In honour of National AccessAbility Week (May 31 to June 4), we want to tell you about the information we have on making housing safe and accessible for everyone. This is important if you are interested in our National Housing Strategy funding programs.
Accessibility is an important part of how CMHC sees the future of housing. Our goal is to have all Canadians living in a home they can afford and meets their needs by 2030.
Canadian housing has changed over the past few generations. We know that many of the common features in our homes are not for everyone. Consider these 2 facts:
- 16% (approximately) of people living in Canada have a disability
- 33% of people living in Canada aged 65 years or over has mobility problems
That is a big portion of our population. Despite these numbers, we find:
- many doors are too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair
- a lot of entryways are too steep or lack a ramp to enter
- those with mobility issues — seniors in particular — may find some bathroom fixtures unsafe
- Interior lighting might not be sufficient for someone with low vision
- appliances and alarms are designed and often assume that the user has good hearing
To solve these issues builders and contractors are now designing and adapting homes to suit all people — in all shapes and sizes, from infants to seniors, with various abilities and skills. Needs may change over time, but the homes remain accessible.
Even residents who can use all the features of their homes are subject to accidents and aging.
Canada’s population is aging: population projections show that the population aged 55 years and over will increase, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of Canada’s population. By 2047, 32% of Canada’s total population will be in this age cohort compared to 26% in 2017. The houses that worked well for them during their early adulthood and middle age might not have the features that some seniors need to get around.
Making housing more accessible is compassionate. It’s also a matter of self-interest.
People have diverse conditions and abilities that change how they experience and use the houses they live in and visit. The range of possible adaptations to those houses can seem bewildering at first.
Most of the responsibility for making Canada’s housing stock more accessible falls on municipal governments. They decide on the accessibility requirements for their communities and for each new development. The responsibility also falls on developers, who must adapt their designs to meet regulatory requirements.
The good thing is that these needs have been recognized and builders and municipalities across Canada are working on making homes more accessible. The National Housing Strategy also has funding programs that will aid large renovation or new build projects for accessible housing.
We’ve also compiled a list of things that you can do to make your home more accessible.