Town Hall Meeting

The Goals of the Accessibility Committee

The 20×30 project is aimed, really, at slowly addressing past cultural insensitivities towards people who face physical barriers.
Two to three key take aways from the meeting are that it is a slow process and there is very little in the way of building code changes.
There are alot of bodies, consultants within the committee structure as well, who are trying to leave no stone unturned regarding this issue.


Building Codes and the Accessibility Act

Still follow those rules and the provincial and federal building codes outlined years ago.
And there isnt room for interpretation. Building codes are building codes. It’s a narrow framework that construction companies follow.
What it means for renters and house hunters
That we will continue to see housing requests as “extras” or “luxuries”…I might add that health care isnt a luxury, it is a privilege used by all Canadians so why should housing be subjected to archaic laws and prosaic thinking?



Two to three key take aways from the meeting

Building codes are building codes. It’s a narrow framework that construction companies and developers must follow because there are a heady amount of safety and compliance issues within the codes. The issue is applying easement policies to some codes in order to create some flexibility. The committee is also hampered by the Halifax Charter. One of the committee members mentioned the idea of “changing the charter to provide incentives for taxi drivers” but don’t quote me on this… because it would be great to have funding for developers and property managers so I tread carefully with that last idea.

Where they made progress within the Act? There was room for discourse. They were able to add quite a few amendments however 60% was taken out. Reading and examining the document online, there is a a lot of emphasis on policy, procedure for the Advisory Committee, where it starts to theoretically diverge is at policies specifically around accessibility and subsequent offence and penalty. Again, there is heavy emphasis on this portion and it might discourage people to view this act in a positive light. It also might be hard to enforce when barrier-free codes are still a grey area and all developers, architects and contractors still defer to the tried and true building codes. How do you validate the work that Rick Hansen is doing through his certification efforts? For example, a tenant can opt to display RHFAC ratings certificates but, once they leave the apartment or the lease is up, the certification is null and void and the new tenant can opt to re-certify.

Make a link.

What it means for property managers

Very limited since it isn’t any portion linked to the Tenancy Act. Again, still follow those rules and the Provincial and Federal building codes outlined and established years ago.

News.

Toronto Star recently published an article stating public bodies have 1 year to make accessibility plans.
Mark Furey-Justice Minister was quoted as saying, “…under provincial standards that are being developed…”
Question What are those provincial standards? Do we have to reinvent the wheel or is it a question of adding more flexibility to existing codes?

He stated it would be “more than simply modifying buildings”
What are those plans, specifically to address the constraints of the building codes?

It is certainly food for thought.

Here is a link to the comments cited above:


What it Means for Renters and Home Buyers

Sustainability housing and having an exciting exchange of ideas with Darren Young.

What it means for renters and house hunters
That we will continue to see housing requests as “extras” or “luxuries”… health care isnt a luxury…so why should housing be subjected to archaic laws and prosaic thinking.
One of the most positive conversations was with Darren Young…who excitedly pulled out a picture of a stair that morphs into a ramp. People on the Accessability Committee are genuinely excited about the change but quite hampered by achievable goals to make effective change.
Sustainability/barrier free housing and having an exciting exchange of ideas with Darren Young (stairs that turn into ramps etc); the Japanese model of easement, aging homes for an aging population and the idea that homes need to change and adjust over time to meet the needs of its dwellers.

(stairs that turn into ramps etc); the Japanese model of easement, aging homes for an aging population and the idea that homes need to change and adjust over time to meet the needs of its dwellers.

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