Rent subsidies: A helping hand for low-income earners

Rent subsidies: A helping hand for low-income earners


Considering the significant increase in rent prices for 2023 in Quebec and elsewhere in the country, the provincial government is maintaining its Programme allocation-logement to help low-income earners.


The Programme allocation-logement (“Shelter Allowance Program”)


Apartment with plants


First of all, the Programme allocation-logement, better known by its acronym PAL, is a financial assistance program designed for families and individuals in need.

More specifically, PAL is aimed at low-income individuals and families who are allocating too much of their budget to cope with rising rents.

Between October 1, 2023 and September 30, 2024, tenant assistance will consist of a monthly payment of $100, $150 or $170, depending on your financial situation.

As stated in the normative agenda of the 2023-2024 program,

“In Quebec, it is estimated that nearly 600,000 households have a housing affordability problem and spend more than 30% of their budget on rent. These include many families, seniors, people on social assistance programs and workers whose ability to increase their sources of income is limited, and whose living conditions may be adversely affected by price trends on the private housing market”.[Translation]

Basically, the government initiative is designed to give low-income individuals and households a helping hand with their rent payments.


Eligibility for PAL


From the outset, it should be noted that as of this year, an individual is eligible for the program if “he or she or, where applicable, his or her spouse has at least one dependent child or is fifty years of age or older”. [Translation] 

In addition, to be eligible for the PAL, an individual's family income must not exceed the maximum allowable income set out in the following table:

Family status

Maximum eligible income as at October 1, 2023

Single person


Couple without children


Two-parent family with one child

Single parent with one or two children


Two-parent family with two
children or more

Single parent family with three children or more



Each year, the government indexes the maximum income “based on the Market Basket Measure” of the CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) for the reference year. The next indexation will take place on October 1, 2024.

From that perspective, the housing units eligible under the Programme allocation-logement can be quickly summarized. They include the following:

  • A dwelling owned by the individual or his/her spouse
  • Housing available on the private rental market
  • Housing provided by a housing cooperative or NPO
  • A dwelling located in a building where the services of an intermediate resource or a foster family are offered

The following dwellings, however, are excluded:

  • Low-cost housing
  • A unit in affordable housing accommodations
  • Dwellings already subsidized by another program

Finally, to qualify for this housing allowance, you must meet the following general criteria:

  • You must be a resident in Quebec at the time of application
  • You are not tax-exempt for 2022
  • You have filed a tax return for the 2022 tax year
  • On December 31, 2022, the total value of your and your spouse's bank accounts, tax-free savings accounts and investments other than registered plans did not exceed $50,000.

Needless to say, your family income also did not exceed the maximum income to qualify for this allowance.

In 2023, approximately 285,000 low-income households met eligibility requirement for the PAL, based on the new parameters. Moreover, given the current situation, this number could swell in 2024. In view of this, government financial assistance could be revised upwards in the coming years.

Finally, since the Programme allocation-logement is reaching an ever-increasing number of people in Quebec, two other measures are available to help low-income citizens.

These include low-cost housing (HLM) and rent supplements. In the first case, tenants receiving such aid are selected on the basis of their socio-economic status. They pay rent equal to 25% of their annual income.

Rent supplements enable low-income families to reside in private, cooperative or NPO housing. Here too, tenants pay a rent equivalent to 25% of their annual income.

In conclusion, this overview of existing programs shows that there is financial assistance available to a segment of the population in need.

For a more comprehensive view of renting in Quebec and Canada, please consult our various articles, especially the one on rent increases in Quebec. Stay informed with Vistoo!