Wheelchair accessibility is good for business. Two-thirds of all Ontario residents either are — or know someone who is – living with some type of disability. These disabled Ontarians are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect. From a business standpoint, they are also consumers, who will feel welcomed and encouraged to patronize your commercial facility if the premises are accessible.
For Ontario businesses in new or extensively renovated buildings, providing accessibility is also the law. As industry experts in this field, let CFS Canada be your guide to what you need to know.
Do Ontario businesses have to be handicap accessible?
Businesses and non-profits that serve the public in Ontario are moving toward increasing accessibility, via the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s readily achievable, phased program. It’s important to remove barriers to access for Ontario residents with a broad range of physical or mental disabilities or handicaps. These may be visible (such as mobility challenges requiring the use of a wheelchair) or invisible.
The goal is for all Ontario businesses to be fully accessible by the year 2025. Currently, businesses operating in Ontario must do the following:
- Provide accessible customer service
- Provide accessible public safety and emergency information, to both clients and staff
- Create and publicize accessibility policies
- Take accessibility needs into account in the design or purchase of self-service kiosks
- Train staff and volunteers regarding provincial accessibility requirements
- Provide an easy means of customer feedback for people with disabilities
- Make your business’s public information accessible on request
- Implement accessible hiring practices
- Make any new or newly redeveloped public spaces (such as service counters or parking lots) accessible
Businesses with 20 or more employees must also file periodic Accessibility Compliance Reports. In addition, businesses with 50+ employees must create a multi-year plan, to be posted in accessible form on their website.
Who sets the accessibility standards in Ontario?
Standards are set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). The AODA specifies accessibility standards for a wide variety of organizations in the province, including large and small businesses, non-profits, and government at all levels.
What accessibility requirements are needed to meet Ontario’s Building Code (OBC)?
The Ontario Building Code stipulates accessibility requirements for new or substantially renovated buildings, in accordance with the AODA, namely:
- barrier-free access paths of travel
- fire safety devices
- public washrooms
- access to pools and saunas
- seating in public spaces
These code requirements are not applicable to already existing buildings unless they are to be extensively renovated in the future. Only the requirement for fire safety devices such as a smoke alarm is applicable to houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses, and duplexes.
How Can CFS Canada Help Your Business Become Wheelchair Accessible?
Work with the professional and experienced team at CFS Canada to make your business wheelchair accessible. We are the specialists in barrier-free entries, and we love to be challenged. We will never shy away from a complicated scope of work.
Which services does your business need?
- A thorough professional inspection of your building, followed by recommendations to improve accessibility
- Barrier-free entry design and installation, for even the most architecturally challenging building
- Automated options for either sliding or swinging doors
- Regular maintenance, safety checks, and prompt repair of door operators and automatic openings
- Effortless access during your business hours, yet full security when you are closed
- Customized walkthrough to ensure that your building complies with accessibility guidelines
- Accessibility solutions for every floor and every door of your business
- Guidance regarding Capital Grants which may help fund upgrades to make your Ontario business more accessible
CFS Canada is committed to maintaining prompt communications at all times – We return calls, answer emails and attend our appointments on time and prepared.