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Published Apr 03, 22
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He said the price, which begins at about $140,000 including taxes, is a big plus, but that the biggest is living in a community of like-minded individuals.“The home is almost secondary,” he said. “Firstly, it’s for people who want to have a community life, a village in a city.” 2:13 Affordable housing: Protesters stage demonstration Affordable housing: Protesters stage demonstration – Jun 15, 2019 © 2019 The Canadian Press .

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In general, there haven’t been as many tiny house-specific building codes written for Canadian tiny homes when compared to what we’ve seen from the United States. In addition, the disparity between buildings codes from province to province can be grey and blurry (read more about this below). And yet, there is a thriving, interconnected web of tiny homeowners, tiny living enthusiasts, and high-quality tiny house builders spread all throughout the country.

The National Building Code of Canada sets out technical provisions for the design and construction of new buildings countrywide. However, the 10 different provinces in the country each come with their own set of bylaws that can freely amend this nationwide code. From what I can gather, Canadian tiny house laws and regulations leave much to be desired for homeowners looking to own smaller dwellings.

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However, this doesn’t make it easy to start living tiny right now. There were a fair number of protests and social movements happening in 2019 to get Canadian lawmakers to recognize tiny houses as a viable living option. Some were successful, but there are certainly changes still to be made.

This lack of recognition means that tiny houses must meet housing codes designed for traditional homes. This sounds like a pretty loose law on paper, but in reality, tiny houses tend to have attributes that make them non-compliant with general regulations. For example, narrower doorways and hallway widths, smaller framing stud sizes, the existence of lofts, and a lack of secondary exits may be harder to include in your design under the regulations for traditional homes.

So, a house can be as small as possible provided it meets the objectives for safety, health, accessibility, fire protection, energy management, and water efficiency of traditional structures. Social organizations like the British Columbia Tiny House Collective and several others are working toward the recognition of tiny homes across the province.

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Quebec is ahead of the game on this in comparison to other provinces. In order for your tiny house on wheels to be permitted as a recreational vehicle or a motor home, the way you build it should abide by the motorized vehicle modification codes (Read the PDF here) outlined by the Quebec Society of Insured Automobiles.

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When it comes to tiny houses on foundation in Quebec, the province has some tighter regulations. The April 2021 version of the Quebec province construction code (Read the PDF here) regulates the construction of mini-houses with several specific rules. Here are the restrictions worth noting: Quebec doesn’t make provisions for structures that are less than 700 square feet.

These restrictions can feel like a setback for the tiny community; however, most municipalities are able to tweak the laws and regulations to accommodate tiny homes on their own. Though many are still reluctant to accept the movement, it is only a matter of time before tiny homes become fully legal in all of Canada, including Quebec.

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This means it is illegal to live full time in a recreational vehicle in the province unless you are at an RV resort or park where RVs are allowed. It’s a difficult feat to build a tiny house on wheels and use it as your full-time home on private property.

To find out more about where you can legally live in a tiny house in Ontario, check out the specific zoning bylaws for the province. Tiny House Laws in Alberta, CA Alberta uses a 2019 revised edition of the National Canadian Building code to establish design and construction standards for houses and small buildings.

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Overall, the tiny house movement isn’t super beloved throughout the province of Alberta. Some residents fear that legalizing tiny homes will drive down other property values. This controversy has been a dose of harsh reality for those who dream of the lifestyle the tiny house movement has provided so many in other areas around the globe.

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As far as tiny houses on wheels go, recreational vehicles are not legal for long-term or permanent, year-round habitation in Alberta, restricting THOW owners from living in their vehicles full time. Tiny House Regulations in Canadian Cities Independent cities have the freedom to override the regulations on small dwellings laid out by their respective counties.

Legislation is in the works to make life easier for those who want to live tiny in the city. On Oct. 6, 2020, a council meeting was held to evaluate a motion to take a closer look at the legitimization of tiny homes and shelters in the city of Vancouver.

However, neither the Vancouver Building By-law 12511 (Read the PDF here) nor the Zoning and Development By-law 3575 (Read the PDF here) support the building and permitting of tiny homes or shelters as a private endeavor. This is something the council is currently working on. The council is hoping to enact these possible changes to both bylaws in the coming years to be more accommodating to tiny homeowners: Legitimization of mobile, fixed, and temporary modular tiny homes and shelters Minimum and maximum sizes for dwellings Options for shared facilities like showers, washrooms, and kitchens Allowing temporary and semi-permanent location of tiny homes and shelters in R-, C-, and I- zones Options for infill and secondary units Options for mobile units in parking lots While these considerations are currently underway, residents of Vancouver should treat the structure the same as a traditional dwelling for the time being.

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569-2013 (Read the PDF here) for the full text and specificities of dimensional requirements for these dwellings. Tiny House Building Codes in Calgary, Alberta Calgary is the most popular city in the province of Alberta, and has created its own set of regulations for smaller dwellings. In accordance with the province, The Calgary Land Use Bylaw regulates tiny homes the same way it regulates traditional houses, and tiny houses on wheels the same way it regulates RVs.

However, there is one additional work around for tiny homeowners in Alberta laid out below. For tiny houses on wheels in Calgary, most tiny homes are built on a chassis to comply with Canadian Standards Association requirements for recreational vehicles and are not certified for year-round living. The city regulates this type of vehicle as it would any other RV regarding where the vehicle can be parked or stored.

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Calgary does have one city-specific addendum that provides a way around this classification for tiny houses on wheels. A tiny house constructed on a permanent undercarriage or chassis (with or without wheels) can actually be classified as a manufactured home (commonly referred to as a mobile home), instead of as a recreational vehicle.

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