Over 60% of Indian international students live in unsuitable housing in Brampton, StatCan says


Published May 22, 2024 at 1:35 pm

Over 60% of Indian international students live in unsuitable housing in Brampton, StatCan says

More than half of Indian international students who call Brampton home are living in subpar housing according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.

The data comes from a report on housing for international students across Canadian municipalities and found learners from other countries were more likely to live in unsuitable housing than Canadian-born students, according to 2021 numbers.

In the top ten municipalities with the largest number of international students, 25 to 63 per cent of them were living in what’s considered “unsuitable housing” under the National Occupancy Standard – a measure of whether a dwelling has enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household.

By comparison, the rate of students living in unsuitable housing was 13 to 45 percentage points lower among Canadian-born students aged 18 to 24.

One of the requirements for suitable housing is that adults should have their own bedroom, if they are not part of a couple.

The study, which was based on the most recent census data, found country of origin accounted for most of the variation between municipalities in rates of housing suitability among international students.

Notably, Indian students were more likely to live in unsuitable housing than students from other countries.

In Brampton and Surrey, B.C., the municipalities with the largest proportions of Indian students, more than 60 per cent of international students were living in unsuitable housing.

Meanwhile, only 16.6 per cent of Canadian-born students in Surrey lived in housing considered unsuitable by the statistics agency.

A case of more than two dozen renters packed into a single Brampton rental is one example Mayor Patrick Brown has shared to highlight the housing struggles international students face in Canada. The city has also introduced a Residential Rental Licensing Pilot project aimed at improving protections for renters and cut down on an estimated 16,000 illegal units in Brampton.

But the number of international students has only increased since the report data was collected, leading to sweeping changes to  provincial and federal regulations which include a ban on international student applications to all private career colleges in Ontario, and a more than doubling of the amount of money international students are required to have in their bank accounts before coming to Canada, and a two-year cap on study permits to curb international student enrolments.

In response to the student housing crunch in Brampton, Algoma University is readying to open a new residence expected to provide accommodations for more than 500 students.

Ontario had more than 444,000 international students last year making up 54 per cent of all international students in all of Canada – more than all other provinces and territories combined.

That sharp rise in international students has raised concerns about the added pressure placed on the housing market, as well as the affordability challenges students face themselves.

In 2023, there were more than one million international students in Canada, a 29 per cent increase from the previous year.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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