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2019 CMHC Regional Seniors’ Housing Reports Highlights


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has released the latest results of its annual Senior Housing Survey. The 2019 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report covers all major provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Atlantic, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The results include vacancy rates, rental price, amenities, and other valuable data that concern retirement homes.

The price you pay to live in a senior care facility varies greatly from one province to another. Majority of the residents of retirement communities pay a monthly rent that ranges from 1 453$ to 4 500$ (and higher) on average across Canada. This depends on the size and area of the facility, the type of community, and the number and quality of amenities. The CMHC 2019 report reveals that prices are increasing in almost every province because of the growing demand for senior care communities. 

 This year’s report reveals many interesting facts. In some areas like Quebec, the vacancy rates for heavy care spaces decreased, while for other provinces such as Ontario, the numbers remained the same. Most areas like Manitoba and Alberta experienced growth in supply. When it comes to average rates, some provinces raised their prices while others stayed stable.

 To give you a clearer picture of the 2018 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report, we’re giving you the highlights for main regions.


The vacancy rate for standard spaces dropped slightly to 10.3% in 2019 from 10.4% in 2018 in Ontario. For total space, it is a record low of 9.9%. Total supply of seniors’ housing in Ontario rose by 2.4% to 62,633 spaces in 2019 because of increasing demand.

Toronto GTA


Total number of units: 6,557

Overall vacancy rate: 5.6%

Average Rent: 4 601$

The demand for retirement communities has increased in Toronto due to which vacancy rate has dropped by 5.4%. The demand is high for semi-private and wards facilities, which has decreased to 10.2 this year from 25.3 last year. The average rent for heavy care spaces has slightly increased from 5,485 in 2018 to 5,626 in 2019. Overall, the demand for senior care centers remains high in Toronto


Total number of units: 2,589

Overall vacancy rate: 8.3%

Average Rent: 3 948$

Demand for all types of senior care housing has decreased in Durham. The major decrease is in one-bedroom facilities with a vacancy rate dropped from 2.9 in 2018 to 9.4 in 2019. At the same time, the average rent has also increased, though slightly. Monthly rent for around 59% of senior communities in this region is $4,000 or more. 


Total number of units: 2,841

Overall vacancy rate: 6.9%

Average Rent: 4 608$

Demand for senior housing has slightly dropped in Halton also as compared to last year, while rent has increased in the region. Total 2,941 residents live In 2,841 spaces in the area. One bedroom apartments make up the highest number of spaces (1,446), while semi-private and ward facilities constitute the lowest (49) of the total spaces.  


Total number of units: 3,079

Overall vacancy rate: 10.5

Average Rent: 3 969$

In Peel, demand for private/studio and two or more bedroom facilities has increased, while it has decreased for semi-private & ward and one-bedroom communities. The average rent has also increased slightly in the region. There are a total of 124 semi-private and wards, 1,146 Private/Studio 1,544 one bedroom and 265 2+ bedroom facilities in Peel. 


Total number of units: 3,660

Overall vacancy rate: 7.0

Average Rent: 4 628$

In York, demand for senior housing has decreased, except that for 2+ bedroom facilities. The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces has almost doubled due to the increasing demand for professional retirement communities in the region.  

Central Ontario

Total number of units: 17,150

Overall vacancy rate: 8.7%

Average Rent: 3 514$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Central Ontario is 8.1% while the average rent is 4 676. There are 945 semi-private & ward, 10,053 private/studio, 5,273 one bedroom and 665 two bedroom units in Central Ontario.


Total number of units: 7,947

Overall vacancy rate: 15.7%

Average Rent: 4 092$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Ottawa is 14.8%, while the average rent is 5 373$. There are 194 semi-private & ward, 4,727 private/studio, 2,626 one bedroom and 400 two bedroom units in Ottawa.

Eastern Ontario

Total number of units: 6,272

Overall vacancy rate: 12.7%

Average Rent: 3 236$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Eastern Ontario is 3.7%, while the average rent is 4 177$. There are 359 semi-private & ward, 4,062 private/studio, 1,683 one bedroom and 168 two bedroom units in Eastern Ontario.

Southwest Ontario

Total number of units: 9,673

Overall vacancy rate: 10.8%

Average Rent: 3 298$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Southwest Ontario is 5.1% while the average rent is 3 829 $. There are 589 semi-private & ward, 5,321 private/studio, 3,339 one bedroom and 424 two bedroom units in Southwest Ontario.

Northern Ontario

Total number of units: 2,865

Overall vacancy rate: 9.5%

Average Rent: 3 018$ 

Vacancy rate and the average rent for heavy care spaces in Northern Ontario are unknown. There are 37 semi-private & ward, 1,601 private/studio, 1,092 one bedroom and 135 two bedroom units in Northern Ontario.

For more information, click here.

British Columbia

The overall vacancy rate for all independent living units in seniors’ residence has increased by 4.2% in 2019 in British Columbia. Spaces with low rent remain under high demand as the vacancy rate was recorded the lowest among all rent ranges. Total 324 new senior living spaces added across BC in 2019, 40% of which are based on Vancouver Island/Central Coast.

The average rent for independent living space has also increased by 5.4% to 3 275$ in 2019. The highest rent increase was 22% in bachelor/studio units since there was a decline in such units in most regions.

Lower Mainland

Total number of units: 27,475

Overall vacancy rate: 3.2%

Average Rent: 6 547$

The average rent for heavy care spaces has decreased from 7 419$ in 2018 to 6 547$ in 2019. Average rent in non-urban centers is 267$. In the Lower Mainland, Fraser South has the highest number of spaces for all unit types. There are total 1,848 non-profit and 1,860 profit assisted living units.

Vancouver Island / Central Coast

Total number of units: 12,253

Overall vacancy rate: 4.7%

Average Rent: 6 417$

In Vancouver Island / Central Coast, there are 842 non-profit assisted living units, while the number of profit units is unknown. There are total 1,492 non-urban independent living units in the region.

Okanagan / Thompson / Shuswap

Total number of units: 10,591

Overall vacancy rate: 7.4%

Average Rent: 6 131$

The vacancy rate for independent living rate in Okanagan / Thompson / Shuswap has increased to 6.4% in 2019 from 5.1% in 2018. In the region, Central Okanagan has the highest number of total spaces for all unit types. There are 518 non-profits, and 1,122 profit assisted living units in the region. 

Other BC

Total number of units: 4,187

Overall vacancy rate: 2.1%

Average Rent: Unknown

Other BC region has the highest number of bachelor units, while there are only 160 two bedroom spaces. There are 1,871 non-urban senior living centers in this region.


As per senior housing in Alberta is concerned, the average monthly rent for a standard space has decreased from 3 296$ in 2018 to 3 258$ in 2019. On the other hand, the average rent for heavy care spaces increased this year, primarily due to higher rents in Edmonton. The total number of spaces has increased by 4.3% to 14,248 in 2019 from 13,655 in 2018. The province has experienced an increase in vacancy rates for these heavy care spaces.

Calgary CMA

Total number of units: 4,878

Overall vacancy rate: 14.0%

Average Rent: 4 016$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Calgary CMA is 7.7%, and the average rent is 4 878$. There are 2,083 semi-private/ bachelor, 2,235 one bedroom and 560 two bedroom units in Calgary CMA.

Edmonton CMA

Total number of units: 5,854

Overall vacancy rate: 8.7%

Average Rent: 2 794$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Calgary CMA is 4.9%, and the average rent is 5 854$. There are 1,615 semi-private/ bachelor, 3,076 one bedroom and 771 two bedroom units in Edmonton CMA.

Rest of Alberta

Total number of units: 3,582

Overall vacancy rate: 15.5%

Average Rent: 2 828$

The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces in Calgary CMA is 9.4%, and the average rent is 3 582$. There are 1,648 semi-private/ bachelor, 1,790 one bedroom and 740 two bedroom units in Rest of Alberta.


Between 2018 and 2019, the vacancy rate for standard spaces in Quebec rose from 6.9% to 7.2%. The average monthly rent for standard units stood at 1 788$. Heavy care spaces registered a 5.7% increase in vacancy rate in 2019. Market conditions of senior housing in Quebec showed contrasting trends across the regions.

Montréal CMA

Montreal has the highest number of senior living units in Quebec. Around 36.4% of these units charge more than 1 901$ monthly rate.  Between 2018 and 2019, the vacancy rate has increased in Montréal. Also, most of the senior living housing in Montreal offer advanced and most-demanded services like on-site medical services, 24-hour call bell, movie theatre, swimming pool, internet access, and many more.

Island of Montréal

Total number of units: 5,579

Overall vacancy rate: 8.1%

Average Rent: 3 796$

The vacancy rate has almost doubled in Island of Montréal, which means demand has increased for senior housing. The average rent has decreased slightly in the region. One bedroom communities make up the highest number of spaces (10,901), while semi-private rooms are the lowest number of spaces (232). 


Total number of units: 358

Overall vacancy rate: 20.2%

Average Rent: Unknown

Demand has drastically increased in this region, with the vacancy rate tripled this year (from 7.7% in 2018 to 21.1% in 2019). Average rent in this area is unknown according to the CMHC 2019 report. There are only 7.3% of standard spaces that charge rent less than 1 301$. Forty percent of these spaces charge rent 1 901$ or more. 


Total number of units: 914

Overall vacancy rate: 3.4%

Average Rent: 3 356$

The vacancy rate has increased in Laval, which means demand for senior care facilities has decreased in the region. Average rent remains almost the same as that in the previous year. There are 914 private, 22 semi-private, 972 bachelor apartments, 3,054 one-bedroom, and 1,693 multiple bedrooms facilities across Laval. 

North Shore

Total number of units: 2,163

Overall vacancy rate: 5.9%

Average Rent: 3 044$

The vacancy rate for bachelor apartments in North Shore has decreased from 5.8% in 2018 to 3.9% in 2019. It means demand for bachelor apartments has increased. The average rent for heavy care spaces has decreased slightly. Currently, total 7,875 seniors live in 68 communities in North Shore. 

South Shore

Total number of units: 2,956

Overall vacancy rate: 6.0%

Average Rent: 3 418$

In the South Shore Centre, the vacancy rate has reached from 0.5% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2019. It means there is a major decline in the demand for senior care housing in this region. Average rent remains almost the same as it was in the previous year. 


Total number of units: 692

Overall vacancy rate: 8.2%

Average Rent: Unknown

Demand for one-bedroom apartments has increased in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu as the vacancy rate has decreased from 5.8 in 2018 to 1.4% in 2019. Average rent or heavy care spaces is unknown in this region. There are a total of 692 private room communities, 320 bachelor apartments, 519 one-bedroom, and 179 multiple bedroom apartments. 

Québec CMA

Total number of units: 15,301

Overall vacancy rate: 6.5

Average Rent: 3 440$

In Quebec CMA, you will find a higher number of options for one bedroom unit. There are total 6,358, one bedroom units in the region. Moreover, semi-private rooms are the lowest, only 14, senior living unit types. Forty-five percent of units in Quebec cost 1 901$ or more monthly charges.

Saguenay CMA

Total number of units: 2,815

Overall vacancy rate: 4.0

Average Rent: 3 081$

There are no semi-private rooms in Saguenay. However, you will get around 1,047 choices for one bedroom units.  Around 73.6% of the total units offer three meals included in the monthly rent.

Sherbrooke CMA

Total number of units: 4,757

Overall vacancy rate: 7.4

Average Rent: 3 655$

The vacancy rate in Sherbrooke CMA has decreased from 10.9% to 8.4%, while the capture rates remain the highest, at about 25%. Also, the average rent for all types of units has increased in this region. Most of the housing facilities offer special amenities, such as on-site shops, recreational services, home support services, and personal assistance services.

Trois-Rivières CMA

Total number of units: 4,339

Overall vacancy rate: 7.8

Average Rent: 3 073$

The vacancy rate for senior housing in Trois-Rivières CMA has increased. Among the total number of residents living in senior housing communities, 3,536 residents live alone, while 463 of them are couples. All facilities offer organized recreational services, while most facilities offer selected amenities, such as home support services, shops, etc.

Gatineau CMA

Total number of units: 3,304

Overall vacancy rate: 6.8

Average Rent: 3 073$

The senior housing market in Gatineau CMA has also seen noteworthy changes this year. However, no senior housing offers meals included in the monthly rent.

For more information, click here.


There are total 10,432 spaces in the Atlantic region, with Newfoundland having the highest number of senior living spaces. The vacancy rate has significantly dropped to 8.6% in 2019. Estimated, 196,020 of seniors aged 75+ in Atlantic live in senior care facilities.


Total number of units: 3,801

Overall vacancy rate: 11.9%

Average Rent: 3 003$

In Newfoundland, the vacancy rate has dropped to 7.3%.  Ward and semi-private units constitute the biggest share with 1,816 units in the total number of spaces in Newfoundland. Around 31.6 of these units charge 3 500$ monthly rent including 1.5 hours of senior care per day.

New Brunswick

Total number of units: 3,740

Overall vacancy rate: 6.4%

Average Rent: 2 262$

The number of residents decreased by 6%, and the number of standard spaces has also decreased by 14%. There are now 3,740 total spaces in New Brunswick. The average rent of standard spaces has increased by 19% in New Brunswick, though rent is still the cheapest in the Atlantic region.

Nova Scotia

Total number of units: 1,586

Overall vacancy rate: 11.4%

Average Rent: 3 141$

Nova Scotia has the second lowest number of spaces in the Atlantic but has the highest proportion of standard spaces at 92%. The number of standard spaces increased by 20% in the region, while the number of residents has decreased by 9%. The average rent has declined from 3 181$ in 2018.

Prince Edward Island

Total number of units: 1,305

Overall vacancy rate: 4.7%

Average Rent: 3 335$

The average rent for standard spaces in Prince Edward Island remains the highest in Atlantic Canada. There is an increase in affordable Ward/Semi-private standard spaces though the vacancy rate decreased by 7.5%. Also, rent for senior living spaces has increased by 34% in the region. Bachelor or studio units are popular in the market, constituting 36% of the total spaces.

For more information, click here.


The overall vacancy rate for standard senior housing space has decreased to 3.0% in Manitoba. The overall vacancy rate for total senior spaces remains the same in the Winnipeg CMA as the provincial averages. The average rent for a standard space is 2,819$ in Manitoba. The demand for senior housing remained strong in the province, and Winnipeg CMA has seen a significant rise in the number of residents. The Winnipeg CMA supplied 85% of the total seniors’ housing spaces in Manitoba.

Winnipeg CMA

Total number of units: 4,407

Overall vacancy rate: 2.8%

Average Rent: 2 831$

There are total 551 semi-private/bachelor, 3,005 one-bedroom and 851 two-bedroom spaces in Winnipeg CMA. Only 2.5 of total units cost less than 1 500$ in monthly rent, while 15.2% costs more than 3 500$. If you choose optional services such as cable, telephone, and ancillary services, it would cost you 44$ on average. 

Rest of Manitoba

Total number of units: 643

Overall vacancy rate: 2.9%

Average Rent: 2 734$

There are total 96 semi-private/bachelor, 448 one-bedroom and 99 two-bedroom seniors’ housing units in the rest of Manitoba. The average rent for semi-private/bachelor has increased to 2 338$ in 2019 from 2 064$ in 2018. The average rent for a one-bedroom unit is 2 642$, and the two-bedroom unit is 3 553$.


The vacancy rate for standard spaces in Saskatchewan retirement homes has edged up to 13.9%, while the number of seniors’ residences has declined slightly to 183 in 2019. Correspondingly, the capture rate fell to 8.7% from 8.8% in 2018 after a decrease in the number of seniors earlier this year. Across Saskatchewan, the vacancy rate for standard spaces remains highest in seniors’ housing residences opened in 2000 or later.

Regina CMA

Total number of units: 1,594

Overall vacancy rate: 15.0%

Average Rent: 3 738$

Heavy care spaces have a vacancy rate of 3.3% and 4 988$ average rent for senior housing in Regina CMA. There are a total of 735 semi-private / bachelor, 732 one bedroom and 127 two bedroom units in this region.

Saskatoon CMA

Total number of units: 3,438

Overall vacancy rate: 10.4%

Average Rent: 2 945$

Average rent in heavy care spaces is 4 740$ while the vacancy rate for such units is unknown Saskatoon CMA. There are total 1,231 semi-private / bachelor, 1,805 one bedroom and 402 two bedroom units in this region.

Rest of Saskatchewan

Total number of units: 2,558

Overall vacancy rate: 17.9%

Average Rent: 2 691$

Heavy care spaces have the vacancy rate of 17.3% and 4 135$ average rent in Rest of Saskatchewan. There are total 1,716 semi-private / bachelor, 738 one bedroom and 104 two bedroom units in this region.

Wrapping Up

Overall, the 2019 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report indicates that retirement homes industry is growing in Canada. The demand is increasing in provinces including Ontario and British Columbia with more residences adding up to meet the demand.

According to Statistics Canada, the seniors’ population in Canada will increase by up to 25 percent by 2063. 

In Canada, life expectancy at age 65 has increased over the last few years, reaching 22.1 years for women and 19.3 years for men. The probability of surviving from age 65 to 85 has also increased from 51% in 2004 to 2006 to 57% in 2014 to 2016.

Increasing life expectancy for Canadian older adults and rise in aging population, heavy care spaces may continue experiencing lower vacancy rates in the coming years.

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