AFTER a year of inaction by John Horgan’s NDP government, Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux on Thursday reintroduced the Building (New Housing Access) Amendment Act to the Legislature. If passed, this bill will require new multi-unit housing projects to provide a minimum percentage of homes that meet adaptable standards, ensuring British Columbians with mobility issues and disabilities can find housing.
“Nearly 15 per cent of British Columbians report having a disability that limits their daily activities, but the reality is many of these folks still don’t have accessible housing options,” said Cadieux. “This bill addresses the growing shortage of accessible homes in B.C. – an area where John Horgan has so far refused to act.”
By the year 2032, 48 per cent of Canadians will be over the age of 65 and require unique features in their homes to prevent falls and injury. A SAFERhome-certified unit is designed to anticipate the needs of residents and prevent in-home injuries, benefitting those with limited mobility and allowing seniors to live independently for a longer period of time.
“Housing designs continue to restrict access for people with disabilities,” said Stan Leyenhorst, Inclusive Design Specialist at Universal Access Design and Executive Director at SAFERhome Standards Society. “Universal design standards provide the solution by ensuring housing can be used by everyone, regardless of ability. Equitable housing is integral to inclusive communities.”
Cadieux said that although some developers are proactively adopting accessibility standards, legislation is needed to guarantee suitable housing for all British Columbians.
“Access is a fundamental right, but all too often housing is not considered in this conversation,” said Cadieux. “Inclusion isn’t a partisan issue. John Horgan needs to act to move us closer to a truly equal province.”