Although we hear so much about the high home prices of Canadian major cities like Toronto, everywhere from Vancouver, BC to Charlottetown, PEI is struggling with high home prices and a significant lack of affordable housing. Despite the fact that tiny home-based minimalist living could be one possible solution to high home prices in major Canadian cities, it’s being shut out by some.

For a single-family home in Toronto or Vancouver, you’re looking at a value of $1.5 million. Canadians save, save, and save for the down-payment for their first home. For those fortunate enough to remain at home rent-free living with family, they may make enough moving money around their student debts to get there. In the meantime, for new immigrant families, minimum-wage workers, the disabled, the vulnerable, and those who do not have the luxury of financial support from family, they’ll likely never get there.

Tiny homes, ranging anywhere from 200 sq. ft. to two or three times that size, may be the answer. Even so, there are specific rules in major cities in tiny homes, micro-suites, and laneway homes that could prevent people from having access to minimalist living. Vancouver residents interested in purchasing a tiny home within city limits are currently being denied by local government who questions whether these small suites are “livable”. Don’t get us wrong – some smaller units certainly can be questioned as to whether they are livable or not. In reality though, tiny homes – that is, those built to be tiny homes – are dream houses for some. Canadians anywhere should be allowed access to tiny home-based minimalist living.

Though tiny homes may not be a full solution to high home prices, they may make for a partial solution. Tiny homes can accommodate so much in a design – including a full-height fridge, oven, cooktop, kitchen sink, dishwasher, washer, dryer, three-piece bathroom, a multi-functional living room, a bedroom, and a dining space. When designed correctly, tiny homes, laneway homes, and micro-suites are as livable as anywhere else in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Moncton, St. John’s, Charlottetown, or Halifax.

Home affordability remains a growing concern in each of the aforementioned cities and yet, there’s little support in government for laneway housing or tiny homes. As long as these cities refuse to allow permits for these homes, this denies a partial solution that’s worth exploring.

Tiny home neighbourhoods could potentially house everyone from young families to aging seniors, low-income individuals, and those seeking to embody minimalist living ideals. In Seattle, tiny homes are being used to combat homelessness, providing shelter to some of the city’s most vulnerable and they’re very much facing the same bureaucratic struggle we continue in Canada. Beyond the amazing amount of good tiny homes can do for Canada’s most vulnerable, we are also not accommodating the demographic of people who wish to forego the materials, the space, and the “luxuries” they’ve been told they should want.