PDD Safety Standards

December 20, 2016

Supporting Safe and Inclusive Lives (plain language version), the final report from the Persons with  Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Safety Standards Consultation Team was submitted to the Minister of Human Services for consideration. The report includes recommendations to government that support the safety and inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, the Phase Two Consultation Summary Report (plain language version) is now available. More information is available in the October 26, 2016 online bulletin.

Alberta Human Services has noted that the application of safety codes has been of significant concern for many individuals and their families. The Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Safety Standards Consultation Team recommended principles that reflect a respectful, inclusive approach to the interpretation and application of safety codes. This includes that the starting point of any safety code assessment of housing where adults with developmental disabilities live will be from a residential standard, regardless of how services are funded, as is the case with any other home.

A ministerial order, effective December 30, 2016, ensures that a residential standard is applied to the homes of adults with developmental disabilities. This means that safety codes inspections will not occur in these homes unless there is a request, an incident or complaint, as with any other home. For more information and detail, please refer to the December 2016 letter issued by the Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Human Services. The exemption regulation will be posted later.

For More Information:

Frequently Asked Questions: Response to the PDD Safety Standards Consultation Team’s Final Report

What are the details of the ministerial order?

  • The final report from the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) consultation team recommended that residences of adult individuals with developmental disabilities should be treated no different than any other home when interpreting and applying safety codes.
  • A ministerial order, effective December 30, 2016, ensures that a residential standard is applied to the homes of adults with developmental disabilities.
  • This means that safety codes inspections will not occur unless there is a request, an incident or complaint, as with any other home.
  • The August 2015 technical interpretation (known as “STANDATA”) that supported the now repealed PDD Safety Standards Regulation administered by Human Services will be withdrawn at the same time the amended exemption order is issued.

What other measures support safety in residences of adults with developmental disabilities?

  • The ministerial order continues to support safety in the homes of individuals receiving PDD services.
    • Residential building and fire code safety requirements such as smoke alarms are required as with any other home in Alberta.
    • The order does not apply to homes where the person is detained as part of a service plan for their own protection or public safety. In these cases, the risk to life safety is unacceptable, and the building and fire codes apply in full, including sprinklers.
      • PDD service providers under Human Services will continue to assess and identify detention situations to the municipality or authority responsible to enforce the Safety Codes Act.
    • The order also does not apply to PDD services or other buildings that fall under the Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act.

Has anything changed in situations where four or more individuals are residing in the same house?

  • No. When there are four or more people living in the same residence, the Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act (SLALA) still applies, and related inspections will continue for these specific residences. SLALA has its own set of standards that apply regardless of how the services/supports are being funded, meaning it is not specific to PDD.

What difference is this going to make for Albertans with developmental disabilities served by PDD?

  • The exemption order will ensure that the interpretation and application of safety codes to residential standards is applied consistently in homes where people with developmental disabilities live. This means their homes will only require those building or fire code safety measures that are required as with other homes in Alberta.
  • The recognition that residences of adults with developmental disabilities are like any other home supports the inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in the community and respects their rights to live with dignity.

When does the regulatory change take effect?

  • The ministerial order takes effect December 30, 2016.

Where can I go if I have more questions?

  • For more questions about the ministerial order, please call Municipal Affairs’ Safety Services main line toll free at 1-866-421-6929.
  • For questions about the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program, please call
    780-427-1177 (ext. 3)
  • Date modified: 2016-12-20