VICTORIA (May 28, 2018) – Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux has introduced the Building (New Housing Access) Amendment Act in the Legislature.
If passed, it will require that all new multi-unit housing be built with accessibility considerations in mind. A percentage of all new housing would be required to meet the criteria of ‘adaptable,’ ‘SAFERhome certified’ or ‘visitable.’
Cadieux says that while standards are readily available, actually using them and building to them has largely been optional. “We have had accessible standards for public spaces for decades. As a society, we have acknowledged that inclusion and access are fundamental rights,” says Cadieux. “Arguably we have done quite well, but we have missed a fundamental need– housing.”
Statistics Canada says almost 14 per cent of the Canadian population aged 15 years or older— 3.8 million individuals— reported having a disability that limited their daily activities. In B.C. that number was slightly higher at 14.8 per cent. In the population over age 65, the incidence rate climbs to 33 per cent. More than 40 per cent have severe disabilities and 7 per cent have disabilities requiring assistive devices.
“People with disabilities face many unique barriers to full access and inclusion in B.C., with none greater than the lack of accessible, adaptable, and visitable housing,” says Dr. Chris McBride with SCI-BC. “Unfortunately, with a critical lack of available options, there is very little we can do to help and all too often it leads to social isolation and all of the negative consequences that accompany it. B.C. needs to increase the available accessible and visitable housing stock throughout the province by ensuring new, multi-unit housing developments include enforceable minimum standards for adaptable and visitable units.”
“We must commit with fortitude to delivering inclusive homes that meet a wide range of needs in those inclusive communities we regularly champion,” says Cadieux. “Whether for families with young children, somebody returning home after a hospital stay, a young person with a disability looking to move for employment, or an older person with increasing mobility impairment— providing accessibility and flexibility in all new homes should be one of the key tests against which we measure our success.”
Cadieux has introduced her bill during National AccessAbility Week which runs until June 2, 2018.