Manitoba homes for people with disabilities sit empty

Manitoba homes for people with disabilities have been affected due to changes in building code cause costs to skyrocket, community groups unable to foot bills.

Manitoba houses destined for people with disabilities are sitting empty after the province adopted the National Building Code. The newly created building code requires commercial fire systems to be purchased and installed by the community groups that support people with disabilities.

In the list of changes, there needs to be emergency lighting units, fire alarm panels, sprinklers, even special dry wall before anyone can move in.

“It’s heartbreaking to try and explain to individuals why they can’t move into their home,” said Hagedorn, executive director of Visions of Independence.

This had delayed move-in dates for their clients by more than a year and costing up to $100,000 more per house.

At least one of Visions of Independence’s clients has died waiting for that chance.

Hagedorn’s staff selected a man to live in the bungalow, but after his move-in date got delayed, he died waiting.

While Hagedorn’s group and others wait for the provincial government to sort it out, waiting lists are growing.

Manitoba homes for people with disabilities

In 2011, the province adopted National Building Code changes that classify these homes as commercial buildings, like a strip mall or a nursing home. Manitoba homes for people with disabilities need to conform with new legislation that will make for safer homes.

A spokesperson for the minister responsible for people with disabilities, Jennifer Howard, said the changes are a “concern.”

The above article was written by Ryan Hicks of CBC

It’s unfortunate to hear that people who are in desperate need of accommodations are prevented from moving into a comfortable home because of new building code legislation. On one hand the advocacy group for disabled would like to see their planning and efforts go through so that they can improve the quality of living for so many families that could benefit from their hard work.

On the other, Government groups have classified these residences as Commercial properties that require Fire Alarms, Strobe Lights, Sprinklers, Portable Extinguishers and Emergency Lighting for homes in an effort to ensure the safety of lives.

Clearly we can see that both sides are working for the best interests of the people, and we hope to see a resolution come out of this dispute soon.

SI Alarms has been providing security and safety prevention for 10 years, following strict codes and mandates throughout this time. We uphold and respect the law, and have bared witness to events that have happened that were in direct violation of certain legislation regarding safety. These rules are enforced to help reduce the risk of loss in lives. It is our belief that the Federal Government will not budge in changing these homes to a residential code.

We feel that they’ve outlined strong arguments, such as having strobe light indicators for the hearing impaired for proper notification in the event of a fire. Having a sprinkler system can only help people that are immobilized get to an exit successfully.

It is our opinion, that the Progressive Conservatives failed to acknowledge this segment of development properly. Instead of categorizing these homes as commercial, they should address it under a more relevant term perhaps, “Highly accommodating building code”. This is most likely the reason for a heated debate as it’s hard to grasp why it would be categorized as commercial, for a residential property and it should be renamed.

SI Alarms Ltd. has recently opened up a new fire and safety division that addresses fire alarms, emergency lighting units, sprinklers, portable extinguishers and other fire safety programs. If given the opportunity, we would be able to provide these builders with the hardware they need to get these people in the homes they deserve at a fraction of the price that was quoted as being $100,000. We’ll be reaching out to these groups to see if we can help as we continue to work and give back to our community.

We have partnered with Winnipeg Housing, The Manitoba’s Home Builders’ Association, and Karma properties Ltd. to provide security systems to new home owners and look forward in working with additional groups for their security needs.




  1. Nixon Delila  April 2, 2013

    I don’t think it’s fair AT ALL for these people to suffer any longer than they should. If the home is there, let them move in. I’m sure they have constant care so they don’t need all that extra infrastructure. I am happy to hear that my alarm company (SI Alarms) are in a position to help these builders and organization. I hope this happens soon.

    • SI Alarms - Stefan  April 2, 2013

      Thank you for the comment Nixon and welcome to our website. This situation is tough because the stakes are high, and people deserve better accommodations. Provincial law and the new National Fire Codes make it clear that certain devices need to be available to these homes. We would be more than happy to help given the opportunity.

      • Nixon Delila  April 2, 2013

        You guys have helped a family friend of mine that was a new comer to Winnipeg and was with Winnipeg Housing, it’s refreshing to see companies that care and directly position themselves to help.

  2. Jamie Smith  March 27, 2013

    Once again here is a typical example of our government wasting money on stupid changes. I can’t quite understand what our politicians are thinking when they decide to make life harder for the little guy, these people are disabled isn’t that enough stress on its own?


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