Safe Housing

healthy housingSafe housing conditions are essential for good health. In Manitoba, the minimum standards for rental dwellings are outlined in the Dwellings and Buildings Regulation under The Public Health Act.

The Health Protection Unit’s Safe Housing Program responds to concerns from tenants and the general public. Public Health Inspectors inspect rental houses, apartments, hotels, and other types of accommodations to determine whether these places are satisfactory and free from health hazards. Inspectors enforce and apply the regulations to ensure that housing units provide safe and healthy living environments.

Tenants may expect that several basic necessities be provided with most lodgings, including, but not limited to:

  • Plumbing and heating systems that work properly
  • Windows and doors that fit and close properly & securely
  • Homes that are resistant to the elements and moisture damage
  • Homes that are free from the infestation of pests that can transmit disease
  • Floors, walls and surfaces that can be cleaned and kept clean
  • Safe means of egress in case of emergency
  • Safe indoor air

Owners' Responsibilities

Owners and property managers of rental premises have the responsibility to provide these basic necessities, and are required to ensure that the premises are properly maintained. They must ensure that the housing units are in compliance with all sections of the Dwellings and Buildings Regulation on an ongoing basis.

Complaints & Referrals Process

Prior to contacting the Health Protection Unit to inspect the conditions in a rental dwelling, tenants are expected to document their concerns and send the owner a written request for repairs. Manitoba Health recommends that tenants use the Request for Repairs form, provided by Manitoba Finance's Residential Tenancies Branch, and fill in a reasonable date for the work to be completed. If the owner refuses or fails to do the repair work, tenants have a record of this and should contact their local Public Health Inspector to request an inspection.

Where appropriate, referrals will be made to local and provincial agencies that govern the following aspects of a premises:

  • Fire Code
  • Building Code
  • Electrical Code

If an inspection occurs in any premises as a result of a routine call or complaint investigation, any contraventions will be noted and timelines will be given to the owner to rectify deficiencies. Where housing deficiencies are deemed critical, an order may be issued, or the premises may be declared “unfit for human habitation” by the Medical Officer of Health, and the occupants ordered to vacate and the building or a portion of it placarded (condemned).

Pests of Public Health Significance in Manitoba

Based on evidence and the consensus of leading health experts, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a list of insects and rodents that it considers of to be of public health significance. These pests have the potential to transmit disease if uncontrolled. Please see the 2008 report entitled Public Health Significance of Urban PestsPDF.  Methods of control and integrated pest management (IPM) practices are outlined in detail.

Based on the WHO document, the Health Protection Unit has adopted the following list of pests as those that require effective measures to prevent, control or eliminate infestations in order to reduce potential health risks within dwellings and buildings in Manitoba:

  1. Cockroaches
  2. Bedbugs
  3. Pigeons
  4. MosquitoesPDF
  5. Rats & Mice
  6. Bats

Health Protection Unit staff respond to complaints associated with these pests in rental dwellings and public buildings. Inspectors can require responsible parties to take action under The Public Health Act to prevent, control or eliminate infestations. Persons concerned about the pests on the above noted list should contact their local Public Health Inspector. For pests not listed above, additional information on control measures is available by contacting the Health Protection Unit office nearest you.

Cleaning up after a flood

During a flood, all your energies are directed towards saving your home, your business, your community. But what happens after the floodwater recedes? How do you cope with the damage that’s been left behind? How do you deal with wet drywall, mold, damaged appliances or a well that has been overtopped?

This booklet provides detailed instructions on what you should do and who you can call to help with your flood recovery. From detailed recommendations on how you should clean your home to telephone numbers you should call if you become overloaded with stress, After the Flood provides you with the information you need to restore your property to a healthy, safe condition.

Safe Indoor Air

indoor air qualityHealth Protection Unit staff provide general information to the public on the following indoor air issues, as they relate to the Dwellings and Buildings Regulation:

  • Mould
  • Asbestos

Manitoba Health references the following evidence-based documents and guidelines when assessing, categorizing, communicating and managing the risks associated with these indoor air contaminants: