The National Occupancy Standards: Use and Misuse

For the past three decades National Occupancy Standards (NOS) have been the default standard used by both government and non-governmental housing organizations in Canada to assess housing suitability. However, there is growing concern that the prescriptive nature of these standards limits access to housing for those most in need, including women who have experienced gender-based violence and their families. In this policy analysis we demonstrate the limitations of NOS and the role they play as a barrier to housing. We conclude by outlining four recommendations for future policy including the need to recognize NOS as guidelines, prioritize safety, create housing policy for families and reduce family poverty.

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