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Centre for Urban and
Community Studies
University of Toronto
455 Spadina Ave.
Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 2G8

(416) 978-2072
(416) 978-7162


Housing New Canadians

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Housing New Canadians is a university / community research partnership focused on housing access and discrimination in the Toronto area, where about 40% of all newcomers to Canada settle.

New Canadians search for housing, employment, and educational opportunities with different degrees of success. How open are our cities, our neighbourhoods, our housing markets, and our housing waiting lists to the "others" – to people who are new to the country and often very different from more established Canadians?

Finding a suitable place to live in a good-quality, supportive neighbourhood is an important first step toward successful settlement. Understanding the barriers that immigrants face in searching for housing in metropolitan areas can help community members, local agencies, policy makers, and professionals develop more responsive and equitable urban environments.

The Housing New Canadians Research Working Group, established in 1992, carries out research on the nature of the housing search process used by immigrants and refugees; the quality, adequacy, and cost of the housing they obtain; the degree to which their housing needs are met; and the nature and extent of any housing-related discrimination they experience. The goal of the Working Group is to improve policies, programs, and practices.

The "housing experience" of New Canadians has three facets: access to housing (the physical housing unit); the house as home and as the setting for life and work (the social, psychological, and cultural roles of housing); and the neighbourhood and community context (the broader housing environment).

The Working Group focuses on access to housing – that is, the process by which New Canadians find housing. Most previous studies have examined outcomes, such as the nature and extent of residential segregation of immigrants.

The research is supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, and the Centre for Urban and Community Studies. The first phase, a series of case studies of four newcomer groups – Jamaicans, Salvadoreans, Somalis and Poles – is nearly complete.

Research reports and conference papers are available on the Working Group’s website. The website also contains related research on housing discrimination and housing rights.

For further information:

Sylvia Novac, University of Toronto
tel 416-978-1345;

Robert A. Murdie, York University
tel 416-36-5107;

Ken Dion, University of Toronto
tel 416-978-7613;

David Hulchanski, University of Toronto
tel 416-978-4093;

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Cities Lab

Housing New Canadians


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