Canadian housing

Who is eligible for the Canada housing benefit?

(Last Updated On: September 19, 2023)

As a student pursuing education in Canada, financial stability is paramount to your academic journey. Fortunately, an exciting opportunity has emerged for eligible students to receive a $500 rent top-up from the federal government, specifically tailored to address housing challenges. This one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit aims to alleviate some of the burdens associated with housing costs. Let’s delve into the details of this initiative and how it can benefit you.

Housing benefit eligibility

Application process and eligibility criteria

Students now have the chance to apply for the $500 rent top-up, which is based on their 2021 income. The application period is open until March 31 and can be accessed through the Canada Revenue Agency’s MyAccount service, streamlining the process for convenient submissions.

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To qualify for this benefit, certain eligibility criteria must be met:

  1. Income threshold: Students must have had an adjusted net income of $20,000 or less for individuals, or $35,000 or less for families in 2021.
  2. Rent ratio: Rent must account for more than 30 percent of the student’s 2021 income.
  3. Residency and age: Students must be at least 15 years old as of December 1, 2022, have Canada as their principal residence, and be a Canadian resident for tax purposes. Additionally, they should have filed their 2021 tax return.
  4. Household composition: Students are typically considered as individuals. However, exceptions apply if they are married or in a common-law relationship, received a Canada Child Benefit for a child under 18 years old, or claimed deductions for specific family members in their 2021 tax return.
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Application process details

During the application process, students are required to provide certain information:

  1. Principal residence information: Students must state their principal residence addresses in Canada for 2022.
  2. Rent paid: The total rent paid in 2022 for these residences needs to be accurately documented.
  3. Landlord contact: Information about the people to whom the rent was paid, including their names and contact details, is necessary for verification.

Political agreement and future prospects

This $500 rent top-up is a result of an agreement reached in March 2022 between the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party. As part of this agreement, the Liberals committed to supporting key NDP initiatives, including the Canada Housing Benefit top-up, in exchange for NDP support on various matters, including budget-related issues. Importantly, the agreement also stipulates that the benefit will be renewed in the coming years if cost of living challenges persist.

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Housing market challenges

This initiative comes at a time when housing costs, especially in regions like London, have surged. Rent in London has seen an alarming 36 percent increase over the past year, making affordable housing a pressing concern. As of November 2022, the average one-bedroom apartment is renting for $1,818 per month, while a two-bedroom unit costs $2,161. Students, in particular, have expressed difficulties in finding apartments under $1,000 due to these soaring costs.

Inflation impact

Simultaneously, students are also grappling with the effects of inflation, as the inflation rate reached 6.3 percent year-over-year in December 2022. This economic challenge further underscores the need for financial support mechanisms, such as the Canada Housing Benefit top-up.

The $500 rent top-up under the Canada Housing Benefit serves as a lifeline for eligible students, aiming to alleviate the financial strain posed by rising housing costs and inflation. By understanding the eligibility criteria and application process, students can take advantage of this opportunity to secure additional financial support during their educational journey.

As part of a broader commitment to address housing challenges, this benefit reflects the collaborative efforts of Canadian political parties to enhance the well-being of students and citizens alike.

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