates efforts to fight the pandemic through social distancing and improved hygiene.

The report from Statistics Canada assessing health and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 situation in Canada finds housing conditions represent a “challenging environment” for many Canadians.

“Canadians living in smaller dwellings or unsuitable accommodations may face a particular challenge [when it comes to social isolation],” it reads. “These Canadians may have a higher degree of social interaction than those living in larger dwellings with more space or fewer household members, and they may have less space for their daily activities.”

RELATED: Victoria fills more than 100 motel rooms with homeless population

RELATED: Sidney opens shower facility for vulnerable population

Just under 30 per cent of Canadians live in apartment buildings and of those, more than one-third (35 per cent) live in an apartment building of at least five storeys. Most households living in apartments rent their dwellings.

The number of apartment dwellers varies across the country, with just under 40 per cent of Quebec residents living in apartments. Quebec has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country with 8,580 cases as of April 6.

About five per cent of all households in Canada — about 700,000 households — are not considered “suitable” according to the National Occupancy Standard developed by the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation. It considers a dwelling unsuitable if it does not have enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula not immune to homelessness

RELATED: Frontline volunteers bring handwashing stations to Pandora tent city and beyond

“This proportion was significantly higher in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” it reads. “In 2016, close to one-fifth (18 per cent) of the Indigenous population lived in housing that was considered not suitable for the number of people who lived there.”

The report says this finding highlights the “uniquely challenging situation” of Indigenous people in Canada when it comes accessing to health care services, clean water, food and supplies, as well as a higher incidence of poverty, among other barriers.

The report also highlights the challenges of multigenerational households, defined as households home to three or more generations. In 2016, 2.1 million Canadians lived in multigenerational households, with some population groups, such as Indigenous peoples, more likely to live in multigenerational households.

The report also touches on individuals with no living quarters in noting that people experiencing homelessness live in environments “conducive” to an epidemic, because they might not be able to access and use services and resources.

While estimates of the homeless population are difficult to produce, the 2016 Census counted more than 22,000 individuals living in shelters. Another 65,000 lived in service collective dwellings, such as rooming houses or motels and other establishments with temporary accommodation services.

According to Employment and Social Development Canada, close to 150,000 people use shelters every year across Canada.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vehicle ends up upside-down in creek along Happy Valley Road

One motorist in care of emergency services

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

Mayor Fred Haynes to meet with provincial, federal pest control industry representatives

Sidney fire responds to fewer but more severe calls during pandemic

Rise in severity linked to changes in routine during COVID-19 pandemic

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read