Canada to Develop a New Accessible Homes Standard

Americas, Built Environment, November 24 2020

CANADA: The federal government, through the National Housing Strategy (NHS) delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is providing $190,000 in funding to the CSA Group to support research and develop a national standard for affordable, adaptable, and accessible homes across the country.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Research is key to finding new, innovative approaches to help address Canada’s housing challenges and make it easier for Canadians to find a home that meets their needs and that they can afford,” said Ahmed Hussen, the families, children, and social development minister.

Research informing the new proposed standard will use established methodologies to contribute to the development of new knowledge, and the synthesis of existing knowledge, that will have a positive impact on accessibility, affordability, and adaptability.

As a member of the advisory panel, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) will extend their expertise in housing accessibility. RHF intends to use the proposed national standard as the basis of a new Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) module enabling RHFAC Professionals to rate the accessibility of homes. Based on CSA B651-18, Accessible design for the built environment, RHFAC is the only national program that rates, certifies, and celebrates the meaningful accessibility of buildings from the perspective of persons with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities.

The proposed new accessible homes standard will help support:

  • the development of affordable and adaptable accessible homes across Canada by providing evidence-informed guidance; and
  • the application of new and existing knowledge related to best practices for the design, construction, and modification of affordable and adaptable accessible homes.

The need for accessible housing 

Public polling released by the Angus Reid Institute in January 2019 shows one in three Canadians have issues getting around their own home and a majority are anticipating challenges moving around at home in the future.

“Having the opportunity to age at home is increasingly important to Canadians, and the need for accessible housing in Canada is a huge issue,” said Brad McCannell, vive-president of access and inclusion at RHF. “We are thrilled CSA Group will be developing this new residential standard and to incorporate it into RHFAC to help industry address this critical gap.”

“Consensus-based standards could help give Canadians greater options for accessible housing. Our accredited standards development process aims to create resources combining technical expertise and knowledge with meaningful and achievable targets that are in the public interest,” said Nancy Bestic, director of health and safety standards, CSA Group.

The proposed new accessible homes standard is scheduled to be published in May 2022.

Originally Published on Construction Canada

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