Canadians are fortunate to have universal health care, but not all costs for treatment are covered.Donate Today
In Canada, many complex medical treatments are only accessible in major city centers where there is a concentration of medical specialists. While we as Canadians are fortunate to have a universal health care system to pay for treatment costs, not all costs outside of the actual treatment are covered. One of these large uncovered costs includes the costs of relocation and accommodation required in order to receive or be eligible for treatment.
It's no secret that Toronto has very high rent costs and is currently experiencing a shortage in the rental housing market. The cost of rental housing creates severe financial strain in order to recieve life-saving treatments - a situation that no Canadian should have to make.
The cost of rental housing creates severe financial strain in order to recieve life-saving treatments.
Most traditional leases signed with private landlords are a minimum one-year in duration. This makes it extremely difficult to find suitable rental housing that matches the treatment duration. Most rentals are also unfurnished which means patients and their families have to purchase furniture and housewares.
Additionally, the quality and consistency in rental properties are highly variable. Patients from remote locations need to book properties unseen which exposes them to the risk of securing substandard rentals.
The time required to find proper rental housing is considerable - another task to add to a patient's list when trying to relocate for treatment. In addition, most landlords require proof of income, letters from employers and other information to ensure that the tenant is capable of paying rent. This eliminates any possibility of patients in financial need securing accommodation in this way.
Temporary housing companies do have more flexible lease agreements, are easy to book and are furnished with basic necessities and housewares. However, the issue with temporary housing is the cost.
Furnished rentals in Toronto go for $4,000+ per month for one-bedroom and $5,000+ per month for two-bedroom units (the latter may be needed to accommodate a caregiver). Over the course of treatment, these costs become prohibitive .
While most provincial health care programs provide treatment at no cost, there is very little support when it comes to relocation costs.
The province of Ontario provides only a $650 monthly stipend for accommodation costs; other provincial governments offer similar underfunded solutions.
Aside from having to navigate the housing challenges, most patients faced with having to relocate for treatment are also having to leave their jobs.
This leaves patients and their families in a precarious financial situation with many needing to sell their homes or other assets to afford the move. In some very unfortunate cases, there is no option for treatment due to the magnitude of the costs involved.
As a consequence, many patients are forced to run fundraising campaigns and seek assistance from their local community
StayWell is seeking to help solve this gap in the Canadian public health care system. Through the support of our donors and by leveraging furnished rental inventory in the corporate housing community via the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), we provide partially or fully subsidized temporary housing to patients who must relocate to Toronto.
Take a look inside one of our units: