Originally published 11/16/2015
A critical failure of various governments is not to reevaluate some antiquated building standards; some laws and regulations are preventing people from obtaining sustainable and affordable housing.
In many municipalities, the minimum size you can have for a dwelling is dictated. How/if you can be off-grid is also determined. What services you must be connected to and pay for or where you can reside is dependent on home design and region. Further, there is a pile of grey areas and misunderstandings that municipalities are not equipped to deal with, though change is happening and we do see many Canadian cities working with citizens to figure out improvements.
Standards are made for a reason! Safety is chief among the building codes. However, we are in an age where affordable housing is a luxury among poor and middle-class, not a right. More than 4.5 million Canadians are having a hard time obtaining a reasonable home for rent or purchase, and much more are struggling to pay the current high costs of shelter they currently live in. Existing standards and conventional notions about housing values and sizes that prevent affordable housing must be rethought and rewritten/written out to support well-being, financial viability, sustainability, safety and low/no energy consumption.
As the ‘tiny home movement’ and other alternative housing solutions are promoted in Canada, we all must be diligent in the allowance for affordable housing in our municipalities and beyond. Let’s stand together Canada and resist the notion that all the existing requirements for a home serve all the needs of everyone equally. They do not. There are many examples of misaligned inequality that takes the options for affordable houses away from Canadian citizens.
Where does it start? You, and like-minded people; this is not just a mission of Tiny Home Alliance Canada or the other like-minded regional groups and activists in Canada– nor is it the sole responsibility of ‘the government’. It is about getting organised and working with all levels of citizens to achieve a better way– options.
Our organisation speaks the fact that across Canada groups are forming, getting active, large and organised enough to challenge and request clarification or changes from municipalities, federal and provincial governments. In the last couple of years, we have seen well over a dozen of these groups emerge– they represent hundreds of movers and shakers who seek a happy and affordable living through intelligent home design and space.
In the great country of Canada, we should be the most open to economical, flexible and sound housing choices.
R. Leonardo, T.H.A.C.