Working with Statistics Canada
In 2022–2023, the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate continued to work with Statistics Canada to obtain data and statistical interpretation to inform the Advocate’s research and review of systemic housing issues. During the year, this collaboration produced 13 fact sheets to complete the series, Housing Experiences in Canada.
Last year was significant as well because it saw Statistics Canada’s release of the 2021 Census data, including the Housing Data release on September 21, 2022.
The fact sheets and Census data continue to paint a picture of disproportionate levels of housing need across disadvantaged groups. While the collection of housing data has improved, our work with Statistics Canada has highlighted significant ongoing data gaps to be able to accurately assess progress, or the lack thereof, towards implementing the right to adequate housing in Canada.
To begin to address these gaps, the Office has proposed improvements to inform the design of the 2026 Census questionnaire. In January 2023, the Office and Statistics Canada also launched the Right to Adequate Housing Data, Concepts and Indicators Working Group. This new entity will:
- Propose solutions to address the gaps in the current Canadian data landscape related to the right to adequate housing;
- Identify indicators for measuring the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing; and
- Promote the widespread adoption of a human rights-based approach to housing data, in line with the legislative requirements of the National Housing Strategy Act.
Data sharing with 211
Last year, we also continued to develop a data-sharing project with 211 to help build a more complete picture of systemic housing issues in Canada. 211 helps people navigate community services, including assistance with housing or homelessness related issues.
We are working with 211 to capture the data from calls they receive that touch on the systemic issues we ask people about when they make a submission. This gives us an even broader picture of housing and homelessness needs across Canada.
- 211 reported that last year, they noticed a shift in the help that people needed. They identified they saw an increase in people calling for help with eviction, foreclosure or loss of their housing, and for not having a place to live or being homeless.
- This spike in people losing their housing or becoming homeless was met with a spike in unmet needs. Frequently, 211 reported it was not possible to refer people for help with these issues because of a lack of community resources, shelter spaces, or other forms of assistance.