Shelter Capacity Report 2018

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Introduction

The Shelter Capacity Report is a descriptive account of capacity statistics for emergency homeless shelters in Canada.  The number of emergency shelter facilities and the number of permanent beds are reported for each province and territory, as well as by community.  In addition, brief overviews of Transitional Housing facilities and Violence Against Women shelters are provided in the appendices.

This report is provided annually by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). The information in this report was obtained from the National Service Provider List (NSPL), a comprehensive listing of homeless shelters in Canada. This list is maintained by ESDC as part of the National Homelessness Information System (NHIS), a data development initiative that focuses on the collection and analysis of homeless shelter data in Canada.

2018 Update

ESDC conducted a comprehensive update of the NSPL in 2018. Between August and December 2018, community entities (CE) were given the opportunity to update and validate information on services in their community. There was an 85% response rate from designated communities. Services in the remaining 15%, as well as non-designated communities with no CE were contacted directly to update their information. This approach sets a new baseline for the NSPL and ensures higher accuracy of findings. As a result, changes in the reported number of shelters and beds between 2017 and 2018 primarily reflect updated information rather than actual changes in national shelter capacity. 

Types of shelters

Emergency shelters

Facilities that provide temporary, short-term accommodation for homeless individuals and families. This may or may not include other services such as food, clothing or counselling.

Transitional housing

Facilities that provide temporary shelter, but can be differentiated from emergency shelters by the longer length of stay and greater intensity of support services offered to clients. Transitional housing is an intermediate step between emergency shelter and permanent housing. Support services help clients gain stability and self-sufficiency to maintain permanent housing. Stays are typically between three months and three years.

Violence against women shelters

Facilities that provide temporary shelter to single women or women with children fleeing domestic abuse. They may function in either a crisis capacity or as transitional or second-stage housing

Emergency shelters and transitional housing are further characterized according to the clients they serve:

  • Men’s shelters provide services to adult males.  Some also accept youth.
  • Women’s shelters provide services to adult females.  Some also accept youth.
  • General shelters provide services to adult males and females.  Some also accept youth.
  • Youth shelters provide services to youth.  Shelters have varying definitions of youth, often ranging from 12 to 29 years of age.
  • Family shelters provide services to families and adults with dependents.  Some also accept single adult women without dependents.

National shelter capacity

Figure 1: Total number of emergency shelters and permanent shelter beds in Canada.
Text description follows
Figure 1 - Text version

There are 392 emergency shelters and 15,859 permanent shelter beds in Canada.

Emergency shelter beds by clientele served

Figure 2: Emergency shelter beds in Canada by clientele served
Text description follows
Figure 2 - Text version
  • General 38%
  • Men’s 30%
  • Women’s 13%
  • Youth 9%
  • Family 10%
  • 38% of shelter beds are in general shelters that serve both men and women.
  • Men’s shelters account for a greater percentage of all shelter beds (30%) compared to women’s shelters (13%).
  • Family shelters account for 10% of all shelter beds.
  • Shelters that exclusively serve youth tend to be smaller in size. Although they make up almost a quarter of all shelters, they account only for 9% of all emergency shelter beds.

Community

The majority of emergency shelter beds (81%) are found in large cities. While smaller communities have fewer shelter beds, they still account for nearly half (41%) of all emergency shelters.

The average number of beds per shelter is 18 in small communities versus 55 in large communities.

Figure 3: Emergency shelters and permanent shelter beds between large and small communities in Canada
Text description follows
Figure 3 - Text version
  • In Canada, 41% of emergency shelters are found in small communities with a population of less than 300,000.
  • In Canada, 59% of emergency shelters are found in large communities with a population of 300,000 or more.
  • In Canada, 19% of permanent shelter beds are found in small communities with a population of less than 300,000.
  • In Canada, 81% of permanent shelter beds are found in large communities with a population of 300,000 or more.

National summary: Emergency shelters (2018)*

Emergency shelters and shelter beds by year
Province/Territory 2018 2017 2016
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Newfoundland and Labrador 7 67 6 61 5 53
Nova Scotia 9 220 9 217 8 208
New Brunswick 9 157 9 148 9 150
Prince Edward Island 1 7 1 7 1 7
Québec 65 1,757 75 1,934 74 1,948
Ontario 149 6,898 149 6,764 147 6,622
Manitoba 13 650 15 661 15 661
Saskatchewan 18 476 21 443 21 439
Alberta 35 3,304 36 3,182 36 3,182
British Columbia 78 2,170 77 2,069 76 2,019
Yukon 3 27 3 27 3 27
Northwest Territories 3 82 3 76 4 100
Nunavut 2 44 2 34 2 34
Canada 392 15,859 407 15,623 401 15,450

*Changes in the reported number of shelters and beds during the years 2016 to 2018 may reflect updated information rather than actual changes in capacity.

Emergency shelters by clientele served (2018)

Emergency shelters and shelter beds by clientele
Province/Territory General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Newfoundland and Labrador 3 32 0 0 0 0 3 20 1 15 7 67
Nova Scotia 1 16 3 138 3 42 2 24 0 0 9 220
New Brunswick 4 82 2 45 2 20 1 10 0 0 9 157
Prince Edward Island 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7
Québec 20 363 7 887 12 220 25 274 1 13 65 1,757
Ontario 27 1,053 39 2,701 27 1,067 32 774 24 1,303 149 6,898
Manitoba 8 520 0 0 0 0 2 24 3 106 13 650
Saskatchewan 2 56 6 156 7 225 3 39 0 0 18 476
Alberta 17 2,485 4 320 4 197 8 132 2 170 35 3,304
British Columbia 43 1,338 14 483 10 221 10 126 1 2 78 2,170
Yukon 1 14 1 2 0 0 1 11 0 0 3 27
Northwest Territories 0 0 1 49 1 25 1 8 0 0 3 82
Nunavut 0 0 1 32 1 12 0 0 0 0 2 44
Canada 126 5,959 79 4,820 67 2,029 88 1,442 32 1,609 392 15,859

Emergency shelters and shelter beds by community (2018)

Newfoundland and Labrador
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Happy Valley – Goose Bay 1 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8
Natuashish 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 3
St. John’s 2 24 0 0 0 0 2 17 1 15 5 56
Total 3 32 0 0 0 0 3 20 1 15 7 67
Nova Scotia
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Halifax 0 0 2 126 2 36 1 20 0 0 5 182
New Glasgow 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 1 4
Sydney 0 0 1 12 1 6 0 0 0 0 2 18
Truro 1 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 16
Total 1 16 3 138 3 42 2 24 0 0 9 220
New Brunswick
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Bathurst 1 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12
Fredericton 1 10 1 25 1 10 0 0 0 0 3 45
Moncton 2 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 60
Saint John 0 0 1 20 1 10 1 10 0 0 3 40
Total 4 82 2 45 2 20 1 10 0 0 9 157
Prince Edward Island
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Charlottetown 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7
Total 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7
Quebec
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Alma 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Drummondville 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 18 0 0 2 18
Fermont 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6
Gatineau 1 55 0 0 0 0 2 16 0 0 3 71
Joliette 1 6 0 0 0 0 2 21 0 0 3 27
La Pocatière 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 0 0 1 9
Mont-Laurier 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9
Montreal 7 132 4 811 9 185 9 125 1 13 30 1,266
Quebec City 2 52 1 39 3 35 4 37 0 0 10 163
Rimouski 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 0 0 1 10
Rouyn-Noranda 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 15
Saguenay 0 0 1 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 29
Saint-Georges 1 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 23
Saint-Hyacinthe 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 0 0 1 9
Salaberry-de-Valleyfield 1 20 0 0 0 0 1 9 0 0 2 29
Sherbrooke 1 18 1 8 0 0 1 9 0 0 3 35
Trois-Rivières 2 26 0 0 0 0 1 11 0 0 3 37
Total 20 363 7 722 12 220 25 274 1 13 65 1,757
Ontario
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Barrie-Simcoe 2 38 2 34 0 0 1 15 0 0 5 87
Brantford 1 36 1 28 0 0 1 20 0 0 3 84
Cobourg 1 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20
Cochrane 0 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6
Dufferin Region 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20 0 0 1 20
Durham Region 0 0 1 40 1 45 1 13 1 20 4 118
Guelph 0 0 1 22 1 16 1 16 1 0 4 54
Halton Region 1 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0* 2 32
Hamilton 0 0 3 215 3 51 1 20 1 103 8 389
Kenora 1 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20
Kingston 1 29 0 0 0 0 1 15 1 19 3 63
Lindsay 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 19 1 19
London 2 58 2 198 1 10 1 36 1 41 7 343
Niagara Region 2 55 2 32 2 40 2 20 1 18 9 165
Nipissing/North Bay 1 19 0 0 1 10 0 0 0 0 2 29
Ottawa 1 76 3 459 2 125 1 28 3 277 10 965
Owen Sound 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0* 1 0
Peel Region 1 119 1 86 0 0 2 54 1 225 5 484
Peterborough 0 0 1 40 1 10 0 0 1 30 3 80
Red Lake 1 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 16
Sarnia 1 25 1 20 0 0 1 9 1 3 4 57
Sault Ste. Marie 0 0 1 23 1 7 1 12 1 4 4 46
Sioux Lookout 1 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20
Sudbury 0 0 1 22 0 0 1 16 1 26 3 64
Thunder Bay 1 42 1 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 59
Toronto 5 244 14 1,347 12 715 9 391 4 382 44 3,079
Waterloo Region 1 78 1 51 0 0 4 47 1 66 7 242
Windsor 2 108 1 31 1 11 0 0 0 0 4 150
Woodstock 1 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 2 28
York Region 0 0 1 30 1 27 3 42 1 60 6 159
Total 27 1,053 39 2,701 27 1,067 32 774 24 1,303 149 6,898

* This is an emergency motel program with no fixed capacity. They only provide a bed in a motel when it is needed.

Manitoba
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Brandon 1 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12 2 37
Dauphin 1 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 17
Flin Flon 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10
Swan River 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9
The Pas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 34 1 34
Thompson 1 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 24
Winnipeg 3 435 0 0 0 0 2 24 1 60 6 519
Total 8 520 0 0 0 0 2 24 3 106 13 650
Saskatchewan
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Moose Jaw 0 0 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10
North Battleford 1 34 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 34
Prince Albert 1 22 0 0 1 50 0 0 0 0 2 72
Regina 0 0 2 64 2 76 1 15 0 0 5 155
Saskatoon 0 0 3 82 4 99 2 24 0 0 9 205
Total 2 56 6 156 7 225 3 39 0 0 18 476
Alberta
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Brocket 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Calgary 3 1,723 1 80 2 61 1 18 2 170 9 2,052
Edmonton 2 330 1 180 2 136 3 81 0 0 8 727
Grande Prairie 1 92 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 2 104
High Level 1 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20
Lac La Biche 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9
Lethbridge 1 80 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 2 88
Lloydminster 0 0 1 28 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 28
Medicine Hat 1 30 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 31
Red Deer 2 72 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 3 84
Standoff 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Strathmore 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10
Wood Buffalo 2 119 1 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 151
Total 17 2,485 4 320 4 197 8 132 2 170 35 3,304
British Columbia
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Abbotsford 1 20 0 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 2 26
Campbell River 1 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 22
Chetwynd 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
Chilliwack 2 57 0 0 0 0 1 7 0 0 3 64
Courtenay 1 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 14
Dawson Creek 1 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8
Duncan 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 15
Fort Nelson 0 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6
Fort St. John 1 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 24
Hope 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4
Kamloops 1 42 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 2 46
Kelowna 0 0 1 60 1 20 1 10 0 0 3 90
Mission 1 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 20
Nanaimo 0 0 1 23 1 14 0 0 0 0 2 37
Nelson 1 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 17
Penticton 1 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 16
Port Alberni 1 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12
Prince George 1 30 1 21 1 30 1 10 0 0 4 91
Prince Rupert 1 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8
Quesnel 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 10
Sechelt 1 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 19
Smithers 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9
Squamish 1 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12
Terrace 1 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 16
Vancouver 18 821 8 328 6 132 4 79 0 0 36 1,360
Vernon 1 25 1 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 49
Victoria 1 84 1 21 1 25 1 10 1 2 5 142
Williams Lake 1 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 30
Total 43 1,338 14 483 10 221 10 126 1 2 78 2,170
Yukon
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Dawson City 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 2
Whitehorse 1 14 0 0 0 0 1 11 0 0 2 25
Total 1 14 0 0 1 2 1 11 0 0 3 27
Northwest Territories
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Yellowknife 0 0 1 49 1 25 1 8 0 0 3 82
Total 0 0 1 49 1 25 1 8 0 0 3 82
Nunavut
Community General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Iqaluit 0 0 1 32 1 12 0 0 0 0 2 44
Total 0 0 1 32 1 12 0 0 0 0 2 44

Appendix A: Transitional housing by clientele served (2018)

Transitional housing in Canada by clientele served
Province/Territory General Men’s Women’s Youth Family Total
Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds Shelters Beds
Newfoundland and Labrador 1 74 0 0 1 3 2 25 0 0 4 102
Nova Scotia 0 0 1 19 4 55 3 45 0 0 8 119
New Brunswick 1 4 0 0 0 0 1 10 0 0 2 14
Prince Edward Island 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Québec 26 447 14 668 26 745 42 566 6 96 114 2,522
Ontario 23 519 18 646 24 398 34 442 5 183 104 2,188
Manitoba 6 144 2 58 0 0 2 27 0 0 10 229
Saskatchewan 5 106 5 88 5 65 6 62 1 7 22 328
Alberta 10 296 7 575 6 151 13 152 1 3 37 1,177
British Columbia 20 667 4 109 4 57 5 68 0 0 33 901
Yukon 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Northwest Territories 0 0 1 32 1 18 1 13 0 0 3 63
Nunavut 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 92 2,257 53 2,197 71 1,492 109 1,410 13 289 338 7,645
Figure 4: Transitional Housing by Clientele Served
Text description follows
Figure 4 - Text version
  • General 30%
  • Men’s 29%
  • Women’s 19%
  • Youth 18%
  • Family 4%

Appendix B: Violence against women shelters (2018)

Violence against women shelters in Canada
Province/Territory Shelters Beds
Newfoundland and Labrador 15 176
Nova Scotia 15 192
New Brunswick 18 298
Prince Edward Island 3 45
Québec 95 1,360
Ontario 119 2,466
Manitoba 17 364
Saskatchewan 14 283
Alberta 46 1,223
British Columbia 93 953
Yukon 5 49
Northwest Territories 6 44
Nunavut 5 41
Canada 451 7,494
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: