Member Update: May 6, 2020

Rent-geared-to-income calculations during COVID-19: Emergency Benefits

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in their most recent Social Housing Notification 20-05 has clarified that the following new emergency benefits are considered income and included for the purposes of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) calculations:

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (except where exempted for full-time students under the Housing Services Act, 2011)
  • the temporary doubling of the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments

Service managers can use their discretion under the Housing Services Act, 2011 to develop internal processes to treat the change of income resulting from the receipt of emergency financial assistance. These may include:

  • extending the reporting requirements for changes in income
  • delaying the change until the next annual review
  • only implementing changes as a result of a decrease income
  • deferring or forgiving all or part of the rent

Housing providers should follow the direction of their service manager in the treatment of these emergency payments.