"A 2003 Stats Can report indicates that new immigrant
households report the weakest income gains and sharpest increases in low income
rates" (Source: Finding Room: Policy Options for a Canadian
Rental Housing Strategy, David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed. CUCS Press,
Centre for Urban and Community Studies. University of Toronto. 2004)
"Canada, the UK and the Netherlands are very similar.
Their housing systems, however, could not be more different. If an immigrant
requires housing assistance, for example, Canada has about 5% of its housing
stock in the social rented sector and has no shelter allowance. The UK has
20% of its national housing stock in the social rented sector and has a universal
shelter allowance (the Housing Benefit). The Netherlands has 40% of its housing
stock in the social rented sector and has a shelter allowance (not quite as
extensive as the UK Housing Benefit)" (Source: "Immigrants
And Access To Housing : How Welcome Are Newcomers to Canada?" David Hulchanski,
summary of keynote presentation to the "Housing and Neighbourhoods" workshop
at Metropolis Year II Conference, Montreal, Nov. 23-26, 1997)
The "Living on the Ragged Edges" study of immigrant
experience in West Central Toronto found that overall, 68% of participants
indicated that they had experienced some form of housing discrimination. This
represented 80% of all the Latin Americans in the study sample and 57% of
the Muslims. Source: "Living
on the Ragged Edges")
Level and source of income were the most noted forms
of housing discrimination, although the narratives revealed a strong indication
of racism and Islamophobia. (Source: "Living
On The Ragged Edges")
"The kind of segregation that results from income based
discrimination leads to differentiation in the rental markets into locations
of prime rental housing that is occupied primarily by moderate income white
residents and poor housing that is occupied by low-income and mostly black
often these two ‘locations’ are different not so much in terms of the actual
rent levels but rather in the quality of housing. The quality of the housing
is then confused in public attitudes with the living habits of the residents
and increasingly negative images are fostered about low income visible minority
tenants. In effect, low income black residents end up paying comparably higher
rents for poor quality housing and then pay a serious social price for the
negative images created by the locations in which they are forced to live." (Source: "Expert
report of M.S. Mwarigha on race, poverty and residential segregation")
"Clients are continuously being discriminated against
because of their accent, colour of skin, ethnicity, language, income and religion.
This puts them in a less favourable position in the housing market." (Source: "Living
On The Ragged Edges")
Transactions and mediation between landlords and
Refugee and immigrant trajectories in finding housing
are not always smooth.
Landlords perpetuate the systemic barriers faced by immigrants
Often, when a client calls to inquire about rental accommodation,
the accent and ability to speak English become grounds for screening. On other
occasions, clients are invited to see the rental accommodation. When the client
first meets the landlord, the landlord states, "We have just given the place
to somebody only a few minutes ago or they don’t want "immigrants". These
are clear examples of the ways in which landlords discriminate against clients.
Other grounds for screening include applications that
clients must fill in which are drafted by the landlord, letter of employment,
amount of income, source of income, guarantor and credit history.
Clients who have yet to find employment or are unemployed,
do not have a steady source of income, lack reference letters and cannot find
someone who will act as a uarantor are the most disadvantaged.
Newcomers who have personal financial resources also
find it difficult securing housing because they are discriminated against.
Others have owned houses in their country of origin,
but landlords do not take this into account.
The notion of "having credit" has a different meaning
in Canada and is new to immigrants and refugees.