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Black Canadians and the LGBTQ population have some of the lowest home ownership rates in Canada, according to new government studies that attempt to quantify how various groups are faring in the country’s housing market.

Only 48 per cent of the Black population and 47 per cent of the LGBTQ community lived in a home that was owned by a household member in 2018, according to Statistics Canada. In comparison, the national home ownership rate of the population was 73 per cent.

“We know that Black and LGBTQ2+ people in Canada have faced historic disadvantage and inequality of opportunities in many aspects of their lives,” said Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

“This data must prompt Canada to explore why we are seeing this inequality in housing for certain groups,” she said.

The commission worked with Statscan on the series of studies, which uses data from a 2018 countrywide survey of household characteristics and living arrangements. The report is designed to help the federal housing advocate promote the right to housing and monitor the impact of the country’s housing policies.

“The advocate’s role in engaging with these communities and understanding their lived experiences will be critical to finding answers and proposing solutions,” Ms. Landry said.

Jeff Randle, the lead author of the studies, said the goal of these studies was to provide a baseline on how various population groups experience housing in Canada. Statscan is analyzing other groups, including Indigenous, Latin American, Filipino, Korean and Arab populations.

Since the pandemic started, the country’s affordable housing problem has worsened. The national average home price is now 33 per cent higher over prepandemic days, and rental rates are climbing again after last year’s brief downturn. The real estate boom is taking place across the country, and not just the major cities; places that were once considered affordable are no longer affordable.

The study did not analyze why the Black population has one of the lowest home ownership rates in Canada. It found 74 per cent of South Asians lived in a home that was owned by a household member, while the percentage for the Chinese population was 85 per cent. The report also said seniors had a high home ownership rate of 78 per cent.

The report also found renters struggle more than homeowners with affordable and suitable housing. Over all, 9 per cent of Canadian residents (renters and homeowners) were living in a property that was considered unsuitable or where they paid more than 30 per cent of their pretax income. But nearly one-fifth of renters were in that situation while only 5 per cent of homeowners struggled with housing costs.

Statscan also found just more than one-quarter of renters spent more than 30 per cent of their gross income on shelter costs, while 15 per cent of homeowners shared that burden. Statscan said a higher percentage of seniors who rented spent more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter.

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