Data and Research

It has long been difficult to obtain detailed information on the residential living conditions of the student population. Existing rental market data (produced by the CMHC) does not identify student households, while Statistics Canada’s demographics provide few details on residential situations. UTILE is the only organization in Canada to have documented the realities of student tenants, thus providing an unprecedented portrait of the post-secondary housing landscape.

FLASH 2021

The FLASH 2021 is the first Canada-wide edition of the survey conducted by UTILE.

Facilitated by 71 partnerships with universities and student organizations across the country, UTILE was able to survey nearly one million students in all of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.

Research and thematic reports can be found in the News section of our website, as they are published.

FLASH 2021 in figures:

18 500
partner organizations
245 000
student renters in Quebec
1,5 M
student renters in Canada

In Quebec, approximately 245,000 post-secondary students rented in 2021.

Nearly 220,000 of these renters lived in conventional apartments on the private market, i.e. outside of a university residence. 

In Quebec, on average:

77% of university students are renters
  • 69% reside on the private market
  • 8% reside in university residences

Among student renters:

80% remain in the city of their studies during the summer
52% rent because their family home is too far from their place of study.
Average student rent in 2021
Increase in student rent over past 4 years

The vulnerability of student renters

Among university student renters:

earn $20,000 or less annually, including loans, grants, and parental assistance.
allocate more than 30% of their annual income, to rent.
of students who allocate more than 30% of their income to rent report precarious mental health.
of students are worried about paying their next month’s rent.

Life in a student apartment

of students reside in apartments requiring minor or major repairs
58% of students have experienced one or more of the following situations related to renting::
  • Feeling unsafe in their neighbourhood
  • Living in substandard or structurally unsafe housing
  • Mistreatment by their landlord
  • Living with people with whom they do not feel safe

Student housing from East to West

Click on the different cities to learn more.

The History of the FLASH/PHARE Survey

The first edition of the PHARE (la Prospection des habitudes et aspirations résidentielles étudiantes) survey was conducted in 2014. Initiated by UTILE, the survey collected 11,000 responses across four university campuses and led to several research projects.

A second edition took place in 2017, collecting over 17,000 responses across Quebec. The resulting research has been cited in media outlets in many regions, in briefs produced by student societies, and used in a study funded by the Société d'habitation du Québec, among others.

Given the impact of the data, the partners agreed to maintain a three-year cycle for the university survey. In 2019, UTILE coordinated the first PHARE survey at the college level.