A recent resolution approved by the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly expresses support for VisitAble Housing in First Nations communities across BC.

The resolution conveys support for CCDS’ project partner, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society’s work with the VisitAble Housing Canada project in First Nations communities across BC, and also expresses commitment from First Nations to promote and support the First Nations VisitAble Housing project so that strategies can be implemented to promote VisitAble Housing in First Nations communities among builders, policy makers, and other stakeholders. This resolution calls for changes to home construction practices to ensure more citizens can remain in their homes and their communities and remain connected to family and culture.

Congratulations to BCANDS for all of their hard work in getting this resolution passed. This is a tremendous accomplishment.

The following link is a letter from the First Nations Summit to BCANDS, as well as the text of the resolution. The full text of the resolution can also be found below the link: First Nations Summit Letter to BCANDS – Support for VisitAbility

Full text of resolution:

A. The BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) is a non-profit, charitable, non-political organization with the mandate “To promote the betterment of Aboriginal people with disabilities in the province of BC.” BCANDS provides advocacy and support services in areas of social and human services, economic, education and training, health, human rights and housing.

B. The First Nations Summit has supported BCANDS and its various initiatives and projects for Aboriginal people living with disabilities in resolutions #0394.04, #1296.17, #1196.18, #0999.13 and #0906.02.

C. VisitAble Housing Canada is an initiative of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies funded through the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships – Disability Component to promote VisitAble housing for all Canadians, including persons with disabilities and seniors.

D. “VisitAble Housing” or “VisitAbility” is the concept of designing and building homes with basic accessibility. VisitAble homes provide easy access on the main level for everyone. VisitAble housing offers a convenient home for residents and a welcoming environment for visitors in all ages and mobility. VisitAbility does not mean fully accessible or universal design. It does not apply to the upper floors or basement.

E. BCANDS is currently a supporting organization working with VisitAble Housing Canada, and has partnered with the Esquimalt and Beecher Bay First Nations in creating a First Nations Task force to promote and research VisitAble Housing in First Nation communities.

F. The First Nations Task Force is committed to bringing awareness of the benefits of accessible VisitAble Housing to First Nations communities in British Columbia.

G. Through the VisitAble Housing Canada’s project the First Nations Task Force has recommended that three essential features be included in all new housing projects, which, when planned at the outset, keep any additional costs to a minimum:

  • a zero step entrance at the front, back or side of the house;
  • wide doorways on all main floors: minimum 32″ (813 mm) with a clear door opening; and
  • a wheelchair accessible bathroom on the main floor

H. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples approved by United Nations General Assembly provides the following supportive statements concerning persons with disabilities:

Article 21 (2) States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22 (1) Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.


1. That the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly support the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society’s (BCANDS) work with the VisitAble Housing Canada project in First Nations communities across British Columbia.

2. That the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly commit to promote and support the First Nations VisitAble Housing project so that strategies can be implemented to promote VisitAble Housing in First Nations communities among builders, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

MOVED BY: Chief Maureen Chapman, Skawahlook First Nation

SECONDED BY: Chief Wilf Adam, Lake Babine Nation

DATED: June 5, 2015

Passed by consensus.


Cheryl Casimer

Robert Phillips

Grand Chief Edward John