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As part of the ongoing federal government relations advocacy, CHBA has recently participated in consultations to modernize the Employment Insurance (EI) program. EI Reform occurs on average every 15 years, so it is important that the views of the home construction industry are reflected. Getting EI reform done properly is of great consequence to employers as the country recovers from the impacts of the pandemic. Employers understand that EI is an important temporary job-loss protection program and want to ensure it is effective in supporting their employees during periods of transition. However, reforms to EI must take into account the economic challenges faced by businesses in Canada today, and into the future, including this sector’s current supply chain uncertainty and critical labour shortages. CHBA has outlined priorities and concerns in its official submission to Employment and Social Development Canada which can be read here. CHBA also joined with 36 other employer associations and organizations across the country, via the Business Liaison Group, as a signatory to a letter to The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, to further bolster these issues.
CHBA’s Technical Research Committee is engaged in a national code change request that may have the potential to lower construction costs, allow for greater design flexibility, and increase housing supply by making the construction of “missing middle” housing more feasible. The requested change proposes to permit single exits in mid-rise multi-unit buildings, replacing the current requirement for two exits with a requirement for sprinklers, along with limitations on building height, occupant load, the number of dwelling units per storey, and unit size. Leading up to code committee discussions expected this fall, CHBA’s Board of Directors reviewed the proposed change request and CHBA staff are meeting with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) to explore the implications. Contact Kathleen Maynard to find out more.
Given the impact these proposed changes to the code would have on renovations and CHBA renovator members, CHBA staff and members are participating in the more than 10 technical committees developing provisions for alterations to existing buildings for the 2025 editions of the national codes. The first set of provisions will focus on energy efficiency. While CHBA’s Canadian Renovators’ Council members welcome consistent requirements for renovations, the new energy-efficiency requirements for renovations could have the potential to increase costs substantially and drive renovation activity into the underground economy. With code committees now working on the long list of technical issues associated with the energy-efficiency provisions published in the 2020 national codes for new homes, CHBA staff and members are urging code committees to ensure that any new requirements for renovation are risk-free before publication. In this CHBA / Canadian Contractor podcast, CHBA’s Director, Building Science Frank Lohmann discusses the concepts, implications and timing behind national code requirements for alterations to existing buildings. Contact Frank Lohmann to find out more.
CSA S520:22 Design and construction of low-rise residential and small buildings to resist high wind was published in July. CHBA staff and members have made sure that both prescriptive and design solutions for tornado-resistant homes were incorporated into the new standard. The standard provides information on upgrades to structural connections along the entire load path from the roof to the foundation, and fastening for cladding and roofing, to better resist the effects of tornados. While the standard has been developed primarily for new wood-frame building construction, it does contain useful information for renovators as well. Thanks to CHBA, the Standard also importantly states that “a cost-benefit analysis has, however, not been done, so the total economic burden and the benefit of compliance with this Standard are not known.” CHBA is pushing all standards development related to housing include cost benefit analysis, and to state explicitly if it does not, given the importance of affordability and the need to avoid regulation implementation without understanding cost impacts. The standard is available for purchase from the Canadian Standards Association for $100. CHBA continues to press standard developing organizations and the Standards Council of Canada to provide no-fee access to standards for the residential construction industry. For details, contact Frank Lohmann.
Join the Net Zero Council and be part of the leadership group working together to accelerate the voluntary adoption of Net Zero Homes in Canada. CHBA members are invited to apply for membership on the Council for a 2-year term starting November 1, 2022. There are between 3-8 Builder/Renovator seats and between 5-11 Sponsor Members seats available. Learn about the benefits of Membership and Sponsorship and review the Terms of Reference before submitting an Application Form to Sonja Winkelmann by August 19.