Ottawa Region

Hamilton Region

What Do I Need in a Barrier-Free Bathroom?


By 2025, the province of Ontario plans to be completely and universally accessible. That includes public bathrooms.

But if you’ve ever tried to figure out what it takes to create a barrier-free bathroom, it can be pretty confusing.

We’ve created this guide to provide an overview of what you need and what CFS Canada can do to help transform the bathroom at your business or office.

Please note: If you’d like more details about the following requirements, we’ve included a link to the relevant section of the Ontario Building Code.

1. Bathroom Stalls

A barrier-free bathroom stall needs to have the following features:

  • A clear turning space of at least 1.5 metres in diameter.
  • A door that’s latched from the inside, but able to be released from the outside during an emergency. This should be at a maximum of 1 metre above the floor.
  • A door that swings outward, leaving an opening of at least 86 centimetres. This door should have spring or gravity hinges for automatic actions.
  • Door pulls on both sides of the door located at least 90 centimetres above the floor.
  • A coat hook on the back of the door that is no more than 1.2 metres above the floor, and doesn’t stick out more than 5 centimetres.
  • A grab bar. Depending on certain factors, the requirements will differ. But all grab bars need to be slip-resistant, be between 75-92 centimetres above the floor, and should have at least 3.8 centimetres of space between it and the wall.
  • A toilet paper dispenser that is wall-mounted, located below the grab bar, and located no more than 30 centimetres in front of the toilet. It also needs to be at least 60 centimetres from the floor.
  • Any product dispensers should be installed so that the dispensing height and operating mechanisms are between 90 – 120 centimetres above the floor.

You can work together with your contractor to make sure these requirements are included in the design phase of your project.

For more details on bathroom stalls, see section:

2. Sinks and Soap Dispensers

When it’s time to wash up, your sink should meet the following requirements:

  • 1.37 metres of clear floor space in front of the sink to allow for an easy approach, with a maximum of 50 centimetres allowed to be located under the sink.
  • The top of the sink is no more than 84 centimetres from the floor.
  • Faucets should either be automatic or have lever-type handles.
  • The distance from the centre line of the faucet to the edge of the basin or counters is no more than 48.5 centimetres.
  • Any exposed pipes should be insulated or covered.

Soap dispensers need to be placed on a wall no more than 1.2 metres up from the floor, easily accessible to people who use a wheelchair, and can be used with one hand. The same is true for any towel dispenser or dryer.

For more details on lavatories, sinks, and soap dispensers, see section:

3. Mirrors and Shelves

Everyone likes a flattering mirror, right? But only if they can see into them! For this reason, any mirrors in a barrier-free business or office bathroom should be mounted with the bottom no more than 1 metre above the ground OR tilted downward so everyone can use it.

Shelves should be located at a maximum height of 1.1 metres from the floor, and should stick out no more than 10 centimetres from the wall. For reference, that would easily hold a small box of facial tissues.

For more details on mirrors and shelves, see section:

4. Adult-Sized Changing Tables

If you’re aiming for a truly universal washroom, you’ll need to include an adult-sized changing table.

These tables have the following requirements:

  • The table will be installed in a clear space that is no less than 81 centimetres wide and 183 centimetres long.
  • Have a surface height that can be adjusted between 45 and 50 centimetres at the low range and 85-90 centimetres at the high range.
  • Hold a minimum weight of 225 lbs.

For more details on changing tables, see section:

5. Automatic Buttons and Emergency Systems

This is where we come in! Barrier-free business/office bathrooms with the goal of being universal should have:

  • A door equipped with a power operator and a self-closing device.
  • An emergency call system that sends visual and audio alerts when the button is pushed.
  • A sign alerting users to the presence of an emergency button.

We have a wide range of push plates, power openers, and other systems you can use to make your washroom extra-easy to use. We just recently installed new automatic door opener push plates at our office washrooms that not only allow you to open and close a door, but light up red when the bathroom is occupied!

For more details on universal washrooms, see section:

CFS Canada Can Help Create Your Barrier-Free Bathroom

Having not just a barrier-free bathroom, but a universally accessible building is great for your business or office.

CFS Canada can help you by installing automatic entrances and systems that make welcoming customers or visitors as easy as pressing a button.

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