The Disability Community wants a suspension of the PDD Safety Standards Regulations until community conversations and an impact assessment are completed.
We all believe that safety is important but it is one part of a broader discussion which should also include choice, rights, reasonable accommodation to live in the community and input into the policies that affect your life.
About the Safety Standards
In Alberta people with developmental disabilities who receive overnight supports have been singled out. For them to continue to receive the PDD supports that they require to live in the community they must go through the following inspections and approvals in their homes including:
· PDD Safety Standards Inspections
· Health Inspections (by an Executive Officer under the Public Health Act),
· Fire Inspections (by a Safety Codes Officer under the Alberta Fire Code),
· Safety Codes Act regulations– under Municipal Affairs that covers building, electrical, plumbing, etc., and
· Zoning Approval – approval by the municipality on whether the residence is approved for its current usage.
These regulations are having a profound impact on the people with disabilities who have been forced to go through the safety requirements. These regulations could severely limit the ability to find or keep “suitable” housing in the community for people who need supports in their homes. Some examples of our concerns include:
- Landlords are reconsidering renting to people with disabilities because they don’t have to go through the inspections and possible renovations with non-disabled citizens,
- Homes are requiring extensive renovations including sprinkler systems, new windows and doors, and fire suppression building materials with no clear understanding of who is paying for these changes,
- People are having to choose between their supports and the home they live in if their home doesn't pass the inspections,
- There is inconsistent practice of who receives the inspections - not based on your disability - but on how the services are delivered to a person,
- No stakeholders were consulted (the disability community, families, guardians, service providers, other systems) in this policy so many groups are concerned including other social housing organizations, landlord and tenant groups and municipal governments,
- People with disabilities believe that their rights are being violated because there is no choice in having these inspections - which is different than for non-disabled citizens.