Greater Montreal Area

The Low End of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor defines affordability in the rental market based on the city where the housing is located, and on the median incomes and size of renter families. As a result, the LEMR Housing Monitor presents thresholds for affordable rent which vary by region and household composition.  

Using data obtained from Statistics Canada, the graphs below demonstrate that rents have become increasingly unaffordable, despite rising incomes. However, this effect is not uniform across regions or unit sizes. This analysis highlights who, and where, the affordability crisis is hitting the hardest. 

The changing thresholds shown in Figure 1 below reflect increasing incomes of renter families and single individuals over this period. In other words, as a family’s income rises, higher rents become increasingly affordable to them.

A set of line charts showing change in affordable rent thresholds in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. Each city shows a gradual increase between 2006 and 2021 in affordable rent thresholds.

Figure 2 shows the change in the percentage of rental units that meet these affordability thresholds over time in each region.   

A set of six line charts showing change in affordable rental units over time in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. Each city shows a decrease between 2006 and 2021 in the percentage of market units that are affordable for most unit sizes. This decrease is especially pronounced in Toronto.

Whereas some regions like Calgary and Montreal show little change in affordability over time, the effect is quite strong in other areas.  

The steepest challenges are faced by single individuals in Toronto and Vancouver, followed by Halifax. In these cities, individuals with median incomes can only afford a very small percentage of studio or 1-bedroom units. Toronto also shows the clearest decline in affordability over time, with the share of rental units affordable to median incomes being relatively low to start with and dropping across all family types. 

Read our Data Definitions to learn how the LEMR Housing Monitor defines affordability.

Greater Montreal Area Data Map

A centralized data mapping tool that presents critical information on the location and characteristics of the affordable “low-end” of market rental housing stock in the Greater Montreal Area.

Freedom of Information (FOI) laws are meant to ensure that the public has access to records that belong to the public. This legislation is important for maintaining democracy and accountability, as it allows citizens to know how institutions are performing and how decisions that affect them are made. Anyone has the right to submit an FOI request and these requests are often used to obtain data on police services, court proceedings, property information, and more.

When developing the Low-End of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor, we used FOI requests to obtain eviction proceeding records including the date, rental address, reason for eviction, and result. It is important to note that these records only include eviction orders that have been registered with a Landlord and Tenant Board (or equivalent), usually because of a legal dispute. Evictions that took place without initiating a formal legal proceeding are not included in these records.

Here we break down some of the challenges we experienced in collecting data through FOI requests, and the implications for knowledge building.

Factors Affecting Timing 

On average, it took 151.2 days to receive eviction order data from each province included in the LEMR Housing Monitor, except for Quebec which did not provide any records despite repeated requests. 

Number of days between application and receipt of data

ProvinceNumber of Days
Alberta154 days
British Columbia59 days
Manitoba88 days
Nova Scotia197 days
Ontario258 days
QuebecNo data received

Several factors may have contributed to the length of time taken to receive evictions data. First, in all provinces, it was not clear how, or which, data is being stored. As a result, data requests were negotiated over several weeks or months via FOI administrators until the request was modified to facilitate sharing of a dataset that the governing body felt they could provide. In the case of Quebec, two requests were made and both were denied without a revision process, resulting in no eviction-related data being available for the Greater Montreal Area map.

Timelines also varied because of extension requests. Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia all formally requested multiple extensions. Additional delays were the result of administrative difficulties, including payments being sent to the wrong department, as in Ontario, and amendments to agreements being requested after payment was received, as in Manitoba. 

Data Formats and Redaction

Despite similar requests made in all provinces, the data that were provided varied. The most common modification requested by the governing bodies was to redact, or partially redact, location information. As a result, in Manitoba and British Columbia only partial postal code information was provided for each record. In Alberta, only the municipality name was provided. In Nova Scotia, records varied in having a partial postal code, a municipality name, or no location information whatsoever, resulting in missing data on the Halifax map. 

An additional barrier was that the data formats varied, making it difficult to process and evaluate. Alberta and Manitoba both provided data tables saved as lengthy PDF documents. In Alberta, this document also contained pages where colour was shaded out (light grey text on a white background) making the document difficult to read. Overcoming these challenges required additional processing time after data were received in order to be useful for the LEMR Housing Monitor.


The challenges described above are not unique to FOI requests and can have serious implications for knowledge building. For developing the LEMR Housing Monitor, long wait times and lack of location information meant that an analysis of localized, short-term, emerging trends in eviction filings could not be undertaken. 

While FOI requests have provided valuable information about evictions for the LEMR Housing Monitor, such as information on the frequency of eviction orders over time, addressing these systemic issues within the FOI process would facilitate greater opportunities for more nuanced analysis.