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Canada Residential Schools



The term residential schools refers to an extensive school system set up by the Canadian government and administered by churches that had the nominal objective of educating Indigenous children but also the more damaging and equally explicit objectives of indoctrinating them into Euro-Canadian and Christian ways of living and assimilating them into mainstream white Canadian society. The residential school system officially operated from the 1880s into the closing decades of the 20th century. The system forcibly separated children from their families for extended periods of time and forbade them to acknowledge their Indigenous heritage and culture or to speak their own languages. Children were severely punished if these, among other, strict rules were broken. Former students of residential schools have spoken of horrendous abuse at the hands of residential school staff: physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological. Residential schools provided Indigenous students with inappropriate education, often only up to lower grades, that focused mainly on prayer and manual labour in agriculture, light industry such as woodworking, and domestic work such as laundry work and sewing.

Residential schools systematically undermined Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures across Canada and disrupted families for generations, severing the ties through which Indigenous culture is taught and sustained, and contributing to a general loss of language and culture. Because they were removed from their families, many students grew up without experiencing a nurturing family life and without the knowledge and skills to raise their own families. The devastating effects of the residential schools are far-reaching and continue to have a significant impact on Indigenous communities. The residential school system is widely considered a form of genocide because of the purposeful attempt from the government and church to eradicate all aspects of Indigenous cultures and lifeworlds.

From the 1990s onward, the government and the churches involved—Anglican, Presbyterian, United, and Roman Catholic—began to acknowledge their responsibility for an education scheme that was specifically designed to “kill the Indian in the child.” On June 11, 2008, the Canadian government issued a formal apology in Parliament for the damage done by the residential school system. In spite of this and other apologies, however, the effects remain.

What led to the residential schools?

The early origins of residential schools in Canada are found in the implementation of the mission system in the 1600s. The churches and European settlers brought with them the assumption that their own civilization was the pinnacle of human achievement. They interpreted the socio-cultural differences between themselves and Indigenous Peoples as “proof” that Canada’s first inhabitants were ignorant, savage, and—like children—in need of guidance. They felt the need to “civilize” Indigenous Peoples. Education—a federal responsibility—became the primary means to this end.

Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald commissioned journalist and politician Nicholas Flood Davin to study industrial schools for Indigenous children in the United States. Davin’s recommendation to follow the U.S. example of “aggressive civilization” led to public funding for the residential school system. “If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young. The children must be kept constantly within the circle of civilized conditions,” Davin wrote in his 1879 Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds (Davin’s report can be read here.)

In the 1880s, in conjunction with other federal assimilation policies, the government began to establish residential schools across Canada. Authorities would frequently take children to schools far from their home communities, part of a strategy to alienate them from their families and familiar surroundings. In 1920, under the Indian Act, it became mandatory for every Indigenous child to attend a residential school and illegal for them to attend any other educational institution.

Living conditions at the residential schools

The purpose of the residential schools was to eliminate all aspects of Indigenous culture. Students had their hair cut short, they were dressed in uniforms, they were often given numbers, and their days were strictly regimented by timetables. Boys and girls were kept separate, and even siblings rarely interacted, further weakening family ties. Chief Bobby Joseph of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society recalls that he had no idea how to interact with girls and never even got to know his own sister “beyond a mere wave in the dining room.”1 In addition, students were strictly forbidden to speak their languages—even though many children knew no other—or to practise Indigenous customs or traditions. Violations of these rules were severely punished.

Residential school students did not receive the same education as the general population in the public school system, and the schools were sorely underfunded. Teachings focused primarily on practical skills. Girls were primed for domestic service and taught to do laundry, sew, cook, and clean. Boys were taught carpentry, tinsmithing, and farming. Many students attended class part-time and worked for the school the rest of the time: girls did the housekeeping; boys, general maintenance and agriculture. This work, which was involuntary and unpaid, was presented as practical training for the students, but many of the residential schools could not run without it. With so little time spent in class, most students had only reached grade five by the time they were 18. At this point, students were sent away. Many were discouraged from pursuing further education.

Abuse at the schools was widespread: emotional and psychological abuse was constant, physical abuse was metred out as punishment, and sexual abuse was also common. Survivors recall being beaten and strapped; some students were shackled to their beds; some had needles shoved in their tongues for speaking their native languages. These abuses, along with overcrowding, poor sanitation, and severely inadequate food and health care, resulted in a shockingly high death toll. In 1907, government medical inspector P.H. Bryce reported that 24 percent of previously healthy Indigenous children across Canada were dying in residential schools.  This figure does not include children who died at home, where they were frequently sent when critically ill. Bryce reported that anywhere from 47 percent (on the Peigan Reserve in Alberta) to 75 percent (from File Hills Boarding School in Saskatchewan) of students discharged from residential schools died shortly after returning home.

The extent to which the Department of Indian Affairs and church officials knew of these abuses has been debated by some. However, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) and John Milloy, among others, concluded that church and state officials were fully aware of the abuses and tragedies at the schools. Some inspectors and officials at the time expressed alarm at the horrifying death rates, yet those who spoke out and called for reform were generally met with silence and lack of support.  The Department of Indian Affairs would promise to improve the schools, but the deplorable conditions persisted.

Some former students have positive memories of their time at residential schools, and certainly some might have been treated with kindness by the priests and nuns who ran the schools as best they could given the circumstances. But even these “good” experiences occurred within a system aimed at destroying Indigenous cultures and assimilating Indigenous students.

The Shift Away from Residential Schools

“Sister Marie Baptiste had a supply of sticks as long and thick as pool cues. When she heard me speak my language, she’d lift up her hands and bring the stick down on me. I’ve still got bumps and scars on my hands. I have to wear special gloves because the cold weather really hurts my hands. I tried very hard not to cry when I was being beaten and I can still just turn off my feelings…. And I’m lucky. Many of the men my age, they either didn’t make it, committed suicide or died violent deaths, or alcohol got them. And it wasn’t just my generation. My grandmother, who’s in her late nineties, to this day it’s too painful for her to talk about what happened to her at the school.”

– Musqueam Nation former chief George Guerin,
Kuper Island school
Stolen from our Embrace
, p 62

Church and state officials of the 19th century believed that Indigenous societies were disappearing and that the only hope for Indigenous people was to convert to Christianity, do away with their cultures, and become “civilized” British subjects—in short, assimilate them. By the 1950s, the same officials were doubting the viability of such project. The devastating effects of the residential schools and the needs and life experiences of Indigenous students were becoming more widely recognized.2 The government also acknowledged that removing children from their families was severely detrimental to the health of the individuals and the communities affected. In 1951, with the amendments to the Indian Act, the half-day work/school system was progressively abandoned, conceding power to the provinces to apprehend children, and transitioning from the school system to a ‘child welfare system’. This time is referred to as the ‘Sixties Scoop’ because of the systematic removal of Indigenous children from their families without consent from their parents or authorities.

In the 1960s the drastic overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the welfare system consolidated, and authorities would constantly place Indigenous children with white middle-class families in an attempt to acculturate them. This practice, as well as the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in ‘child welfare systems’ continues today. In 1969, the Department of Indian Affairs took exclusive control of the system, marking an end to church involvement in residential schooling. Yet the schools remained underfunded and abuse continued, and many teachers and workers continued to lack proper credentials to carry out their responsibilities.3

In the meantime, the government decided to phase out segregation and began incorporating Indigenous students into public schools. Although these changes saw students reaching higher levels of education, problems persisted. Many Indigenous students struggled in their adjustment to public school and to a Eurocentric system where Indigenous knowledges were excluded, fostering discrimination by their non-Indigenous peers. Post-secondary education was strongly discouraged for Indigenous students because those who wanted to attend university would have been enfranchised.

The process to phase out the residential school system and other assimilation tactics was slow and not without reversals. The residential school system in Canada lasted officially for almost 150 years, and its impacts continue on to this day. As mentioned above, the system’s closure gave way to the ‘Sixties Scoop,’ during which thousands of Indigenous children were abducted by social services and removed from their families. The ‘Scoop’ spanned roughly the two decades it took to phase out the residential schools, but child apprehensions from Indigenous families continue to occur in disproportionate numbers today. In part, this is the legacy of compromised families and communities left by the residential schools.

Starting in 1969, residential schools in Canada began to decline in numbers. In 1970, the Department of Indian Affairs calculated fifty-six remaining schools, excluding the Northwest Territories. By 1980, the same institution reported sixteen, and one decade later, eleven. In 1996, Gordon Reserve Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, the last of its kind, was closed and demolished. By 1999, the Department of Indian Affairs registered no remaining residential schools in operation.4

Ongoing Impacts

“So why is it important to understand the history of genocide in Canada? Because it’s not history. Today’s racist government laws, policies and actions have proven to be just as deadly for Indigenous peoples as the genocidal acts of the past.”

–Pamela Palmater, Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, activist, and politician
(National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Canada) et al. 2019, 53).

The residential school system is viewed by much of the Canadian public as part of a distant past, disassociated from today’s events. In many ways, this is a misconception. The last residential school did not close its doors until 1996, and many of the leaders, teachers, parents, and grandparents of today’s Indigenous communities are residential school Survivors. Although residential schools have closed, their effects remain ongoing for both Survivors and their descendants who now share in the intergenerational effects of transmitted personal trauma and loss of language, culture, traditional teachings, and mental/spiritual wellbeing.

According to the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, several generations of Indigenous Peoples were denied the development of parenting skills not only through their removal from communities and families but also from the severe lack of attention paid to the issue by school officials.5 In addition, children were taught that their traditional ways were inferior, including their languages and cultures. The residential schools were operational through several generations of Indigenous Peoples so the process of healing from these damages will also take several generations -a process that has already begun, but has not been easy nor has it been simple.

The historic, intergenerational, and collective oppression of Indigenous Peoples continues to this day in the form of land disputes, over-incarceration, lack of housing, child apprehension, systemic poverty, marginalization and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA peoples, and other critical issues which neither began nor ended with residential schools. Generations of oppressive government policies attempted to strip Indigenous Peoples of their identities not only through residential schools but also through other policies including but not limited to: the implementation and subsequent changes to the Indian Act; the mass removal of Indigenous children from their families into the child welfare system known as the Sixties Scoop; and legislations allowing forced sterilizations of Indigenous Peoples in certain provinces, a practice that has continued to be reported by Indigenous women in Canada as recently as 2018; and currently, through the modern child welfare systems which continue to disproportionately apprehend Indigenous children into foster care in what Raven Sinclair has called the Millennium Scoop.6

In 2019, BC ended its practice of “birth alerts” in child welfare cases, which allowed child welfare agencies and hospitals to flag mothers deemed “high risk” without their consent -a practice which disproportionately targeted Indigenous mothers and was found to be “racist and discriminatory” and a “gross violation of the rights of the child, the mother, and the community”.7 One of the findings of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report (MMIWG) asserts that the Canadian State “has used child welfare laws and agencies as a tool to oppress, displace, disrupt, and destroy Indigenous families, communities, and Nations. It is a tool in the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.”8 Child welfare laws and agencies, like the residential schools, effectively aided in the removal of Indigenous children from their families and continue to aid in the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

Survivors Demand Justice

I have just one last thing to say. To all of the leaders of the Liberals, the Bloc and NDP, thank you, as well, for your words because now it is about our responsibilities today, the decisions that we make today and how they will affect seven generations from now.

My ancestors did the same seven generations ago and they tried hard to fight against you because they knew what was happening. They knew what was coming, but we have had so much impact from colonization and that is what we are dealing with today.

Women have taken the brunt of it all.

Thank you for the opportunity to be here at this moment in time to talk about those realities that we are dealing with today.

What is it that this government is going to do in the future to help our people? Because we are dealing with major human rights violations that have occurred to many generations: my language, my culture and my spirituality. I know that I want to transfer those to my children and my grandchildren, and their children, and so on.

What is going to be provided? That is my question. I know that is the question from all of us. That is what we would like to continue to work on, in partnership.

Nia:wen. Thank you.

—Beverley Jacobs, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada, June 11, 2008

Read the full transcript and watch the video here.

The residential schools heavily contributed to educational, social, financial and health disparities between Indigenous Peoples and the rest of Canada, and these impacts have been intergenerational.9 Despite the efforts of the residential school system and those who created and maintained it, Indigenous Peoples largely escaped complete assimilation and continue to work to regain what was lost, while also seeking justice for years of wrongdoing; including from the Canadian government, the churches, and the individuals responsible for specific cases of abuse.

It was not until the late 1980s that the Canadian legal system began to respond to allegations of abuse brought forward by Survivors, with fewer than fifty convictions coming out of more than 38,000 claims of sexual and physical abuse submitted to the independent adjudication process.10 Notable cases include 1988’s Mowatt v. Clarke, in which eight former students of St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C., sued a priest, the government, and the Anglican Church of Canada; both the Anglican Church and the government admitted fault and agreed to a settlement. In 1995, twenty-seven Survivors from the Alberni Indian Residential School filed charges of sexual abuse against Arthur Plintwhile also holding Canada and the United Church vicariously liable. In addition to convicting Plint, the court held the federal government and the United Church responsible for the wrongs committed.

Meanwhile, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples had been interviewing individuals from Indigenous communities and nations across Canada about their experiences. The commission’s report, published in 1996, brought unprecedented attention to the residential school system—many non-Indigenous Canadians did not know about this chapter in Canadian history. In 1998, based on the commission’s recommendations and considering the court cases, the Canadian government publicly apologized to former students for the physical and sexual abuse they suffered in the residential schools. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was established as a $350 million government plan to aid communities affected by the residential schools. However, some Indigenous people felt the government apology did not go far enough, since it addressed only the effects of physical and sexual abuse and not other damages caused by the residential school system.

The St. George and Alberni lawsuits set a precedent for future cases, proving that the churches and the government of Canada could be sued as an entity. As the number of cases grew, a National Class Action was filed in 2002 for compensation for all former Indian Residential school Survivors and family members in Canada. In 2005, Canada and nearly 80,000 Survivors reached the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in which Canada committed to individual compensation for Survivors, additional funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In September 2007, while the Settlement Agreement was being put into action, the Canadian government made a motion to issue a formal apology. The motion passed unanimously. On June 11, 2008, the House of Commons gathered in a solemn ceremony to publicly apologize for the government’s involvement in the residential school system and to acknowledge the widespread impact this system has had among Indigenous Peoples. You can read the official statement and responses to it by Indigenous organizations here (scroll down to “Choose a topic” and select “Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools”). The apology was broadcast live across Canada (watch it here). Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper issued a ‘statement of apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools’, noting that

“…the Government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this”.

Echoing Stephen Harper, former Chief Justice of Ontario Warren Winkler also observed that the residential school system removed children 

“from their families and communities to serve the purpose of carrying out a “concerted campaign to obliterate” the “habits and associations” of “Indigenous languages, traditions and beliefs,” in order to accomplish “a radical re-socialization” aimed at instilling the children instead with the values of Euro-centric civilization”(Library and Archives Canada, RG10, volume 6113, le 351-10, part 1).11

The federal government’s apology was met with a range of responses. Some felt that it marked a new era of positive federal government–Indigenous relations based on mutual respect, while many others felt that the apology was merely symbolic and doubted that it would change the government’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Although apologies and acknowledgements made by governments and churches are important steps forward in reconciliation, Indigenous leaders have argued that such gestures are not enough without supportive action. Communities and residential school survivor societies are undertaking healing initiatives and providing opportunities for survivors to talk about their experiences and move forward to create a positive future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society was formed in 1994 by the First Nations Summit in British Columbia and was officially incorporated in 2002 to provide support for survivors and communities in the province throughout the healing process and to educate the broader public. The Survivors Society provides crisis counselling, referrals, and healing initiatives, as well as acting as a resource for information, research, training, and workshops. It was clear that a similar organization was needed at the national level, and in 2005, the National Residential School Survivors Society was incorporated. 


Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday –



The latest:

Tokyo reported 5,042 new daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, hitting a record since the pandemic began as the infections surge in the Japanese capital hosting the Olympics.

The additional cases brought the total for Tokyo to 236,138, about a quarter of the national total. Japan reported more than 14,000 cases on Wednesday for a total of 970,000.

Tokyo has been under a state of emergency since mid-July, and four other areas have since been added and extended until Aug. 31. But the measures, basically a ban on alcohol in restaurants and bars and their shorter hours, are increasingly ignored by the public, which has become tired of restrictions.

“We need to tackle the situation as we now have a stronger sense of urgency,” Prime Minister Yosihide Suga told reporters, referring to Tokyo’s new record exceeding 5,000 cases for the first time. “The infections are expanding at the pace we have never experienced before.”

Suga, who has been criticized for insisting on hosting the Olympics despite the coronavirus spreading, says there is no evidence linking the surge in cases to the July 23-Aug. 8 Games. He urged people to firmly stick to the emergency requests and stay home despite the summer vacation.

A protester calling for the cancellation of the Olympic Games stands with a sign urging officials to choose the ‘shine of our lives’ over the shine of medals. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

Alarmed by the pace of the spread, some experts have called for a current state of emergency in Tokyo and five other areas to be expanded nationwide.

Instead, Suga on Thursday announced a milder version of the emergency measures in eight prefectures, including Fukushima in the east and Kumamoto in the south, expanding the areas to 13 prefectures. The less-stringent measures allow prefectural heads to target specific towns but cannot order business closures.

Suga also pledged to “prevent the further spread of the virus by firmly carrying out vaccinations.”

Experts say people are not cooperating because many feel less of a sense of urgency about the pandemic while the Olympics are going ahead and Suga’s government keeps issuing the same requests for people to stay at home.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Ontario won’t mandate COVID-19 vaccines for teachers, kids in September: 

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Wednesday there are still no plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations from educators, staff and students when in-person learning resumes in September. 1:47

What’s happening around the world

People wait to be vaccinated against COVID-19 a day before stricter lockdown measures are implemented in Manila on Thursday. (Lisa Marie David/Reuters)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 200.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines will extend tighter coronavirus restrictions to include three areas, including a province adjoining the capital region, to prevent the spread of the delta variant, the president’s office said on Thursday. The tougher restrictions, already due to take effect in metropolitan Manila from Aug. 6, will also be imposed in Laguna province and the cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iloilo, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement

In Africa, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says he came down with COVID-19 last week and if he had not been vaccinated earlier, “I would not be here by now.” An audibly ill John Nkengasong told reporters that despite his vaccination in April, “the severity of the attack is unbearable.” He cited his experience to push back against vaccine hesitancy.

African Union officials said on Thursday that the body had begun shipping COVID-19 vaccine doses acquired through a Johnson & Johnson deal, but they raised alarm at the pace of total deliveries to a region where only 1.5 per cent of people are vaccinated.

WATCH | U.S. extension on eviction ban still leaves some out in the cold: 

The Biden administration’s new ban on evictions only applies in areas of the U.S. where COVID-19 cases are surging, leaving millions of Americans unable to pay rent at risk of losing their homes. 2:02

In the Americas, the delta variant is “highly worrisome” as the mutation has spread to nearly two dozen countries across the Americas, officials with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) told reporters.

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 20,685 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily jump since late January, and 611 fatalities.

In the Middle East, Iran again reported a fresh single-day high on Wednesday, with 39,357 new cases of COVID-19. The country reported 409 additional deaths, bringing the reported COVID-related death toll to 92,194.

In Europe, Britain will scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers returning to England and Scotland from France, rowing back on a rule that had infuriated French politicians and thrown millions of holidays into confusion.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 9 a.m. ET

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Here's what Canada did while you were sleeping on day 13 of Tokyo Olympics – CTV News



Canada added two medals to its collection overnight on day 13, bringing home silver in women’s canoe sprint and a bronze in women’s cycling.

Here’s a look at some of the 2020 Summer Olympic events you may have missed overnight.


Lauriane Genest

Lauriane Genest won Canada’s first-ever medal in the keirin, capturing bronze in the event. New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews took silver while Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands captured gold.

The keirin is an eight-lap race amongst six cyclists who start the race following behind a motorized pace bike, as it accelerates to top speed of 50 km/hr. The pace bike moves off the track with two laps to go before cyclists jockey for positions to finish the race.

On the water

Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe

Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe captured canoe sprint silver in the women’s C-1 200-metre race on Thursday, taking second place in 46.786 seconds. American Nevin Harrison took the gold with a time of 45.932, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan claimed bronze at Sea Forest Waterway. Canadian teammate Katie Vincent finished eighth in 47.834 seconds.


Canada's Damian Warner

Damian Warner is inching closer to the top of the podium, continuing to hold a commanding lead in the decathlon with only two events left to complete. The Canadian posted an Olympic decathlon record of 13.46 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles before going on to place third in discus. Warner also tied a personal best in pole vault after clearing 4.90 metres on Thursday.

Warner leads with just javelin and the 1,500 metre left in the competition. Australian Ashley Moloney sits in second place while fellow Canadian Pierce LePage rounds out the top three. The last two events are set for later Thursday.


Canada's Meaghan Benfeito

Canada’s medal chances were dashed after Meaghan Benfeito failed to qualify for 10-metre platform diving final. The 32-year-old missed the 12th and final qualifying spot on her fourth dive of the day, finishing in the 13th spot, wrapping up her time at the Tokyo Olympics.

On the track

Canada's Andre De Grasse

The Canadian men’s 4×100-metre relay team is off to the finals after sprinter Andre De Grasse made a late comeback for the team, crossing the finish line in second place, just hours after winning himself a gold medal in the 200-metre sprint.


Brooke Henderson

Canada’s Brooke Henderson had a better day on the course, bouncing back to shoot a 3-under 68 in the second round of the women’s golf tournament. Henderson is currently tied for the 34th spot, sitting at even par.

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The cost of down payments in Canadian cities skyrocketed in 2021, new data shows – CTV News



Skyrocketing housing prices in 2021 are driving up how long it would take for homebuyers to save for a down payment, new data shows.

The National Bank of Canada (NBC)’s latest report found that during the second quarter of 2021, housing affordability has worsened by the widest margin in 27 years. The report examined housing and mortgage trends in 10 cities across the country.

To save up enough for a down payment for an average home in Canada, it would take just short of six years – or 69 months – if you saved at a rate of 10 per cent of their median pre-tax household income.

This marked a notable jump compared to the 57 months of saving at that same rate this time last year.

And, if you live in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, it could take decades – assuming you put away 10 per cent of your before-tax household income.

Here’s a breakdown of how much time it would take to save up for a down payment for an average home or condo, if you saved a tenth of your pre-tax income:


  • Standing head and shoulders above the other cities, it would take a staggering 34 years – or 411 months – of saving to be able to afford a home here.
  • The average home here costs $1.47 million.
  • It would take just under five years – 57 months — to save up enough for a down payment on an average condo in Vancouver.


  • An estimated 28 years, or 338 months, of saving to make a down payment for a non-condo home, with the total price of a representative home set at $1.03M.
  • It would take 47 months of saving to afford a condo down payment.



  • To save enough for a down payment for a home here would take 26.5 years – or 318 months.
  • The average home here costs approximately $1.2 million.
  • To afford a condo down payment here would take just under five years, or 56 months.


  • At a 10-per-cent saving rate, you’re looking at 6.5 years of saving up to afford a down payment for a home — and around four years to afford a condo in this city.


  • Trying to save up a home down payment in Canada’s capital could take a little over four years.



  • Saving up a tenth of your pre-tax earnings for 3.5 years would mean you could afford a down payment on a representative home in Montreal
  • The total price tag of a non-condo home sits at $492,777.
  • Trying to afford a condo here could take you just a little more than two and a half years of saving.


  • You’d need to save up for just under three years – or 34 months – to afford a home here, or about half that time to afford a condo.


  • Potential homebuyers were looking at 2.5 years – or 30 months – of saving if you’re looking to make a down payment on a non-condo home.
  • The average total cost of a non-condo home was $428,600.



  • Affording a down payment on a $370,000 home could take homebuyers about 2.3 years worth of saving.
  • Home buyers needed 18 months to save up a down payment on a condo.

Quebec City

  • The price of a representative home in Quebec’s capital is $330 742 and it would take the average Canadian household just over two years – or 28 months — to save up a down payment.

Researchers also found mortgage payments now make up 45 per cent of the income for a representative household, slightly above the average amount (43 per cent of income) needed in 1980.

NBC noted that during most of the past two years, income growth and lower interest rates have been conducive to improving affordability.

But 2021 has been a stark contrast, the bank said, with home price increases outpacing income growth and mortgage interest rates also rising.

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