By Patricia Arsenault, Executive Vice President, Research Consulting Services | May 25, 2020

Employment income isn’t the only thing being impacted by COVID-19. Supplemental income, including those from short-term rental properties, are also taking a hit.

Employment levels in Canada continue to take a COVID-19-related beating. According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, combined job losses totaled over 3 million for March and April, wiping out all of the gains since the recession of the latter 2000s.

And it’s not just a simple “job or no job” situation. Among those who are still employed, many have experienced income reductions (due to fewer hours worked, declines in variable/commission-type pay, etc.).

Employment income support programs are helping to offset some of the job-related income losses.  But in addition to job-related income, many Canadian households obtain supplemental income from rental properties, as shown by data from Altus Group’s FIRM Survey.

Altus Group's FIRM Survey chart - supplement rental income in jeopardy for many Canadian households

About 1 in 20 households own at least one rental investment property – some of which are basement suites being used to help with mortgage payments.  For some of these owners, tenants currently may be struggling to pay their rent.

Many Canadian households also rent out properties – either space in their principal residence or secondary properties, such as vacation properties or rental investment properties – on a short-term basis through online booking services. Declines in demand, as well as restrictions in some jurisdictions on short-term or vacation rentals, suggest income from this source is down at present.


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