VisitAble Housing – First Nation Task Force

                                    BCANDS “From the Outside Looking In…”                              2018 Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering 

On November 26th, 27th and 28th, 2018 during the fourth anniversary of November being declared and proclaimed as “Indigenous Disability Awareness Month” in British Columbia BCANDS will host the 2018 “From the Outside Looking In…” – Indigenous Disability and Wellness Gathering in Victoria, British Columbia.

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First Nation VisitAbility Task Force – Vancouver Island


BCANDS was pleased to be part of the VisitAble Housing Canada, VisitAbility Project through the Canadian Centre on Disabilities Studies (CCDS).


Click on the First Nations Summit logo above to read the Summit’s Resolution in support of Visible Housing.


Click on the Assembly of First Nation’s logo above to read the AFN Resolution in support of VisitAble Housing that was moved and passed at the AFN Annual General Assembly in Montreal on July 9th, 2015.


First Nation VisitAble Task Force members Mary-Lou Preston (Beecher Bay First Nation Administrator) and Janice Rose (Esquimalt Nation Administrattor)

Working in collaboration with two Vancouver Island First Nations Communities, our First Nation Task Force consisted of members from BCANDS and the Esquimalt and Beecher Bay (Scia’new) Nations, as well as local stakeholders who are committed to supporting the accessibility and housing needs of First Nation’s people within First Nation communities.

The VisitAbility Project was a three-year national initiative that commenced in April 2013 and will was completed in March of 2016. This project was funded through the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program-Disability Component.

Our First Nation task force is committed to bringing awareness of VisitAble Housing to First Nations communities across British Columbia and Canada by highlighting  lived experiences, reviewing current policies and practices,  the impacts, barriers faced and best practices as it relates to VisitAble and non-VisitAble housing. BCANDS continues to work with the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies to explore opportunities for VisitAble Housing within Canada’s First Nation communities.

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Renée Ahmadi UNBC Student and Task Force member

What is VisitAble Housing? VisitAble Housing or VisitAbility is the concept of designing and building homes with the most basic accessibility.  VisitAble homes provide easy access on the main level for everyone from visitors to the family that lives there.  VistiAble housing offers a convenient home for residents and a welcoming environment for visitors of all ages regardless of their mobility restrictions.



VisitAble Homes Have Three Basic Accessibility Features:

  1. No-step entrance (at the front, back or side of the house);
  2. Wider doorways and clear passage on the main floor; and
  3. A main floor bathroom (or powder room) that can be accessed by visitors who use mobility devices.

VisitAbility does not mean fully accessible or universal design and it does not apply to the upper floors or basement of dwellings.

VisitAble Housing offers a number of benefits to individuals and community, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Easy access to dwellings and convenience within the home;
  • The ability of individuals and families to stay within the home and “age in place”, reducing necessity for placement in long-term care facilities prematurely;
  • Reduced risk of falls and / or injuries within the home;
  • Ability to stay within own home, own surroundings, close to existing support systems;
  • Convenience for everyone! People with mobility issues, those with young children in strollers, those carrying large or heavy items, moving furniture and more; and
  • Reduced costs for home renovations at a time of mobility changes

Why VisitAble Housing in First Nations Communities?

  • Disability rates of Indigenous People in Canada are twice the national average, with 27.4% of Indigenous people living with a disability;
  • Disability rates increase with age and nearly half of Indigenous people over 60 years old live with a disability, most commonly arthritis and rheumatism, which often impacts mobility;
  • First Nations communities often have multiple generations of family living in a home; from the very young to the elderly.  VisitAble home features support all stages of people’s lives;
  • Often, when homes become inaccessible, people are forced to leave their community.  VisitAble Housing features in First Nations communities can allow people to remain their homes and their communities, maintaining connection to their family and culture.

For more information on this initiative, please visit the VisitAble Housing Canada Website by clicking on the logo below.





For more information on the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) please click on their logo below.

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