Core housing need of private household

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on August 25, 2021.


Core housing need refers to whether a private household's housing falls below at least one of the indicator thresholds for housing adequacy, affordability or suitability, and would have to spend 30% or more of its total before-tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing that is acceptable (attains all three housing indicator thresholds).

Housing indicator thresholds are defined as follows:

Adequate housing is reported by their residents as not requiring any major repairs.

Affordable housing has shelter costs equal to less than 30% of total before-tax household income.

Suitable housing has enough bedrooms for the size and composition of resident households according to the National Occupancy Standard (NOS), conceived by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and provincial and territorial representatives.

Only private, non-farm, non-reserve and owner- or renter-households with incomes greater than zero and shelter-cost-to-income ratios less than 100% are assessed for 'core housing need.'

Non-family households with at least one maintainer aged 15 to 29 attending school are considered not to be in 'core housing need' regardless of their housing circumstances. Attending school is considered a transitional phase, and low incomes earned by student households are viewed as being a temporary condition.

Private household refers to a person or group of persons who occupy the same dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada or abroad. The household universe is divided into two sub-universes on the basis of whether the household is occupying a collective dwelling or a private dwelling. The latter is a private household.


The concept of 'core housing need' was originally defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The population of study for core housing need typically excludes private households living in a dwelling provided by the local government, First Nation or Indian band, on a reserve or located on an agricultural operation that is operated by a member of the household. Households that spend more than 100% of their before-tax income on shelter are also excluded from the population of study. The population of study should be specified.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

There are no relevant internationally recognized standards.


Relation to previous version

  • Core housing need of private household August 25, 2021 to current

    This is the current standard.

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