Rural Housing Opportunities

Rural Housing Information System

Currently, in rural Ontario, there is a shortage of proper housing data. The lack of adequate data is a barrier to the planning and construction of affordable housing development in the region. Through the Housing Supply Challenge, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) is partnering with the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) and tech company, Itergy, to build a streamlined digital tool to fill the housing information gap: the Rural Housing Information System.

This locally driven tool will support municipalities, developers, and homebuilders in the planning and development of affordable housing. It also aims to support not for profit builders in overcoming information barriers regarding housing in rural communities. ROI and EOWC are building this tool by consolidating the information that is available through eastern Ontario municipalities’ existing resources. By having a consolidated effort for data acquisition, the RHIS can implement a streamlined approach to enhance the data collected in a centralize, digital platform. In the medium to long-term, this information will be used to appropriately strategize housing development plans, bringing appropriate affordable housing to the region and keep residents in their communities of choice.

The RHIS will harness data through an easy-to-use public dashboard, that will include:

  • demographic trends (population, growth, age and income)
  • average home and market rental information
  • available zoned land
  • building costs (development charges and parkland fees)
  • available incentives like municipal grants or loans
  • housing assets and amenities
  • and local organizations available for collaboration.

This project is funded through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Housing Supply Challenge, with rollout of the tool expected for the Spring of 2023.

Assessing the economic development implications of the pandemic on Ontario’s rural communities, from population growth to housing and more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in rural migration, demand for rural housing and rural house prices. The trend is not unique to Ontario and there are reports of similar trends occurring across Canada and the United States. This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss and better understand these trends and their economic development implications.

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“The tool aims to provide local, reliable, salient, and current rural data to assist municipalities and proponents with the creation of affordable housing solutions,” said Marcia Wallace CAO, Prince Edward County and EOWC project co-lead.

“The COVID pandemic has led to significant increases in rural migration, demand for rural housing and a rural housing crisis,” said ROI Executive Director Ellen Sinclair. “What has been a long standing concern in large urban centres is quickly becoming a concern for rural areas.”

“This digital tool is anticipated to be a game changer and incredibly useful for rural municipalities to find and secure affordable housing opportunities more easily,” said Brenda Orchard, Lennox and Addington CAO and EOWC housing project co-lead.

Who's Listening

Rural Ontario Institute

Upcoming Activities & Events

The development of this tool will require input from municipalities and other stakeholders. This input will be critical for ensuring that the tool functions as intended in addressing the rural housing information gap.

Sept. 14-16

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Eastern Ontario Municipal Conference

In person conference in Cornwall.

Oct. 18

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Rural talks to rural

In person conference in Brussels, ON.

Nov. 16-18

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Northern Directions

In person conference in North Bay, ON.

Nov. 22

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National Housing Day Symposium

Nov 22, 2022, National Housing Day Symposium hosted by the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association.

Jan. 22-24

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ROMA Annual General Meeting

January 2023, in person conference in Toronto ON.

Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more about the project or getting involved, please contact us.

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