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CHIC: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Housing

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 18 May 1999 00:00

From Cape Breton Island to Vancouver Island and from Pelee Island to Baffin Island, the Canadian Housing Information Centre (CHIC) is just a phone call or an email away.

"There is a whole wealth of information that is available to the Canadian Public," said Leslie Jones, Manager of CHIC, which is the research service for our national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CHIC receives an average of 3500 calls a month, largely from average Canadians who want housing information on a variety of subjects.

The Centre will get you off to a roaring start on your housing project whether you are renovating, building, buying or fighting molds and dampness. The Canadian Housing Information Centre is Canada's most comprehensive and up-to-date library on housing with more than 75,000 books, journals, tapes and reports, many of which can be borrowed. The CHIC photolibrary has 100,000 images related to housing and community planning.

"We determine what the client wants. Quite often they ask for something which we have a product available for. Many ask about Y2K, moisture in windows, buying a home or renovating," said Jones. "For most of the calls, we are able to provide a decent amount of information under 15 minutes so there is no charge. We try to prepackage material in advance."

Are you stumped by indoor air quality problems? Do you want to add passive solar features to your home? Are you interested in building a cottage that could adapt to changing needs? Do you want to create a barrier-free main floor? Would you like to know how to do a home inspection on your own property? Are you interested in beefing up your home security system? Or do wood-burning stoves, drywall, concrete foundations or brick veneer walls have you puzzled? CHIC may have the answers you are looking for.

If you are involved in a community planning project or are curious about home-based employment, the researchers at CHIC may have some ideas to get things rolling. They can also tell you which of the CMHC publications, reports or other resources may be worth buying for your project.

If you want the researchers to dig even deeper for you, their rate is $60 per hour but they only charge for time actually used and the first 15 minutes are free. Increasingly more information is being made available on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's website. Phone in and the staff will let you know where on the site to look for specific material. They try to respond within 24 hours.

CHIC also distributes Department of Natural Resources and some provincial government publications.

"The government can be confusing enough and we want to be sure we don't pass the client around too much," said Jones, explaining that CHIC tries to carry useful publications published by various branches of Canadian government so that consumers do not have to chase information down.

Why not order your free copy of All About Housing: CMHC Information Products Catalogue and get in the know?

Contact Information:

Visit in person or mail:
CHIC, CMHC, 700 Montreal Road, Ottawa K1A 0P7
Telephone - 613-748-2367 or 1-800-668-2642
Fax - 613-748-4069
TTY - 1-800-309-3388
Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website -

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