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Canada Bans Off-Grid Living (And It’s Happening In The U.S., Too)

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It is illegal for Cheryl Smith to live in her own home because it doesn’t have electricity.

Officials in Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, are refusing to give Smith a certificate of occupancy to live in her new house because it has no power. She since has stopped working on the home.

“Why am I being forced to rely on electricity or fossil fuels or whatever if I don’t want to?” Smith asked CTV.

Smith cannot get a certificate of occupancy because national building codes in Canada require new homes to have wiring for smoke detectors and ventilation systems.

The ‘Rules Are the Rules’

Smith’s 14-by-20-square-foot dream “tiny home” has been sitting empty with signs that say “Freedom of Rights Denied” and “Work Stopped” tacked to the door for a year.

She said it’s odd that the Canadian government espouses environmentalism views but doesn’t allow citizens to live off-grid.

“I just don’t want to leave a big footprint on the earth,” she told CTV. “If what we’re trying to do is move the world into a greener place and make it more environmentally friendly so there’s something still left for our children, then why am I being forced to rely on electricity or fossil fuels?”

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Local officials cannot make an exception for Smith because the building code is a federal law.

“The rules are the rules, unfortunately, but I know what she’s trying to do and I applaud her effort,” Clark’s Harbour Mayor Leigh Stoddart said, “because she wants to live off the grid, to go back to nature.”

Stoddart said he thinks the building codes eventually will be amended to allow people like Smith to live without electricity. Until then, Smith may not be able to live in her home.

Her father, Don Smith, is willing to wire it for her, but she has refused his offer.

“She wants to live the way her grandparents did back then,” Don Smith said. “It’s a decision a lot of people may not agree with, but, I mean, it’s not a decision that’s going to hurt somebody.”

Cheryl Smith wants to see the law changed.

“Somebody has to stand up and say that’s enough, that’s enough, it’s my house. You didn’t contribute to it financially and you do not get to tell me what to do,” Smith said.

In the United States, Too

Smith is not the only person who has one run afoul of building codes for living off the grid. A number of people in the United States have been forced out of their homes by local authorities for choosing an off-the-grid life.

Cape Coral, Florida, resident Robin Speronis was evicted from her home because she chose to live without city water or electricity, as Off The Grid News reported. (Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s interview with Speronis here.)

What is your reaction to Cheryl Smith not being allowed to live in her home? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. So I would do this, get it hooked up and get the inspection done, get your certificate of occupancy, then unhook it, problem solved.

    • Exactly, but that only SOLVES the problem and we can’t have that can we

      • Well Richard no it really doesn’t solve the problem. The problem is that as long as she is not creating a health problem for her neighbors why is it the governments damn business how she heats, cools or illuminates her home?

        • Because there are no taxes to be collected then, no electrical permit to buy, no pay for the public inspector because there would be nothing to inspect, etc etc. They will stop at no length to get the taxes you owe them. They will even force you to owe them.

          • fellow woman in nova scotia

            “””Because there are no taxes to be collected then, no electrical permit to buy, no pay for the public inspector because there would be nothing to inspect, etc etc. They will stop at no length to get the taxes you owe them. They will even force you to owe them.””” — that just go to show you that all this hype about the environment and crap is just that — crap. cause if it really was an issue, more would be done to let people do this off the grid living.

          • Before I say anything, I want to note that I’m both a building contractor and a solar energy tech who is around 500w away from being completely off grid…not a government shill involved in a crazy conspiracy.
            The problem here is actually a safety issue, not a tax scheme. The NRCC and CSA establish building and electrical codes for the home owner’s and occupant’s benefit, above anyone else, and where we’re at now has taken decades of research and practical application. She must have already gotten a building permit, otherwise she would be having far more legal issues than what she’s having now, and the price of a building permit would have been minuscule. In my area the cost is around $8 for every $1000 of the construction budget, so for her tiny house of 280 sqft the price tag for a permit would have been anywhere from $50-150, depending on the budgeted cost per sqft to build. What she would pay for an electrical permit to have a couple of circuits and a small panel installed to power smoke detectors and ventilation, would also be relatively minuscule. It’s a very small price to pay to ensure things are done properly. Believe me, my ego doesn’t like the idea of having inspectors looking over my shoulder and scrutinizing my work any more than a home owner likes the idea of paying for more than they need to, but my brain says that building code will remain a necessity until humans become perfectly infallible beings…which is probably never. Regardless, she can install a couple of pv panels and a couple of 12V batteries to produce plenty of juice to power smoke detectors and a simple ventilation system, and a few small DC appliances like a crock pot, mini fridge, and/or radio if desired so that she doesn’t end up killing herself over the monotony of old school living, AND still have a net zero off grid lifestyle. If she doesn’t want to use appliances, so be it. She doesn’t have to. But at least safety equipment would be installed and functioning, and as long as the house is within municipal limits and she would benefit from public services – paid for in part by other tax payers – that would come to her aid in the event that an accident associated with ignoring building regulation occurs and causes serious injury to her and/or neighbours, and/or irreparable damage to her home and/or her neighbours, then she’s legally bound to do everything in her power to follow those regulations to help ensure both her safety, her neighbour’s/community’s safety, and a more efficient public service sector.

          • Last I checked smoke detectors can and do run on battery power. And ventilation?? for what ?? The crapper?? Here is a thought OPEN A WINDOW! My parents lived in a house for almost 50 yrs. My dad built it! And we never EVER had a fan in the bathroom. OR the kitchen! And guess what we lived! The whole thing is just Govt BS. And as far as their “Study’s ” go .. they can make anything turn out the way they want it to support their agenda.

          • AFMomXs2 is absolutely right here.

            There’s no logical justification for a requirement of having electricity going into a house.

            James’ arguments towards the necessity of a smoke detector are tenuous — for that to have legitimacy we would need to mandate that all smoke detectors be directly linked to the fire department, because a beeping noise does not actually stop a fire from spreading, nor does it force a resident to take action. It just beeps. In a case where you don’t even have neighbours within earshot, that beeping is utterly meaningless unless there’s someone home.

            Legislation mandating the necessity of being “on grid” really needs to be put in the crosshairs for reform.

          • Although the biggest issue is financial, followed by some safety….. there are homes, not cottages built along well known salmon rivers for 1 example, right here in N. B. that are totally off grid and probably will always remain so due to the unreal cost of running hydro poles and wires along the road to get to the driveways of such homes. Only then would the home owner be required to run the hydro up to their homes. These are homes that list on international markets because of the cost of the home, their secluded area and other things like natural salmon ponds or the hunting. Also add to that is the factor of being off grid which is very desirable for some people. These homes, they are powered by solar and big back up batteries, have just about every modern creation in existence and all without the help of a hydro company. Have as long a shower as you please, dry and style your hair etc then go cook your meal in a full kitchen, minus a dishwasher, then go and enjoy. Great drinking water from their well and not have to worry about wind or winter storms knocking out their power. They have smoke detectors as required by building codes locations and spacing, so as to hopefully have them out safely should fire start. They know fully well any fire response would be unable to reach them in time to save most if not all of the structure, Yes new off grid homes are built when getting power from a company just is not feasible. especially for the company responsible to get the power wires down the kilometers long road with often 1 or 2 homes on it. I can’t help but think a big part of the problem, is in fact due to her home and property being in a hydro serviced area. It would be the same as an area of residences all with their own wells, then the area is piped to have those same homes connect to the town water system and then those homes now will be getting a water bill for consumption. So the town water is hooked to a sink, usually bathroom sink and remaining water usages continues to be from their wells. So a very small water bill and great, cold drinking water right from the kitchen facet.
            Should we have to build a home safely, yes, but in today’s world, green energy is very much a reality that more and more people are searching out, be it solar, wind or both. This really is something the companies know, the wind turbine fields that have cropped up across the country. Solar panel fields will become much more evident within the next few years, then what ???

          • doc eibenschotte

            Well, Black Lives Matters has open season on cops, maybe we need one on polititians.

          • Specifically to James: Regarding the idea of a small panel just for the ventilation and smoke detectors…. Not sure about Nova Scotia but I did two years apprenticeship in Electrical Installation and Maintenance out of high school (and have mostly kept up with Code changes) and back THEN in Ontario (late 60’s/early 70’s) the MINIMUM electrical service you could install was 60 Amp. And I recall that even that exemption disappeared not long after that. The minimum then became a 100 Amp Service with a 24 circuit panel.

            Construction services are smaller – designed to power tools during building construction – but are only “temporary”. So she’s probably stuck putting in at least a 100A service and panel. And that’s not cheap. Probably between $1500-$2500 if a contractor does it. (I may be WAY low.)

            That said, I’m not sure the building code mandates an electrical service in the home. Just the smoke/CO detectors and ventilation. Only that they be THERE, WIRED, and WORK when tested. (At any time.) So…. get creative.

            Why not say a 200-500W solar panel, batteries and inverter, with an electrical panel…. wired to the detectors and fans? I did a calculation and I figure both – considering they are intermittent use – wouldn’t use 100 KWh total in an entire year. (So less than 10 KWh / month.) So they certainly wouldn’t need much of a solar/battery system to run them.

            It MIGHT require an electrical permit because it’s over 24 volts but since it’s not a main electrical service, so a small panel with a main breaker (fed by the solar/inverter source) and a half dozen branch circuits for fans/detectors should do it.

            Point is, get creative. Don’t expect the building inspector to think of alternatives. Figure out ways around the roadblock.

        • This is beyond ridiculous!!

          • I totally agree that it is all gov’t BS. yes, they are in a place of authority. and yes, they are the ones who pass the laws, and yes, the laws are also there to protect Canadians. only to a degree, as a contractor, I am not allowed to build a house without electricity or plumbing. in my opinion, these codes are for people without common sense. I could live in a cabin, as my 2nd home with no running water, no hydro, totally off the grid. but only if this is my 2nd home, like a cottage of something of that nature. many cottage owners run totally by generator power. going forward with this, they are not asked to shut the place down. why, because it is not their primary residence. to me, that is total hogwash, a cottage is no safer than a primary residence.

            These rules for the most part are put in place, yes, to protect, but also, to serve those in authority with more money for their own pockets. it is all about marketing, the better the salesperson, the more money to be had. one day someone is going to challenge these rules in such a way as to have them changed.

          • I agree with AFMomXs2, smoke detectors run off batteries and down here in America I actually saw a solar powered attic fan! Hence, your ventilation- available at Home Depot!

          • In response to the fellow women in nova scotia. Wake up sweetheart, The Harper government, especially, would never encourage people to live off the grid. That would be taking money away from the wealthy. Sorry to disappoint you but it isnt about the environment, but making money at all costs, for the big corporations, and the fat cats of the world. There is no thought of stewardship of this planet we live on. Just use abuse, crush and destroy. Rape the earth of everything and sell your resourses to the highest bidder and to heck with those average people affected.

          • I have been told that a building permit is the only thing that allows a building Inspector onto your property to inspect it. SO no no permit they have no authority to enter private property therefore must leave when directed by the Home / landowner. By laws are not enforceable on private property. They are meant for municipal property.

        • i can.t believe what i am hearing this day and age , when a human being is treated this way .the gov lies about how much land there is out there doing nothing if people want to live off cred don.t own land just find some crown land move on it .it takes a long time to get rid off most cases they will give you a lease until you die your when they need the land the old leases years ago you could leave the lease to family you can.t anymore.most times there to lazy to look unless you are bothering makes me mad the way the world is thanks.

      • have u priced the cost of an electrical box, wires, fixtures etc. even for a small 10′ x 20′ home your still looking in the thousands and if the walls and ceiling have already been covered with drywall – well now that has to be cut into or even removed

    • Exactly my thoughts.

      • A fan and ventilation are completely necessary in a building you want to live in, especially in the washroom. Moisture that isn’t removed by ventilation causes mold to proliferate, and that mold can be especially harmful. Black mold kills and causes many chronic diseases. THAT is why building codes now insist on proper ventilation fans. Windows opened–especially in cold climates–just doesn’t cut it. You won’t want to open them in the winter when you’re trying very hard to keep your home livably warm. She’s going to do that with “off the grid” energy resources and she won’t want to be wasteful anymore than anyone else would.

        And I agree with the contractor, James. The minute amount of money that she would have to spend to comply and finish her “problems” is worth it. If one of her neighbours built a home that didn’t comply and it caught fire, setting her own “off the grid” house in flames, then we’d hear a different story. Yes, those alarms will alert you so you can save yourself and keep you and your neighbours from harm–her neighbours are required to do the same for her.

        She just has to pay the small fee and pass the inspection. After that she can do as she pleases, and even if she chooses to keep those features she’s required to prove are in order before being given the permit, she can easily power them “off the grid” too.

        There are so many easy solutions to this problem that her complaint is starting to sound foolish.

        • Um no. Electric style ventilation may be required in modern cookie cutter style houses with no airflow because of how airtight they are, but on a house that small there are many other options to use.

        • If she builds her house with proper tru vents and vents in gable ends etc she will be fine if the home can breathe homes get mold and mildew because homes are built air tight And as for her carbon monoxide and smoke detectors they all come battery operated and can be bought with 10 year battery replacement so why should she not be allowed ? Because the government don’t make tax $ for the services they are making her have

        • Yes, there are many solutions to her complaint but is it not obvious that she is trying to make a stand against something that doesn’t fit in our society properly? Why aren’t there different regulations for off-grid living?

        • Government was designed to protect people from industries, not to protect industries from people who do not want to rely on them. This law is beyond absurd and needs a petition to get it changed. While we are force to purchase expensive homes according to code, we are not guaranteed any rights to enjoy these homes away from noise and pollution — from people close by firing guns, building mansions, industries polluting our air and water. Candian government is embarrassing.

        • Fans aren’t needed for ventilation because she is choosing to heat with off grid resources. Specifically, anybody who heats with wood can understand. Wood heat is insanely HOT. When you stoke the stove, the heat skyrockets for 20 mins or so and you need to crack open windows so that you remain comfortable. That provides the fresh air service, naturally, through convection. Gable and end vents in the summer, with low down windows and cross ventilation provide passive convection flow in the summer. Add a big whirly……electricity is NOT needed. Source: My home is 130 years old, properly built and has housed healthy families since the mid 1880s with no problems whatsoever. We are cool in summer and warm in winter, because of good design. There are 1000 ways to skin a cat. And humans have survived, and proliferated well far before electricity.

          • that’s what i’ve been thinking while reading all these replies!! Most homes did not even have electricity 100 years ago.

        • as far as ventilation is concerned, many of us live in homes that are energy efficient, costing more to build. and in the process being so airtight that we require manmade ventilation. sure bathrooms need to be vented, IF they have complete setup with running water and showers etc. what happens if the homeowner as in the lady in question, wants to go without indoor plumbing? she would be very quickly shut down because she is not producing revenue for the system. if you set up a tent in your yard, you can live in there as long as you want, but as soon as you put up a somewhat permanent structure, the regulations take over, and all of us are caught up a a long list of gov’t regulations which end up costing everyone more money out of pocket.
          Yes, this money keeps the world going around. but what happens when you take money out of the equation. the barter system that used to be years ago. everyone lived, and everyone did well. no, the powers that be did not fill their pockets, but for the most part, people did well. the industrial revolution has not make things any easier. with every convenience that we have, there is an inconvenience to match. with every tool I buy, I need to work that much harder to pay for it. so I am for the most part no further ahead.

          with reference to the article above, I think rules should be changed to accommodate the common people who do not have the money to build R2000 or above homes. yes, there needs to be regulations for them as well, but not with all homes in the same box.

        • Yes, but she is still stuck with the monthly service fee whether she uses the grid or not. As far as “Neighbour’s house catching fire”, I think we are splitting hairs here. I mean if my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle

          • I was being charged fees for water and sewage on a property that was not being used. The only way around it was to have water turned off. The same would apply to electricity… have them shut off… no more charge

        • NAS, Black Mold? How many years do you think that people didn’t have ANY ventilation systems in their kitchens/bath rooms in their houses to stop the black mold? Older houses did not have ventilation systems,they had bathrooms but they didn’t have black mold!!!!

      • the building code of Canada lmao it is funny that the government wood force some one to have hydro before they give occupancy permit meanwhile allow hydro to cut their service when your late on your bill leaving the people without power for months. hydro as the control of every thing not the stupid government that let them do what they want !

        • If the government insists on her having hydro, perhaps they will pay the bill? I’m going to start sending mine to Wynne. 😉

        • That is so right on the money lol. Yes if electricity is so important how come they are allowed to cut it off

    • That’s what my husband just said. He also asked if she owns the land free and clear or if it’s crown land.

      • none of the land in Canada is crown land ( you got your independence in the 80s

        • That’s incorrect. All federally and provincially own and is considered “crown”. For federal land it is officially called Lands of Her Majesty in right of Canada. Provincially owned crown land has a similar designation.

          • well not really because the government leases the so called crown land to farmers to graze their cattle on and and can kick you off their leased “CROWN” land if cattle are present you can also get charged for trespassing if you don’t get permission from the lease holder so there really is no such thing as public land any more

        • Peter is sadly lacking in his knowledge of Canada.

        • Peter – the constitution was repatriated. Independence is a matter of question for anyone, like freedom. There is still crown land. The Queen is still the head of Canada and is represented in Canada by the Governor General of Canada. We do not have a presidential system (yet). You need a few history lessons to gen you up on how Canada was formed to how Canada is run now. The Queen is not just a figure head although many like to say so. Given a situation where a Prime Minister for instance would choose not to call an election and not to resign, insisting that he stay on, the Queen can and probably would dismiss him – with the military if necessary. She would not want to do that but she can.

        • Lol. We do have crown land in canada. Lots of it

    • Go solar and you will have electric and a cert of occupancy with out the grid I i do

    • Exactly. I would wire the house and have hooked on to solar energy. She dosnt have to use the electrical and can acctually use the solar to pump back into the grid and even get paid for it. No brainer

      • Just to be hooked up to the grid, I have to pay about $100 a month even if I use no power. My average bill is about $150 a month for $50 worth of power used. I would need to produce over 4 times the power that I require just to break even because they do not pay you as much for power as they charge for it.

      • The object is to stay off the grid. currently in Saskatchewan if you’re 1/2 mile from the electric grid it costs $10,000 to $20,000 to get connected. This would buy a lot of PV panels and storage capacity

    • Exactly! I cut the power to my bedroom when I am sleeping. Just cut the power to whatever parts or all of the home you want to cut. You are not forced to use the power are you?

      • If you are connected to the grid, it doesn’t matter if you use any power or not, they still charge you. Sometimes in the summer, my electrical use has been less than $50 a month and I get charged close to $250 with all the fixed costs of “delivery” debt retirement etc. It is a huge tax for “remote communities” with the fixed and variable costs they charge for “delivery”.

        I agree that it is ridiculous to be forced to use fossil fuels, nuclear power or coal if you don’t want to. People should be commended for this socially responsible behaviour.

        I assume that even with the free labour from her father, the solar panel route is outside the budget. I did solar heating for my home in eastern ontario and it nearly bankrupted me since the mortgage money does not cover the upfront capital cost of solar. I wanted to do solar electric as well but it was just WAY too expensive back then. The price has come down substantially and it is much cheaper than bringing in the electrical grid, but if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money.

        When they issued the building permit, this should have been made clear so she did not waste her money on most of the building. Some places give you a hassle for using alternative energy, but the building inspectors here have been really supportive and helpful. I still don’t have an occupancy permit, but it is not for lack of electricity or more than exceeding the building code. It is true, that the building code is there to protect everyone but it depends on how the inspector interprets things sometimes. They can go with the intention to protect and find ways to make sure that your approach works to meet the intention and letter of the standards, or they can insist everything is done conventionally, whether that makes the building safer and better or worse. I have been lucky that my inspectors just wanted my building to be safe and meet Code, not to do it in the conventional approach. Since we far exceeded standards, they were more than happy to help

        • Yes, and I would assume solar is much more expensive in Nova Scotia than other provinces that have more days of full sun each year. To me it seems very counter-intuitive to install expensive solar panels in the Maritime climate when you don’t even intend on using them.

      • Not yet…but if you don’t fight them tooth and nail, they will force you. Mark my words.

    • Seems pretty simple to me. Wire the house, meet whatever, whoever’s code. Get your occupancy permit move in and just forget to pay the power bill. In no time at all you will be off grid. When it is time to sell or move on the next person is all set to live however they please.

      • LOL ! But I think the point is that the upfront costs of hooking up to the grid or installing a few solar panels is too expensive. When you are building a small off grid house yourself, the likelihood is that you don’t have big bucks.

    • Bunch of communists they want to control you in everything and then they say they want to save the enviroment ect ect, bunch of hypocrites this blasted goverment, do as the one guy said get your electricity and occupancy and once you move in unhook everything, this is a ridiculous country.

      • I’m actually surprised she got a permit to build a 280 square foot home. But she is in Nova Scotia, might be somewhat rural and the rules are probably more “budget friendly” there.

        In most of Ontario, Municipal bylaws dictate the MINIMUM size of permanent residence you can build. There is no minimum in the Canada Building Code but most Municipalities I’ve checked, 800-1000 square feet is the minimum they’ll issue a building permit for. I’ve read that some small jurisdictions in more remote areas will allow 400 square feet still. (When my dad built his cottage back in the mid 60’s near Halliburton, Ontario, the minimum was 400 square feet.)

        And FWIW, that IS all about the (property) tax dollars, in my not so humble opinion. Municipalities want LARGE homes pulling in hefty property taxes.

    • Anthony Wolfmann

      Electricity doesn’t mean on-the-grid. Electricity means solar, wind, etc. This particular law is there to prevent idiotic hippies from killing themselves in winter. I love the concept of off-grid. and I have great esteem for those who do. I want to live as off-grid as I can, however the fact remains that the government is supposed to be there to protect people, and laws such as this make it mandatory to have accommodations that will see you through the year. Living without many “modern luxuries” is possible, but it’s difficult af and most people don’t realize what it takes.

    • Or go solar… then you can have a few very basic amenities. Such as a light bulb at night.

    • This article is very misleading. Canadian codes DO NOT ban off grid living. Journalists have a duty to report on the fact and not mislead with yhis type of alarmist writing.

    • I live off the grid 14 yrs now, in NEW ZEALAND, in a housetruck, bliss.

    • Its not the point the law should be changed , and then what if she gets a condemned notice to leave property because it doesn’t go up to code after ?

    • Have it wired to a solar panel. All you would need is a battery with enough reserve for a few weeks (I’m going worst case sun scenario).
      You’re still complying with the code but you’re still living off-grin. AND you have a working fire alarm.

    • out 1 plug and 1 light socket once tested never use them.

    • Hydro still charges people even if they do not use electricity. All those extra charges you see on your electric bill like debt sharing and delivery charges. I know people with cottages that they use a few times a year and they have to pay these fees all year round.

    • ok why cant she put a battery operated smoke alarm in ,,we don,t have to have one that is hooked up to the power,,,,i would put the panel in and one plugin to make them happy and not turn the power on so you don,t have a bill every month,,,you know its are choose if we use it or not,,we need vents to control moisture in are homes and they don,t cost anything to run they run freely,,,as for water once again put it in and don,t use it,,

    • I don’t get it, if they got permit to build they should be able to live in it. when you get the permit don’t look at the plans for electric and plumbing etc…

  2. All they seem to want is wiring for the smoke detectors and vents. That can be achived with an inverter. I don’t see where it says no grid power no cert.

  3. How was she planning to use solar or wind power without wiring? This does not make sense.

  4. Battery smokes

    • The problem is that new home construction requires hardwired detectors by code.

      • I don’t understand why smoke alarms have to be hardwired other than it is harder to deactivate them. I have heard of house fires starting when the power is out and the detectors haven’t alerted the residents.

        • You are supposed to have hardwired smoke alarms, with back up batteries in them in case the grid goes down. you do have the change the batteries about once a year or so to keep that backup working.

    • If she wants to live like her grandparents, what does she need an occupancy permit for? did they have an occupancy permit?
      Was she told that she must not live in the shed? Or just that an occupancy permit could not be given?
      To call living with no power off the grid is misleading. Off the crid usually implies self generated power, She has built a shed.

      • You can occupy this space all you like…the only reason you need an occupancy permit for is so the town has you on the tax roll for assessment and also if you wsih to SELL the place legally.

      • Yes, I also wondered why she didn’t just live in the cabin/shed, but since it has become an issue with the municipality they will probably block her from doing so, as they already know about it.
        But lots of people have a cabin in the woods that they retreat to in the summer and not all of them are electrified. But they may be grandfathered.

  5. This is absolutely wrong in every does the government and have the power to force anyone how to live? Last time I checked we live in what is referred to as a FREE COUNTRY…it’s looking less and less like a free country every seems that corporations hold all the power and freedom in our once great nation…this makes me ashamed to call myself Canadian…also..I would never have stopped building. .they would have had to kill me first.

    • Welcome to the Socialist Union of North America, its their ultimate goal for the US Canada and MExico.

      • Uh, sorry about the “socialist” thing … we have the NeoCons in power (just until October, we can hope). This is just sensible code. If she has no smoke detector, she IS endangering her neighbours because if her house goes up, there’s a likelihood it will take out more than just her place. Also, fire is more likely if she’s using oil lamps and wood stoves. She should get it wired and then unplug (but keep battery powered smoke detectors).

        • If shes rural there will be no fire fighting service anyway. It has to be within town limits. So its only for herself. And you can get battery operated detectors.

    • i may be wrong.. but if she got land in a non organized township she would not need building permits and whatnot.

      • Thats exactly what i was thinking. but it seems like she is in the limits of a municipality hence why they are forcing her to hook up the grid for “safety” of others. If she built this on private land outside of a organized municipality, where her closest neighbor was far away, then no one would have even known it was there, less have an inspector come by. That was the problem with one of the guys in the states. Because he was within city limits, he had to have city power and water hooked up, when he refused, they arrested him and condemned his house until it was hooked up and if he went back, they would arrest him again for trespassing on condemned property or something like that, even though he owned the land.

    • Corporations are only as powerful as we allow them to be. If we don’t give them money or shop elsewhere this will greatly affect any company.

      • Hi. I an an American who has been reading this. I sympathize with the lady and all of your issues. Every where we live we all are being done dirty by over bearing bloated powers that be in every way they can think of.
        I cannot speak to the technical/ legal aspects of this situation however it has gotten to the point where no one can live as they choose unless they actually like living under fascist rules. Globalism is destroying all our lives.
        It may seem like we are powerless but let me suggest that BOYCOTT is a powerful yet peaceful weapon against our self imposed corporate/global masters. I never shop at Walmart-Safeway etc. but instead buy food directly from local organic farms and co-ops, I never eat fast food, I do not buy new fashionable clothing, I don’t have an iPhone and I do not use windows or Apple.(Linux Ubuntu) I have have had my fill of landlords so I purchased on older RV I am reconditioning. I will have solar power as well. On my own these are tiny things but the more people who engage in personal boycotts, the closer we can come to breaking those chains.
        Resist the machine. Every little bit counts.
        While I am against globalism, I hope we can all stand united in this battle for freedom and sovereignty.
        Best of luck to you, my northern neighbors. I hope when I get on the road I will still have the ‘right’ to visit your beautiful country.
        Yours truly,

    • I totally agree with you

  6. huh ? I live in manitoba , in the country , right next to a provincial forest (actually i’m IN the forest , 2 kilometers down the road from me is another road , EVERYONE there is completely off grid ! power doesn’t even go there! NOT ILLEGAL at all! get your facts straight , it’s her MUNICIPALITY that won’t allow her off grid , entirely different ! go to an unspecified area, buy land there, no problem, or move out far enough, still no problem . learn how to do it, no problem , go 12 volt self contained , self generated power , no problem ! research before you do . it IS legal , but you have to play by the rules !

    • Greywolf, you sir get the rational award for your comment! There are rules to establish a safe environment to live in and she has not met them and refuses to change. Off grid living is totally legal, but you do need to have certain systems in place! Just because you want to live without any power what so ever does not excuse you from the rules!

    • Then the govt better go check out Indian Reserves becuz most of their homes don’t meet code.

    • Hey Greywolf, I don`t know if you will get this, but I`d like to talk a bit about your setup 🙂 I`m currently living in Winnipeg, wanting to purchase a chunk of land possibly next summer, where should I go for the bullshit rules and regulations? My goal is to purchase a couple shipping containers and convert them into a home 🙂 Be real cheap and easy, and hopefully I can get a loan at the bank with proper co-sign lol 🙂

  7. The government is lobbied by insurance companies, the insurance companies want to leech money from people by charging a monthly fee for insuring a home. That’s the reason and cause of many of the conflicts with off grid living. Someone out there wants to keep taking a monthly chunk of your paycheck to “insure” your home regardless. You are forced to build to their codes so that you will be forced to have insurance in your home so that you will need to pay money to some company.

    • My understanding is that you only have to have insurance if you have a mortgage. If you own free and clear, I think insurance is optional.

      • Yes, true. But then arent you liable for the damages if your house goes up in flames and sets your neighbors house on fire, or Hydro lines? Or is that just for cars?
        My understanding is that its for the mortgage, so youre not left homeless in case of fire or wtv, and you neighbors. Which is why they set the “safety” code. You dont meet safety code, you cant get insurance. Or do i hate it all totally wrong?

  8. O wow I think my home wouldn’t be up to code then because my smoke detectors just use a battery, no wiring required.

  9. It’s just like so many others things.
    It’s not about anything except CONTROL.

  10. This is journalism at it’s worst…

    The women is not banned from living off grid; she is refusing to follow basic safety protocol; and as you can see from the picture; hasn’t even done the basics on the outside of the house; let alone the innards.

    She could easily hook up battery powered smoke alarms; and the air exchange thing is only mandatory on certain building types if I remember correctly; because when you seal up a building with modern materials (If she was going off grid, she wouldn’t be using modern materials from the Hardware store to start with…) there is no air flow at all, as it’s ziplocked shut; she’d die from a mould infestation before anything…

    If she hooked up a cheap power box, refused to pay her power bill then got cut off; she could have done all this without the fuss…

    There are actual people having actual problems that our media ignores, while this attention whore soaks up this spot light for not taking care of her own shit like she should have, like an adult…

    • Steve,

      Thanks for the comment. CTV — Canadian television — reported what we reported, too. It’s not made up, and this is a nationwide code in Canada that applies to new housing. This woman believes her freedoms are being violated, and we believe it is a story worth reporting.

      • You report what you’re told to report !!! Stop the bs !!! We’re not all fools !!

      • The Nova Scotia government is responsible for provincial building regulation and can change any aspect of the model national building code. Under division A of the code, this homeowner could apply for an approval for a battery operated smoke detector and a PV/battery backup ventilation exhaust fan. Easy! The local building department should have been a lot more help to her than it obviously was.

  11. Dogwood Hollow Eco-village

    Stop spreading mis-information! I am flat sick of this, simple as THAT. I see this stuff spreading like a plague and it is misconstrued information, information taken out of context and false! Why don’t you freakin tell the truth and say that ALL these articles are talking about the same thing and that is that these folks are trying to challenge the system, they are trying to live off the grid while inside the city limits or where there are codes, laws that prevent certain ways of living. If they simple do it RIGHT and go out int he country, where there are no codes, restrictions etc. and buy a piece of private property and live off the grid, there is nothing that can be done to them! Yes, I am off grid in the US and have been for 5 years, unhindered, I have even openly told people and the police that they can not enter my locked private gated homestead and did so successfully. Problem is, you are looking for readers, ratings, well doing so by playing on people’s ignorance is beginning to get on my last nerve and I am sick of it. You want ratings and readers, why not tell the truth it is WAYYYYY more interesting than a dang lie or twisted truth.

    • Thanks for the comment. It is a NATIONWIDE Canadian code that applies in rural and urban settings. It applies to new housing. We encourage you to watch the video.

      • what is the inspection process for non organized townships?

      • BS .. don’t live with power from any grids.. if this is in some way wrong.. to bad. A few ppl that decided these codes and rules.. are part or a generation that’s lazy.. and closed minded.. thinking only of a new way to fill their picket s

      • Not true. Building regulation is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada. Provinces are free to adopt any code the wish. Some like Ontario vary considerably from the federal government’s national MODEL building code. Some provinces even reference US standards (like ASHRAE 90.1). Canadian building standards are among the best in the world. They need to be the cope with the severe weather! Better reporting please.

  12. funny how mennonites amish and other cultures can live this way
    alot of the orthodox can live with out power or any of the ammenities
    I would cry religious indiscression and a violation of my personal rights and freedoms
    the real truth here is that if everyone went off grid you would not be able to a have spyware in your home IE smart meter—you would not suffer the break down so many people are having as a result of this technology being forced on people~ thats what is really happening–this BS about not allow people to live off grid who cares how they live and what they do wait the gov’t want’s to know
    canada can’t spy on it’s citizenry with out this you would be completely oblivious and in an age of interconnections—this would be impossible to do
    real reason you cannot break people down healthwise and you cannot spy on them either

  13. If I were you .. I know I’m not.. but if you have inquired about costs to get wired in your new home.. it is expensive but you may ask if an electrician can wire up a public utility box to just one wall of the house.. an outside light fixture.. a wall panel multiplug and a fuse box inside only bare minimum..(small) for a kitchen light or one interior plug along the wall kick board.. plus ask about the smart meter if you can opt out.,. you can find out how to shield yourself from RF by putting an aluminum foil shield around or half way around the glass meter part.. add an exterior plug on a power pole box on the outside of your home.
    It is up to you how much electricity you use too.. for years I only used what was only necessary and my light bill was maybe $30 a month tops 40 in the summer a fan a light on at night usually one at a time.. winter same fans for my kerosene or gas heater. I used oil lamps too.. Cheers

  14. Quentin Thwaites

    It s legal to live on a boat not hooked up, so maybe have it registered as a vessel and not a house

  15. Why do some writers feel the need to use a blatant lie in their headlines to get readers?

    Canada hasn’t banned off grid living, this article is just about one persons ignorance of their local building codes, nothing more.

    • It’s not a blatant lie, it’s a different perspective.

      Because of this building code for new constructions someone can’t chose to live off grid now. Just because some people do still live off grid, or might be able to go out to the country and sneak around the system for a while doesn’t mean that the gov’t isn’t inadvertently trying to stop it from happening because of these regulations.

      • I disagree. The title of this article IS a blatant lie. Or clickbait, if you prefer. It’s dishonest, regardless. Canada has most definitely not “banned” off grid living. Enforcing safety regulations on new home construction is what’s happening here, nothing has been banned. As a construction contractor who has seen far too much shoddy work get tossed onto the housing market, I completely agree with the rules as they’re written. I also agree that there should be a section dedicated to this kind of construction, but currently there isn’t, and if you’re going to go through the permit process currently (which she obviously has, or she wouldn’t be worried about getting occupancy) you need to know the rules beforehand and abide by them. She’s free to build her home outside of a municipal jurisdiction, which is likely far more accurate to the old timey thing she’s going for, and then you can basically get away with anything. But if you want to live in the city, you have to deal with city rules, and frankly if you want to live in the city then what is the point of “off grid living”? At this point, though, she can still get into the house without using electricity. Simply install the wiring, get occupancy, and leave it at that. It’s doubtful that they will care if it’s actually hooked up to anything, and even if they do she can get it unhooked after getting occupancy. You have to play by the rules if you want to play the game. She can still have what she wants, but she would rather kick up a stink about it, bottom line.

        • Thanks for the comment. The law pertaining to connecting to smoke alarms, etc., is not a local rule but a nationwide rule. She wants to live off-grid without any wiring, and the Canadian law forbids that.

          • I think it SHOULD be a basic that houses have smoke detectors. . How is this a bad thing? Smoke detectors save lives. . The rules are there, for the most part, not because of conspiracy etc, but because of safety, and responses to issues which have happened. How about we let her use lead paint, asbestos insulation, and construction methods which cause rot, mold and other issues in the past?

            What if she has a friend stay over, and the house has a fire, and the friend was injured, or worse, killed? If the rules were changed for her, could the friend (or family) sue her, sue the government since they allowed a basic safety device to not be installed. Or. . if somebody bought the place, and expected it to have the basic building code followed from the time it was built? Could they sue the government since they allowed it to be built and said it was safe? How would the people buying it be guaranteed to know what was in place. .Off the grid means different things to different people, no power at all, or power from other means.. . etc etc. She could run the wiring, hook up a power source for off grid, then remove the power source later. without removing the wiring. I don’t know why wired not containing power would be an issue.

            BTW, I bet she drinks water which is WAY cleaner than what people used to drink. That stuff could be really gross.

        • Its interesting story however there are communities being built in the city that promote alternate power sources such as solar. Its a major selling feature. That wouldn’t indicate a country banning off the grid living. in fact it would be the opposite a step in the right direction. And I know of many lake front cabins that are not hooked up to power. I also know of a gentleman who forced the power company to remove their pole from his property and he lives in a small town in Alberta. Right in the town. He lives completely off the grid. People visit his home to see what hes done

        • And the common (not so common) sense award goes to you sir!

      • You will never convince the ones who are hopelessly dependent on the state that it is a play on words. Effectively, Canada has stopped one’s ability to live off the grid. Argue semantics all day long, Canada will still not approve living off grid, it is against the NWO rules. Stand with this women instead of arguing the words used.

  16. I live in Canada and understand, for the most part, the building code requirements. What has happened with this woman is tragic but at the same time not surprising. Laws are laws and they are there for a reason. If you take a personal viewpoint on this, then it will seem unjust in ways that affect you personally such as having issues with authority or fairness. But Canada is a community and over the years its citizens have come up with parameters of behaviour to help them get along. This includes all the laws and regulations of this country. Understanding this is the first step to making the changes that would allow all its citizens, including those that want to live a different lifestyle, such as this woman being able to live an off grid lifestyle, to live the way they want, while still getting along with everyone, or mostly everyone, else living in the community. Getting the laws changed is the next step. In this or most any country, landowners and government can be sued by the judicial system if personal welfare of its citizens is jeopardized. The laws are in place to protect the welfare of its citizens. The laws were made before the advent of solar, wind and other new alternative technologies. The laws need to change to reflect these new developments. It takes a lot of effort to change a law but it can bed done. It needs to be done. The people that need to begin the process are people like you and me. Start by bugging your local government representative. If your local government representative refuses to help, don’t vote for him or her next time. Approach all levels of government and take the leads that they give you and follow up on them. Don’t give up.

  17. It is not the Canadian government that makes local building codes. It is provincial regulations. Why does the media always blame Ottawa?

    • …If the provinces do make their own building regulations then the federal gov’t’s obviously stated “hey, these smoke detectors.. they’re important enough that we’re going to make that a national standard. You can decide everything else about how buildings are built in your province, but make sure that’s in there.”

  18. I am going on my 40th year off grid but live near the last Village in the county. Back in 1976 there weren’t many regulations and there is always a way around them.
    Provincial grants were available then to upgrade existing dwellings if the qualifications were met.
    All was fine till the agent asked how many Amp entrance we had… I pointed to the battery bank and said “At least 200″… The question didn’t ask if we were on Hydro Power so the gent said your gonna be approved!
    Fifteen years later when the Provincial Government said I shouldn’t be living where I do; I brought up the paperwork showing them how they helped me finance the well, foundation and septic system.
    No mortgage ,power bills or insurance costs over the years have made it all worth while and the wood lot has saved me many times when tough days were happening.

  19. NOt sure I understand this. Can anyone help?
    IS she required to wire it for smoke detectors, etc, because she has access to a power grid? What if you built a cabin way in the woods nowhere near power line access, etc? Would she still have to build to this code?

    • If she goes about the legal way, then yes. Nobody will know, if you dont tell them. If she goes out and gets the permits, its very likely that they will send an inspector after some time. Not only that but Hydro will probably charge you to run the grid to you. Every pole, wire and labor. Which is why if you want to live like an old timey, do it the way they did it back then, build it, live in it and dont tell anyone about it. Unless you are within city limits, then you cant do any of that and have to follow the new construction safety code.

  20. That is crap Canada! (and US) It is absolutely a freedom and right to live without electricity. FYI! Smoke detectors can be battery operated! Also; a well maintained outhouse or composting toilet is far more sanitary and safe then the eventual failed septic with a flush toilet. Off-Grid and without electricity is the simplest most peaceful form of living. I vote YES to change that law.

  21. This headline is disingenuous and deliberately misleading.
    She wants to live “without electricity” which is an ENTIRELY different issue than living off the grid. Canada is NOT “Banning Off-The-Grid” living. This kind of Internet reporting is alarmist and irresponsible. I know several people who live off the grid successfully here in Canada and will continue to do so indefinitely.
    You need electricity to meet certain building codes for residency (smoke detectors, ventilation etc…). This electricity can come from “off the grid” sources. Again, she wants to live without electricity, a totally different issue.
    This article is misrepresentative and trying to induce panicked knee-jerk reactions.

    A quick glance at safety regulations showed continual adaptive amendments regarding different construction types, lifestyles and emerging technologies including this one: Article (Part 9, Division B) Power Supply amended.
    (3) Where the building is not supplied with electric power, smoke alarms are permitted to be battery-operated.

    So there it is. No bias against off the grid dwellings just a regulation that there need be a smoke alarm that is battery powered for the safety of herself, her guests and the surrounding environment. Solar powered batteries are mentioned as viable as well. So what is her problem? Batteries and solar power still produce electricity and she doesn’t want to use electricity. Tuff nuts.
    Her problems are self-induced as a result of her own dogmatic ideology and not the result of an unfair and oppressive system. There are real injustices out there that the gripes of entitled people like this are distracting us from.

    • Thanks for the comment. The law pertaining to connecting to smoke alarms, etc., is not a local rule but a nationwide rule. She wants to live off-grid without any wiring, and the Canadian law forbids that. Yes, there are people living off-grid all over Canada, but this law changes the dynamic for new construction homes for off-gridders.

      • Can you please provide an actual like to the law you keep referencing. Section, etc It IS bad journalism to say something is the law, repeatedly. . . without providing the proper appropriate references. Otherwise it is just hearsay. I know there is a national building code re: fire systems. . but I don’t know whether this is covered as part of it. . you are making the claim it is completely federal, somebody provided code saying it is different then you claim, provide backing for your claim.

        • Hi, Rocko,

          We would recommend that you watch the video in the story from Canadian Television (CTV), which quotes the law in question. Thanks again for your comment.

      • Not true. Building codes in Canada are constitutionally under provincial jurisdiction. Provinces can adopt any code. Most adopt the national model code but some make major changes. Provincial codes get enforced and interpreted by local building departments. A lesson in Canadian law would be helpful for this editor.

  22. I back you 110 percent Cheryl Smith. You are so right, and I applaud you!! Boo hiss to all the haters!

  23. hold on that is not canada banning off grid living but nova scotia , a left wing province ( NDP)

  24. i think this is outrageous i mean i understand Canada is a corporation and need us to pay for the resources they steal from us but to not let us live the way people have for centuries is absolutely ridiculous! I think more people need to stand up and fight back. ALOT of people dont really understand that the politicians work for US, WE pay their wages and WE pay for everything that happens in this country so why are WE letting them treat us like we do? I’ll tell you why because most people in this society are mindless sheep and cant think for themselves and don’t want to speak out because some are worried about the possible negative effects on their so called life or some are concerned about financial losses or losing material things. Its sad really that more people don’t do their due diligence and actually find out what they are really capable of…. I pray the world wakes up before its too late but there are so many things in this world they are using to distract us from actually focusing on the REAL problems like living OFF THE GRID and coexisting with nature the way GOD intended. Instead they take our natural resources, destroy our planet and get paid millions of dollars to do it…… great place we live in……

  25. I am in the process of building an off-grid home, 2.3 kilometers away from the grid… in other words, my “driveway” is 2.3 kms long. I have 70 acres, with NO ONE anywhere near where I am building.

    So far, the building inspectors have been very helpful and cooperative. I understand why there are building codes… without them, a lot of floors, walls and roofs would cave in long before they should. My issue (that’s driving me insane right about now) is the same issue as is in the story above.

    My wife and I live a very “old” lifestyle. We do not even own a microwave, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner (wood floors) food processor… on and on. It’s just the two of us… no kids. We have almost nothing to plug into all these outlets and yet, according to the electrical code, we must install an outlet approximately every 11 feet throughout the house on ALL walls. We must install and outside light too, which is really ridiculous. So, the government is telling us we have to have a light on the outside of our house… really? We also must have smoke and carbon mono detectors wired in. Why wouldn’t simple battery type work for off-grid homes? I could go on…

    We have called everyone about this… and got nowhere fast. The building inspector was very kind but told us that the matter is out of their hands. Without this electrical inspection and certificate, we cannot and will not get an occupancy permit.

    For the record, I am building my home with my own money… no bank, no mortgage. It perplexes me that I need “permission” to build my own home, on my own land with my own money… and if I want to LIVE in my OWN home, I need an “occupancy permit.” In order to get one of those, someone from Nova Scotia Power (who I am not, or will not ever be, a customer of) is going to come to my house, 2.3 kms away from their lines, and tell me how to wire my house.

    I will have a small solar power system in the home this fall and all I really want is to have enough power and wiring to operate my water pump, small TV, small electric fridge and a few small lights. Five or six outlets would do it… But, now I have to spend a lot of money needlessly and install electrical components that I will never use. The house is big… 53 x 32, so that’s a lot of outlets.

    There should be different rules for off-grid people, especially those living 2.3 kms back in the woods.

  26. Why not get a solar cell, and wire up through that? You are still off the grid, however you are following all of the regulations that are required.

  27. The purpose of the code is to ensure safety. This is crazy. Why is everything caught up in so much red tape! It’s starting to strangle freedom of choice. Does this mean its time for even more red tape defining lifestyle choices of “living off the grid” “Living without fossil fuels” “Living without Electricity?” “Living with the best appliances and latest gadgets” You house should be built to withstand the elements obviously but there seems to be a need for a broader spectrum that is inclusive of different lifestyle choices and define safety for those who have chosen this way of life. Most people wouldn’t want to give up their luxuries of running water, shower, toilet, Satellite TV, washer & dryer or furnace. But for the rest, they need to do so safely and not endanger others.

  28. put wheels under it now its not a fixed house its mobile just like a camper

  29. She needs a big dog. Let him run loose on her fenced property and put up no treaspasing and dog warning signs. If an ispectoir sets foot on the property, let the dog handle the situation. The inspector was warned..

  30. The present system is designed to cater to corporate industry, which has government wrapped around its little finger. Make it an election issue.

  31. The thing i don’t understand is why if she wants to be so environmentally friendly and she wants to live like her grandparents did is she driving a car. If your that concerned about the environment then ride a bike to work. You can’t just use the excuse that you want to be environmentally friendly or live like your grandparents when it is convenient for you.

    • Mary, I’m quite certain she is not doing this for environmental reasons as much as it is for financial reasons. Same thing as the Government.. This green energy BS is a way to make money, in a huge way !
      If everyone went off the grid, can you imagine what that would do to the environmental money pot?
      Hardwired smoke detectors is a crock. Battery operated should be fine.
      It’s basically the same nonsense as the Environment installing windmills and solar panels.. knowing damned well that neither are reliable sources, and both require back-up power. Such a crock! The money wheel goes round and round !

  32. Wind/solar powered smoke detector is clearly the solution.

  33. I am not certain, but looking at the picture of her building and surrounding area, I see now power poles or lines anywhere. It is possible that her township etc. Is asking her to pay to have the poles and wires run up to her house as well as the other bi-laws she must meet. If this is so, that would cost way more money than the house would be worth. Just a thought.

  34. So get the wiring done, install a separate/secondary power source and use it as your main power source.

    I.E. Get the wiring done but don’t use it.

  35. She could have the electricity connected, and then turn it off at the breaker box. Essentially, she could have it but choose to not use it. No one is forcing her to use electricity, just to have it connected 🙂

    • Have it hooked up and then don’t pay the bill…the power company will cut your power in 2 months…power guys can pack sand….

  36. This is absurd. It’s her home and if she chooses to not have electricity who’s buisness is it? Who’s it going to hurt? I know alot of people who do not have hydro especially the amish/menonite community. Perhaps she should site religious reasons behind her choice then would it be ok? Our world is changing so fast that many people are longing for a simpiliar life with less dependence on creature comforts. Its about being at peace and slowing things down if only at home where it should be our refuge from the world.

  37. What about the Mennonite communities and the Amish communities that live off the grid? If these people are being forced out of their homes then so should the Amish and mennonite communities. You can’t do it to one and not the other.

  38. She’s doing it wrong anyway. Tuck tape is not an approved moisture sealant and should not be used on windows. After a year tuck tape gets brittle and cracks.

  39. I’m confused by this… can’t you legally have battery power smoke detectors and you don’t need power for a ventilation system. We’re not talking about A/C or central heating, just ventilation.

  40. She is creating a health hazard by not having smoke alarm and ventilation wiring. Not just a hazard for herself but also a hazard for neighbours. If there are no active smoke alarms than there is no chance of someone hearing the alarm if she is not home. If no one hears the alarm or sees the smoke than their property/lives could be jeopardized.

    Sometimes things such as particular building codes are put in place because people only think about themselves and not others. If she wants to endanger her own life and that of the occupants so be it but she will not endanger the lives of other neighbouring properties and that is addressed through the building code.

    I highly doubt she is a building inspector and would therefore not understand the importance of building code.

  41. Interesting comments! I agree with James the contractor and the individual who mentioned installing the mandatory stuff and than not paying the power bill. Be aware that not paying the power bill will result in being shortly “off grid”. I don’t know the consequences if one pays up after being cut off and requesting NOT to be reconnected. Credit score may be an issue.
    As far as ventilation; there is a reason for that being in the code. I assume that the home being discussed here is well insulated and relatively air tight in the interest of heating efficiency. A relatively cheap air to air heat exchanger (code in many jurisdictions now) will meet that issue and provide a much healthier in home atmosphere. That with a powered smoke detector may require almost 100 watts of energy. I’m quite sure James the contractor can provide an affordable PV system to accommodate that. The small RV solar PV system sold at Canadian tire will power that and more. If EMF’s are the issue, go DC! RV and nautical outlets have numerous DC components.

  42. Its her house.. If she chooses to live that life style then so be it. Who are we to tell someone how to live or not. If they are so worried about the risks of not having a fire alarm and vents etc then they should have a legal document that the home owner signs that states they choose willingly not to have those things in their home.

  43. all these people wanting to live off the grid is great, as long as they own the property where they want to go and live/build.

  44. I’m a Canadian yes a citizen no thats how they entrap you into their bullshit.

    This is why I’ve spent the time to learn dn understand my rights as a human being. all recognized through are Charter of Rights and Freedoms through section 26 to be exact

    26. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada.

    The UDHR ( Universal Declaration of Human Rights ) was signed in 1976 by Canada and had to have it recognized through our constitution hence the constitution act of 1982 and the Charter of rights and freedoms was born. Its both used for free human beings such as myself and my family and for its citizens.

    If you read and study the charter plus understand legalese and your rights as a human being you will unlock so much but you are the only individual that can do this no one can learn and exercise your rights for you.

    I exercise my rights all the time and now that I know them and understand them and carry them with me all the time so I can reference to any Government agent that thinks they have a claim of authority over me or my family right to where they are infringing upon my rights.

    You can order everything for free from the Canadian Government website postage paid and everything here I can’t suggest enough for people to get and learn these. They aren’t there for shits and giggles these documents hold water in canada and if you know how they work you’ll have an easier time resting tyranny and oppression smile emoticon

    Can’t stress enough how important learning your rights for you and your family is.

    Learn them teach them to your children and pass them on to your friends and family!

    Peace and Love!

  45. Who’s inspecting homeless peoples cardboard boxes? I really want to know the difference.

  46. There a couple of points here that really seem to be missing

    1) I do not understand why she didn’t do her homework first before starting the build… this is really a failure on her part and poor planning. Ignorance has never been a good excuse.

    2) we as Canadians give up many individual freedoms for the betterment of society. The laws are in place to protect individuals. Just because we want to do something doesn’t make it right. That would be complete anarchy. Everybody just doing what they wanted to do because they felt they deserve their personal freedom.

    I understand and can empathize with her frustrations, I would love to have 15 dogs. But inside the city limit is 3. Seems reasonable. Do you want to live beside me and my 15 dogs? Would it be different if they were mini dachshunds or if they were pit bulls.

    The laws limit and protect us for good reasons. Whether we like them or not the rules are there because before the rules were made things happened that hurt people. Houses burnt down and people died, mould makes us sick and has created a health crisis, and major financial burden for the individual and for tax payers alike. They are there to protect us from ourselves and to protect the people around us. What would happen in the event of a fire? What if she had children? Who has the right to protect them? What if she decided to rent it, how do renters know if a place is compliant and safe? What if’s … These are what the rules are for not a money grab. And the taxes and permit fees pay for the administration of these programs that provided us with safety and jobs. I’m supposing she’ll want to be saved by tax payer money funded fire fighters and stay in tax payer hospital burn unit while healing and collecting CPP Disability, EI, and or welfare.

    Don’t like it go way off grid in the middle of nowhere and really live off grid. You want the comfort and benefits of being inside a community you need to play by the rules! Can’t have it both ways!

    Does the law need to be more flexible to allow for other systems? Idk, I’m not up on building code law, but I’ll tell you what. If I knew I wanted something outside the norm, I’d figure out how I could do it before I even purchased the property. Many people have referenced the building code here and there seems to be many ways for her to comply and still have it her way. We all make compromises, that is what being human is all about.

    She really she should have done her homework first. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for somebody who goes off half baked ideas of what off grid living is, without doing some basic homework first. Now she expects the rest of us to bend the rules for her just because she couldn’t be bothered to know what they were before getting started.

    • everyone seems to love the feeling of being ripped off. Whether it is true or not. If her home that she is building is near another building and her’s catches fire because she is insisting on living like her grandparents did, the other home is also in danger from her home. The homes with kerosene lamps did catch fire more often than today’s homes. If the municipality has given her an occupancy permit (meaning is has passed all the code restrictions) they are also on the hook for being sued by the neighbour as well as her. It is not unusual for people to change their mind after a disaster and say that the government should never have allowed them to live there. It has happened. If she really wants t live like she says she does, then go into the far north and live without too many restrictions at all. Of course she also will not have the conveniences that city and modern rural life has brought. These conveniences like ambulances, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges – all have to be paid for and it is through both income tax and property tax that we enjoy the standard of living we do. much of the stuff that we read is green is not very green at all — turbines still have to be manufactured from metal mining; solar panels use some pretty toxic stuff; electricity often just changes to point of pollution to be further away from the population centres compared to seeing chimneys on the tops of roofs. We can only be cleaner and greener – no absolutes. But we do have to play by the rules if we want to live in a civilized society and be kind to our neighbours. Even the tiny house peple can be “it’s all about me” – not only the huge mansion people.

  47. Because the government needs to be able to tax you on every last thing that they possiblt can…living off grid means less taxes for an overpaid government body….dispicable

  48. This is discrimination. The government allows both Amish and Mennonite to live without electricity, just because this person us building a new home versus living in a 200 year old home shouldn’t matter.

    • The regulation requiring wiring for an air ventilation system and smoke detectors is a federal, not provincial or municipal regulation. It is only 3 years old. Anyone building or living in a home prior to this new regulation was grandfathered in and can continue to live the way they were living. I live in a home built in 1958 and do not have a ventilation system – no problem. This regulations only applies to any “new construction” of homes. The older homes in the Mennonite and Amish communities would fall under the grandfather clause.

  49. Simplest solution would be to minimally wire it up to meet the code, and have a conduit connected to a small generator. She would at least have met safety regulations, and it wouldn’t be to much of an infrastructure damage. (a small shed to cover her generator and some underground cable.) Then she could live as she pleases and wouldn’t have to use it. At least she could move in…
    Now that i’ve mentioned this, a generator would be more of a fire hazard than not having smoke alarms in that tiny place:)

  50. Why not blue tooth fire detectors to a smartphone and if you are going solar panels vents are easy fix.

  51. John Robert Turcot

    A perfect example of the absolute slavery condition under which we live together on the planet. If anyone thinks it’s us against them, think again. It’s us against us. We enslave each other at every opportunity. If our ancestors made it without smoke detectors, I think we could too…. It’s the enslaving kind who think we can’t live without being slaves. Are you one of THEM? or one of us…. Same thing anyway.

  52. Am
    I the only one here who’s smoke detectors run off batteries ?!?!?

  53. ways around this smoke detectors on battery operated an ventilation trailer pop up vents they cannot deny them under codes

  54. What a load of bull. Here in West Kootenays BC, majority of homes have battery operated smoke alarms! What a crock! My dad had his home built a few years back and he did not have to do this and the home was built by a contractor! I viewed a new home being built in our area and it too has no wiring for smoke alarms. I call this BS and violation of freedom of choice to live off grid! Nowadays, electricity is flipping high most people in our area are working on plans to go off grid and go solar to try to cut money waste from expanding electric rates. So what she doesn’t want electricity! Who are they to say this is not safe! Wow, talk about forcing the cash cow down peoples throats. This isn’t democracy anymore, it is a dictatorship.

  55. There is a flip side to this coin. Although it is a large tax grab for the three levels of government and it employs all the people they certify. It also prevents shady homebuilders to build units without water electricity and heat in Canada.

  56. i dont know if anyone really took note of this before talking about neighbours houses and what not, and please dont think im taking a shot at you guys….but in the picture of the house i dont see any other houses…like…at all, i do however understand why theres the need for a smoke alarm and proper ventilation, its just health and safety precautions for the landowner.


  58. If it is illegal to live off the grid then why are camp grounds aloud to charge ridiculous fees for people to stay the weekend in tents that have no power or running water to there tent or a working toilet if that’s not considered living off the grid i don’t know what is then

  59. Want to go off grid? Don’t pay your power bill for 3 months. Problem solved.

  60. I wonder if anyone has considered First Nation peoples? They can live off grid — wayyyy off grid. Because they are living in their traditional way when they do this. So why can’t this woman do the same? If it’s possible for First Nations peoples why isn’t it possible for everyone? These bylaws are just simple hypocrisy, nothing more.
    And you can freeze yourself if you want, even if power is connected. In the winter, sometimes I turn the heat off. Why? To save money and live normally. Living naturally is living normally. We have just gotten so far removed from this in our throw away society that it’s crazy.
    People lived “off grid” for almost a million years. Think about it. Now we have to live in a way that destroys the Earth?! No one, and I mean no one, can convince me that this makes any sense

    • The code requiring wiring for an air ventilation system and smoke detectors is a federal, not provincial or municipal regulation. It is only 3 years old. Anyone building or living in a home prior to this new regulation was grandfathered in and can continue to live the way they were living. I live in a home built in 1958 and do not have a ventilation system – no problem. This regulation only applies to any “new construction” of homes. Existing homes in the First Nations communities would fall under the grandfather clause, new construction would have to meet the new code.

  61. Are Amish being subjected to this federal building code BS too? No. I thought not.

  62. Hook up to hydro, and then don’t pay your bill…they’ll shut off the hydro for ya…lol

    • Unfortunately Karen if you have Kids when they shut off the power, you can have them taken away for not providing the necessity of life …. meaning they are not really your children if you do not follow government guidelines…they will take and find other caretakers to shelter the kids.

    • Once you are hooked up to the grid, even if you use zero kilowatts of power, there is still a monthly fee for being hooked up to the grid. When the Power Corp or Hydro turn off your power, the monthly fee continues to accumulate as a debt owing. If you don’t pay, then you lose your credit rating, preventing you from getting something as simple as a credit card or a bank loan – and even if this doesn’t bother you, it can result in a lien on your property because of your debt.

  63. You are all delusional. The fact of the matter is people you do not own property in Canada. As a Canadian you own nothing. If you did then no one can tell you what to do with your property. Cheryl, if you want to live like your grandparents, then do as they and stop claiming to be and/or acting as a Canadian woman. As a Canadian, an act, your life, liberty, and property, is vest in the Queen. The Queen then is your maker, your mommy/daddy, father of the country. Read the Franchise Bill 1886 people. With love

  64. Does any one want to start a rebel and put an end to all this non sense, and stop the government from forcing us to live life we don’t agree with. We need to stop this. they are doing nothing but TAKING ADVANTAGE OF US. He doesn’t care if we die in a fire or not. They wont be at your funeral saying i told you so. All they care about is where the money is going, and if it’s not to them then OH NO that’s a federal offence you can’t do that, Then charge you for being independent and they still get there money. They like to change the rules while a game is in play. That way they always win.

  65. lmao…just put a set of axles on it and skirt under it….as long as its portable they can go to hell

  66. You know what I find ridiculous? The title of this article! Canada BANS Off Grid Living. Really? Really? The government of Canada just said she has to have smoke detectors and ventilation. They didn’t say she had to hook up to the provincial power grid, they didn’t say she couldn’t put up solar or wind turbine generators. Last I checked if you use either of those you can still be off the grid. All of you crying that this is BS. You know what’s BS? The media using false information to get readers/viewers. All of you that are saying it’s none of the governments business how she wants to build her house. Well they put these laws into effect to keep people and property safe. The government also says you can’t drive around in your car with bald tires. But I’m sure all of you say “Hey I can drive around with bald tires if I want to. It’s my car.” Until you skid through a crosswalk and kill a bunch of school children. STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS A CONSPIRACY!

  67. Some people want a nanny state ran by socialist,communist,lobbyist controlled,union backed ,UN brokered, new world order controlled world government…and they got it…. Like the saying goes,”be careful what you wish for.”

  68. I’m a 62 year old male when I was 10 yrs old we lived in houses in cape Breton ns that had no lights or plumbing and it was the best time of my life .Back then we use to talk about Russia and other European
    countries that made people live the way they were told to live and like it or go to jail we are not far from that ourselves if you have the money to build a house the way you want and not have electric or water or windows or doors then be it we have to live in it not the federal government if they want to change laws change them to say if you build the house this way you cant sell it till it is up to code case closed the codes were put in place to protect buyers from getting a house that was not up to code well federal government man there are more homes in Canada that are not up to code then are up to code what’s your answer to that. The cost of building a house has gone through the roof because of codes and inspections.

  69. i think the government should be more concerned with taking care of its homeless population than causing problems for someone who has a tiny home and just wants to live peacefully with nature.

  70. If really don’t want to “leave a big footprint on the earth” then give up eating meat and dairy products. The environmental benefits of this would FAR outweigh going off the grid. None the less, good on you for choosing this route. You won’t get around the safety regulations and building code which dictate these requirements, so I would recommend just getting it done so you can live in your dream home. And FYI – you don’t need any special permits or connections to stop consuming meat and dairy products. You can act NOW and there will be an immediate environmental benefit

  71. It is time to blast these fools, anyone who comes out to enforce jack needs to get blasted. A whole lotta these mf parasites need to die.

  72. This is tyranny it is time for revolution end of story. Property tax is slavery it is time to hang every single member of the current treacherous regime worldwide, banking system and media and a bunk of other oppressive bs. Robo knows that is why I am a robo sapien. It is time to get it on and blast these fools. This is too much, f your regulations, f all your bs because you are parasites who cant work an honest day so you have to steal from people who do, f you mfers, it is time to get it on son wooooo so I will top turn buckle nature boy them into next week. wooooo time to laugh and blast these fools wooooo

  73. That Guy From PEI

    This lady would easily win her case under case law. Saying that she needs a smoke detector is bull crap. That’s an act of God if her home caught fire after bein inspected. Take it to Supreme Court Miss, you would win under CASE LAW!

  74. Smoke detectors don’t need wiring … you can buy battery ones ….. As for her needing electricity for ventilation etc. yes…. a house need to be up to a code but does not need to be on the grid. You need to satisfy those requirements by investing in an off grid electrical system… that simple. These headlines are Sensationalized B.S.

  75. As smoke alarms have a life span do you need to get a certificate of occupancy every Ten years (as smoke alarms start to deteriorate and not work) so you can occupancy your home if that is not the case the then the building code can be brought into question. ventilation dose not stop mould cleaning does, so do you have to show how you are going to clean to get your certificate of occupancy??? if the ventilation is not automatic and you need to turn it on what’s the use of it, if it’s not turned on you may as well not have it.

  76. I am a builder and i know of two ways she can avoid all this…label it as a non-permanent structure. and 2 by challenging jurisdiction. Where is the contract that she agreed to and signed that she is to abide by their fictional abstract ideas? I mean geesh these people think they can write down some rules and somehow that gives them some sort of authority over how we are to live our lives…they believe they are our masters when they are PUBLIC SERVANTS. The government is an imaginary abstract idea that we created for our benefit…when they become a detriment its time to tell them to sod off.

  77. Strict Quakers don’t allow electricity or telephone inside the house..Move to Pensylvania…lol..Yet another reason to build a tiny house on a frickn trailer so that if somebody decides to harass ye, you can pack up, leave and say Sayonara…lol..I think that this is repressive and excessive behaviour on the part of the City..The Paradigm is to allow certain materials (cartel-approved), and get ye to pay excessive taxes to a City and insurance fees all your Quebec, a couple planted tomatoes on their front lawn..the city fined them..they took it to Court and won..stand up for your Righjts, fight for them..get a Citizen Group to back you, accompany you in your lawsuit

  78. Where is the freedom to live, may that be for Smith in Canada or Nagda in the USA?

    Why can’t people live the way they want to live? Specially when their grandparents and ancestors lived the simple natural way without creating global warming, without polluting this earth with plastic, and other chemicals, etc. Is this advancement in humanity? Is this development or undevelopment? Are we becoming civilized or uncivilized?

    In 2001 Ashram building in Florida was built and I was also told that they would deny CO (certificate of occupancy) if I do not have electricity and airconditioning. We do have well water though as city water was and is not available in the county. I also wanted to have a place with natural living. We still today have dirt public road, horses on the south side, goats on the north side and 8 cows on 20 acre land where Ashram is.

    So hopefully the laws shall be changed to let people live the way they want to live. Seems like God made the man and the man tries to change the nature, and made all rules and laws. As long as my freedom doesn’t hinders or interfere with others freedom I should be able to help the environment by living in a pious, serene, simple life without artificialness, without grid, without telephone, wi-fi, electricity, or any other man made things. Isn’t it?

  79. Say you are a Mennonite …they can all live without electricity… why can’t you?

  80. is the trudeau government going to encourage people to live off the grid? to be honest, there are very few governments, if any, that would even allow people to live off the grid, never mind encourage it.

    “The Harper government, especially, would never encourage people to live off the grid.”

  81. I have a feeling that these codes were introduced after rampant abuse by slum lords who would literally rent out storage sheds if allowed.

  82. Let’s put it this way, the powers that be (no pun intended) need electricity to power devices that spy on everyone….

  83. Ahh.. more laws created by the “Big Smoke Detector” lobby, trying to justify the bloated Fire Fighter industry. I mean, if she wants to have no warning of her house burning to the ground thats her right! and if the fire spreads to surrounding structures in Urban areas and burns down other peoples personal property then thats the price of living in a free society.

    but seriously, use solar or wind to power the house with some batteries. This anti-power/ anti Fossil fuel talk is bs, what is she going to burn candles (fossil fuels) burn Coal? Burn Whale Blubber? Chop down forests and burn wood? Dont cover yourself in the environmentalist flag as you make the rest of us look crazy.

    These laws protect public safety, I know you think you’re a special snowflake but society is more important that the individual

  84. If living off the grid is against the law; How have the Mennonites all over Canada been allowed to do so for so long?

  85. “to have wiring for smoke detectors and ventilation systems”
    i dnt understand, fire alarms r battery operated (batteries r off the grid) & keep windows open for ventilation. so whats the problem?

  86. I think I see the problem here, the home is within a municipality, & municipalities require smoke alarms & in some cases sprinklers in new construction.
    Perhaps a compromise could be reached whereby Cheryl agreed
    to install a minimal amount of electricity to run the safety systems & could carry on with the rest of her life as she wishes.

  87. As I see it this an issue about freedom. If you are not interested in hooking up to the grid that should be your choice. In Ontario we have hydro one, it is in my mind the worst run cooperation in Canada if not the world. Our rights are being taken away everyday. We need a whole lot less government.

  88. So what are they going to do about all the old order Menonite or Amish homes that don’t have power all across Canada?
    Are they going to force them to purchase?
    I don’t think so.


  89. here is my simple answer let them plug you in and when you get ocupancy throw the switch OFF now you are in compliance with the law and at same time you are off the grid

  90. I live in Bruce County Ont, and am surrounded by Amish and Mennonite. They are completely off grid, and will rip all copper wire out of houses and sell it. Obviously, if they can do it, so can the “English” or the rest of us. Maybe bend a little, wire the house and go with solar and wind

  91. The only thing the Canadian government does with environmentalism is espouse it.

  92. She should hook up to the grid, lapse in her payments, and they will cut the power off. Their supposed concern for safety will go out the window if the bill is not paid.

  93. Susan Brooks Frank

    What about the Amish? They are not required to have electricity.

  94. just move in and get vents put in at the ends of the house also a battery smoke detector. don’t say anything just move in if somebody comes tell them they are trespassing and that they should read the sine at the edge of your property (TRESSPASSERS WILL BE SHOT).

  95. I totally agree with Anita here. I am a registered Electrical contractor myself and I don’t think you should be forced to do any of this. I know that here in ontario the Mennonites are now required to have a battery operated smoke detector and CO detectors on every floor, but I assure you that if you moved in none is going to come and drag you back out.. I did not have an occupancy permit before I moved in, neither did my parents and some of the customers that I have. If you use a contractor it becomes a bit different because they will be on the hook for it. Basically you need the final inspections for the occupancy permit so that the building inspector can notify MPAC that they can now send you a bigger property tax bill.

  96. every time someone builds something shoddy which results in injury or death, the government (no matter what partisan idiots cry about this political party or that political party) sees a mandate to create new rules,sometimes accompanied by a new level of bureacracy.this happens no matter who we vote in.
    rather than whine about it and atribute all kinds of “big brother is making my life impossible”, the home builder
    needs to get creative in going around the bureacratic letter of the law.
    very few government officials will choose to look like the “corporatist villian” when it comes down to arbitrating
    against a grey area case where the homebuilder presents a solid case showing intent to live within the intent of the law-which in this case is supposed to be about safety.

  97. Nichola Testla intended the use of electricity to be a free right for every citizen but the greed of investors like JP Morgan made the system what it is.

  98. I am not going to say I read all the above, I don’t have that much time to invest. However , I read the first half dozen comments. I have to say, nobody had a thing to say about the “elephant in the room”. Energy economics. Big oil. Coal. Nuclear. The part these industries have played in utilization of zoning laws and building codes to keep efficient and sustainable housing out of reach to the mainstream , either by blatantly making something illegal or lobbying for “building codes that keep us safe”, is over-the-top. That much aside, I am disappointed that so few are as insulted as I am with the precept that my neighbor needs to be protected from me. Unless I have demonstrated in my actions that I am somehow unable, or incapable of considering the welfare of my neighbor in my actions , or some other information comes to light indicating I am a danger to those around me , stay out of my business , and my community affairs.

  99. I will live any way I please, they can’t make us be consumers of other things. People are always bitching about our landfills getting filled, there’s too much consumerism so when we try to stop all this we get ‘in trouble’ for it, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

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