Proposed AODA Built Environment Standard for Public Spaces Released for Public Consultation

The Ontario government has released part of the Built Environment Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) for public review and comments until October 1, 2012. This is the fifth standard enacted under the AODA.

To refresh your memory, the AODA became law on June 13, 2005. The purpose of the AODA is to develop, implement, and enforce mandatory accessibility standards in key areas of daily living for persons with disabilities. Accessibility standards have been realized for Customer Service; Information and Communications; Employment; and Transportation. The accessibility standards apply to private and public sector organizations across Ontario. The goal of the AODA is an accessible Ontario by 2025.

The overall goal of the Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment is to remove barriers in public spaces and buildings in new construction and planned redevelopment. The partial Built Environment Standard is being introduced through amendments to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (Ontario Regulation 191/11) to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, and not those barriers inside buildings. The Ministry of Community and Social Services has indicated that enhancements to accessibility in buildings will happen at a later date through Ontario’s Building Code, which governs new construction and renovations in buildings.

It is important to note, the accessibility requirements for obtaining services in respect of service counters, fixed queuing guides and waiting areas apply whether the services are obtained in buildings or out-of-doors.

What about compliance?

The requirements are quite technical and complex, and will be an arduous endeavour for any business to undertake, but it must be done. Most businesses and certain professionals as well as municipalities will need to comply, and this includes: Educational Institutions, Day Cares, Architects, Engineers, contractors, construction companies, and landscapers among others.

They will have to think of accessibility in public places such as parking spaces, pathways, entrances, waiting areas, eating areas, play spaces, service counter spaces, among others.

In addition, the finance department or chief financial officer of an organization will have to consider the costs of implementing the requirements overtime, in future fiscal year budgets.

Architects, engineers and built accessibility consultants will have to be retained to review and oversee some of these changes for compliance with the law.

According to Jessica Young & Jeremy Schwartz of Stringer LLP,

One issue likely to be one of the most contentious is the lack of any clarity in the proposed Standard in respect of the division of responsibility between an owner and a tenant. It is unclear who would be responsible for compliance. Intuitively, the party with control over the space and the power to comply is likely to be held responsible. However, the Standard does not draw such distinctions. In other words, it is possible that one party has insufficient authority to comply without the other party’s permission or assistance, but both may be held liable for non-compliance – an absurd result.

Parties to tenancy agreements should review their contract documents and templates to ensure responsibility and authority is clearly delegated or retained, as appropriate. “

The amendments, once finalized, are expected to come into force the later of January 1, 2013, or the day they are filed.

Very important to note, the amendments to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation proposes minor technical changes to the accessibility report under the customer service standard, changes to the accessibility plan under the general obligations of the Integrated Regulation, changes to requirements for libraries of educational and training institutions under the Information and Communication standard, as well as changes under the Employment and Transportation standards, to clarify some of the requirements and make it easier for organizations to implement them. These amendments are discussed in a separate blog post.

To paraphrase the proposed law, here is what you technically need to know regarding the Built Environment Standard for public spaces…

The Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment for outdoor public spaces will only apply to new construction and planned redevelopment. The Standard defines “redeveloped” as “planned significant or substantial changes” to public spaces but does not include “maintenance activities”.

The Standard defines “maintenance” as activities meant to keep existing public spaces and elements in existing public spaces in good working order or to restore the spaces or elements to their original condition, for example, by painting or through minor repairs.

The Built Environment Standard applies to the Government of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly, designated public sector organizations and large private sector and not-for-profit organizations. These obligated organizations must meet the requirements set out below in accordance with the following schedule:

  • For the Government of Ontario and the Legislative Assembly, January 1, 2015
  • For designated public sector organizations, January 1, 2016
  • For large organizations, January 1, 2017

Although most of the requirements do not apply to small private sector and not-for-profit organizations, they do have certain obligations in relation to accessible parking, obtaining services – service counters, queuing guides, and must comply by January 1, 2018.

While “public space” is not defined, the proposed regulation sets out requirements for the following areas:

  • Recreational trails/beach access routes
  • Outdoor public-use eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas
  • Outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds in provincial parks and local communities
  • Exterior paths of travel, like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals
  • Accessible parking
  • Service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas
  • Maintenance

Specifically, the proposed Built Environment Standard requirements are based on recommendations made by the Accessible Built Environment Standards Development Committee, and include:

Recreational trails and beach access routes:

Obligated organizations must meet minimum requirements for recreational trails and beach access routes.

The requirements do not apply to the following types of recreational trails: trails intended for cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and the use of off-road vehicles and trails that are not regularly maintained, such as wilderness trails including backcountry trails and portage routes.

Beach access routes include permanent and temporary routes, and temporary routes that are established through the use of manufactured goods, which can be removed for the winter months.

1. Minimum requirements for recreation trails include,

Ensuring that new and redeveloped recreational trails meet the following technical requirements:

  • A recreational trail must have a minimum clear width of 1,000 mm
  • A recreational trail must have a clear height that provides a minimum head room clearance of 2,100 mm above the trail
  • The surface of the recreational trail must be firm and stable

Where a recreational trail has openings in its surface,

  • The openings must not allow passage of an object that has a diameter of more than 13 mm, and
  • Any elongated openings must be oriented approximately perpendicular to the direction of travel

Where the trail is constructed adjacent to water, a recreational trail must be provided with edge protection that meets the following requirements:

  • The edge protection must constitute an elevated barrier that runs along the edge of the recreational trail and must prevent users of the trail from slipping over the edge
  • The top of the edge protection must be at least 50 mm above the trail surface
  • The edge protection must be designed so as not to impede the drainage of the trail surface.
  • However, where there is a handrail of between 865 mm and 965 mm that runs along the edge of the recreational trail that is adjacent to water, edge protection does not have to be provided.

    The entrance to the recreational trail must provide a clear opening of between 850 mm and 1,000 mm, whether the entrance is a gate, bollard or other entrance design.

    A recreational trail must have at the start of the trail signage that provides the following information:

    • The length of the trail
    • The type of surface of which the trail is constructed
    • The average and the minimum trail width
    • The average running slope and maximum cross slope
    • The location of amenities, where provided

    The signage must have text that, (a) is high colour-contrasted with its background in order to assist with visual recognition; and (b) is written in solid, legible characters.

    Where other media is used to provide information about a recreational trail, such as websites or brochures, the media must provide the same information found in the signs, as listed above.

    Obligated organizations other than municipalities are required to consult with the public and persons with disabilities on the following before they develop new or redevelop existing recreational trails:

    • The slope of the trail
    • The need for and location and design of,
      • rest areas
      • passing areas
      • viewing areas
      • amenities on the trail

    Municipalities must consult with their municipal accessibility advisory committees, where one has been established. In addition, they must also consult with the public and persons with disabilities.

    2. Minimum requirements for beach access routes include,

    • Sufficiently clear width to permit people using mobility aids,
      • To access the land portion of a beach where recreation normally occurs, and
      • To turn around
      • Have a clear height that provides a minimum head room clearance of 2,100 mm above the beach access route
      • Surface of the beach access route must be firm and stable

      “Mobility aid” means a device used to facilitate the transport, in a seated posture, of a person with a disability.

      Where the surface area of the beach access route is constructed, that is where the surface area is not natural; the surface area must meet the following requirements:

      • It must have a 1:2 bevel at changes in level between 6 mm and 13 mm
      • The maximum cross slope of the beach access route must be no more than 1:50
      • It must have a running slope of between 1:10 and 1:12 at changes in level between 14 mm and 200 mm
      • It must have a ramp that meets the requirements of section 80.12 where there are changes in level greater than 200 mm
      • Any openings in the surface of the beach access route must not allow passage of an object with a diameter of more than 13 mm
      • Any elongated openings in the beach access route, such as gratings, must be oriented approximately perpendicular to the direction of travel

      The maximum cross slope of the beach access route where the surface is not constructed must be the minimum slope required for drainage.

      The maximum running slope of the beach access route is 1:10.

      3. Common technical requirements for recreational trails and beach access routes

      Obligated organizations will ensure that new and redeveloped recreational trails and beach access routes meet the following technical requirements in respect of boardwalks and ramps:

      • The boardwalk must have a minimum clear width of 1,000 mm
      • The boardwalk must have a minimum headroom clearance of 2,100 mm
      • The boardwalk must be made of firm and stable surface material
      • The boardwalk must not have any openings in the surface that allow the passage of an object with a diameter of more than 13 mm
      • The boardwalk must include edge protection that is at least 50 mm in height
      • If a boardwalk has running slopes that are steeper than 1:20, the running slopes must meet the requirements for ramps set out in section 80.12
      • Ramps must have a minimum clear width of 900 mm
      • Ramps must have a minimum headroom clearance of 2,100 mm
      • Ramps must be made of firm and stable surface material
      • Ramps must have a maximum running slope of no more than 1:10
      • Ramps must not have any openings in the surface that allow the passage of an object with a diameter of more than 13 mm
      • Ramps must be equipped with handrails on both sides of the ramp and the handrails must,
        • be continuously graspable along their entire length and have circular cross-section with an outside diameter not less than 30 mm and not more than 40 mm, or any non-circular shape with a graspable portion that has a perimeter not less than 100 mm and not more than 155 mm, with its largest cross-sectional dimension measuring not more than 57 mm,
        • be not less than 865 mm and not more than 965 mm high, measured vertically from the surface of the ramp, except that handrails not meeting these requirements are permitted if they are installed in addition to the required handrail,
        • be terminated in a manner that will not obstruct pedestrian travel or create a hazard,
        • extend horizontally not less than 300 mm beyond the top and bottom of the ramp, and
        • be provided with a clearance of not less than 50 mm between the handrail and any wall to which it is attached

      Where ramps are more than 2,200 mm in width, one or more intermediate handrails which are continuous between landings shall be provided and located so that there is no more than 1,650 mm between handrails; the handrails must meet the requirements set out in the above bullet point.

      Ramps must also have a wall or guard on both sides and where a guard is provided, it must,

      • be not less than 1,070 mm measured vertically to the top of the guard from the ramp surface, and
      • be designed so that no member, attachment, or opening located between 140 mm and 900 mm above the ramp surface being protected by the guard will facilitate climbing

      Ramps must have edge protection that is provided,

      • with a curb at least 50 mm high on any side of the ramp where no solid enclosure or solid guard is provided, and
      • with railings or other barriers that extend to within 50 mm of the finished ramp surface

      Ramps must be provided with landings that meet the following requirements:

      • Landings must be provided, at the top and bottom of the ramp, where there is an abrupt change in the direction of the ramp, and at horizontal intervals not greater than nine metres apart
      • Landings must be a minimum of 1,670 mm by 1,670 mm at the top and bottom of the ramp and where there is an abrupt change in direction of the ramp
      • Landings must be a minimum of 1,670 mm in length and at least the same width of the ramp for an in-line ramp
      • Landings must have a cross slope that is not steeper that 1:50

      Outdoor public use eating areas

      The accessibility requirements to outdoor public use eating areas apply to tables that are found in public areas, such as in public parks, on hospital grounds and on university campuses.

      Obligated organizations will ensure that new and redeveloped outdoor public use eating areas meet the following requirements:

      • A minimum of 20 percent of the tables provided must be accessible to people using mobility aids by having knee and toe clearance underneath the table; in no case, shall there be fewer than one table in an outdoor public-use eating area that meets this requirement
      • The ground surface leading to and under tables that are accessible to people using mobility aids must be level, firm and stable
      • Tables that are accessible to people using mobility aids must have clear ground space around them that allows for a forward approach to the tables

      Outdoor play spaces

      The accessibility requirements to outdoor play spaces apply to areas that may contain play equipment, such as swings, or features such as logs, rocks, sand or water where the equipment or features are designed to provide play opportunities and experiences for children and caregivers.

      Obligated organizations will incorporate accessibility features for children and caregivers with various disabilities into the design of outdoor play spaces when developing new or redeveloping existing play spaces.

      Obligated organization must consult with the public and people with disabilities to help to incorporate accessibility for children and caregivers with various disabilities into play spaces. Municipalities must also consult with their municipal accessibility advisory committees, where one has been established.

      Exterior path of travel (e.g., sidewalks, walkways, ramps, stairs)

      The accessibility requirements to exterior path of travel apply to outdoor sidewalks or walkways designed for pedestrian travel that serve a functional purpose and are not intended to provide a recreational experience. However, it does not does not apply to barrier free paths of travel regulated under Ontario Regulation 350/06 made under the Building Code Act, 1992.

      Obligated organizations will ensure that new and redeveloped exterior paths of travel meet the technical requirements set out below:

      • The surface must be firm and stable
      • The surface must be slip resistant
      • The exterior path must have a clear width of 1,500 mm, but this clear width can be reduced to 1,200 mm where the exterior path connects with a curb ramp

      Where the head room clearance is less than 2,100 mm over a portion of the exterior path, a rail or other barrier with a leading edge that is cane detectable must be provided around the object that is obstructing the head room clearance.

      The maximum running slope of the exterior path must be no more than 1:20, but where the exterior path is a sidewalk, it can have a slope of greater than 1:20 but it cannot be steeper than the slope of the adjacent roadway.

      The maximum cross slope must be no greater than 1:50.

      Where there are changes in level, the exterior path must, include a maximum bevel of 1:2, where the change is between 6 mm and 13 mm,

      • include a 1:8 to a 1:10 slope, where the change is between 14 mm and 74 mm
      • include a 1:10 to a 1:12 slope, where the change is between 75 mm and 200 mm, and
      • include a ramp that meets the requirements of section 80.23, where the change is greater than 200 mm

      Gates, bollards and other entrance designs must provide a minimum clear opening of 850 mm. Where an exterior path has openings in its surface,

      • the openings must not allow passage of an object that has a diameter of more than 13 mm, and
      • any elongated openings, such as a grating, must be oriented approximately perpendicular to the direction of travel

      Where exterior paths of travel are equipped with ramps, the ramps must meet the following requirements:

      • Ramps must be made of firm and stable material
      • Ramps must have a slip-resistant surface
      • Ramps must have a minimum clear width of 900 mm
      • Ramps must have a maximum running slope of no more than 1:15

      Landings must be provided,

      • at the top and bottom of a ramp
      • where there is an abrupt change in direction on the ramp, and
      • at horizontal intervals not greater than nine metres apart

      Landings must meet the following requirements:

      • Landings must be a minimum of 1,670 mm by 1,670 mm at the top and bottom of the ramp and where there is an abrupt change in direction on the ramp
      • Landings must be a minimum of 1,670 mm in length and at least the same width of the ramp for an in-line ramp
      • Landings must have a cross slope that is not steeper than 1:50

      Handrails must be included on both sides of the ramp and must,

      • be continuously graspable along their entire length and have circular cross-section with an outside diameter not less than 30 mm and not more than 40 mm, or any non-circular shape with a graspable portion that has a perimeter not less than 100 mm and not more than 155 mm and whose largest cross-sectional dimension is not more than 57 mm
      • be not less than 865 mm and not more than 965 mm high, measured vertically from the surface of the ramp, except that handrails not meeting these requirements are permitted provided they are installed in addition to the required handrail
      • be terminated in a manner that will not obstruct pedestrian travel or create a hazard
      • extend horizontally not less than 300 mm beyond the top and bottom of the ramp
      • be provided with a clearance of not less than 50 mm between the handrail and any wall to which it is attached, and
      • be designed and constructed such that handrails and their supports will withstand the loading values obtained from the non-concurrent application of a concentrated load not less than 0.9 kilonewtons (kN) applied at any point and in any direction for all handrails and a uniform load not less than 0.7 kN/metre applied in any direction to the handrail

      Where ramps are more than 2,200 mm in width, one or more intermediate handrails which are continuous between landings shall be provided and located so that there is no more than 1,650 mm between handrails; the handrails must meet the requirements set out in paragraph 7 of the Regulation.

      Ramps must have a wall or guard on both sides and where a guard is provided, it must, be not less than 1,070 mm measured vertically to the top of the guard from the ramp surface, and be designed so that no member, attachment or opening located between 140 mm and 900 mm above the ramp surface being protected by the guard will facilitate climbing.

      Ramps must have edge protection that is provided, with a curb at least 50 mm high on any side of the ramp where no solid enclosure or solid guard is provided, and with railings or other barriers that extend to within 50 mm of the finished ramp surface.

      Where stairs are provided on exterior paths of travel, they must meet the following requirements:

      • Stairs must have uniform risers and runs in any one flight
      • The rise between successive treads must be between 125 mm and 180 mm
      • The run between successive steps must be between 280 mm and 355 mm
      • The stairs must have closed risers
      • The maximum nosing projection on a tread must be no more than 38 mm, with no abrupt undersides. That is, the undersides should be bevelled for example to avoid an individual from tripping
      • Stairs must have high colour contrast markings that extend the full tread width of the leading edge of each step
      • Stairs must be equipped with tactile walking surface indicators that are built in or applied to the walking surface and that warn individuals who are visibly impaired of hazards, such as a change in elevation. The tactile walking surfaces must, be located at the top of all flights of stairs, and extend the full tread width to a minimum depth of 610 mm commencing one tread depth from the edge of the top step
      • Handrails must be included on both sides of stairs must satisfy the requirements set out in paragraph 7 of subsection 80.23 (1)
      • A guard must be provided that is not less than 920 mm, measured vertically to the top of the guard from a line drawn through the outside edges of the stair nosings and 1,070 mm around the landings, is required on each side of a stairway where the difference in elevation between ground level and the top step is more than 600 mm but, where there is a wall, a guard is not required on that side

      Where stairs are more than 2,200 mm in width, one or more intermediate handrails that are continuous between landings must be provided and located so there is no more that 1,650 mm between handrails. The handrails must satisfy the requirements set out in paragraph 7 of subsection 80.23 (1)

      Where curb ramps are provided on exterior paths of travel, they must align with the direction of travel. For the purposes of the standard, curb ramps are ramps that are cut through a curb or that are built up to a curb, and must have,

      • a minimum clear width of 1,200 mm, exclusive of any flared sides
      • The running slope of curb ramps must, be 1:8 to 1:10, where elevation is less than 75 mm, and be 1:10 to 1:12, where elevation is greater than 75 mm and less than 200 mm
      • The maximum cross slope of curb ramps must be no more than 1:50
      • The maximum slope on the flared side of a curb ramp must be no more than 1:10

      Where curb ramps are provided at pedestrian crossings, they must have tactile walking surface indicators that, are located at the bottom of the curb ramp; are set back between 150 mm and 200 mm from the curb edge; extend the full width of the curb ramp, and are a minimum of 610 mm in depth

      Where depressed curbs are provided on exterior paths of travel, they must meet the following requirements. For the purposes of the standard, depressed curbs are seamless gradual slopes at transitions between sidewalks and walkways and highways, and are usually found at intersections.

      • Depressed curbs must have a maximum running slope of 1:20
      • Depressed curbs must be aligned with the direction of travel

      Where depressed curbs are provided at pedestrian crossings, they must have tactile walking surface indicators that, are located at the bottom portion of the depressed curb that is flush with the roadway; are set back between 150 mm and 200 mm from the curb edge, and; are a minimum of 610 mm in depth.

      Where new pedestrian signals are being installed at pedestrian street crossings or existing pedestrian signals are being replaced, they must be pushbutton-integrated accessible pedestrian signals.

      Pushbutton-integrated accessible pedestrian signals must meet the following requirements:

      • They must have a locator tone that is distinct from a walk indicator tone
      • They must be installed within 1,500 mm of the edge of the curb
      • They must be mounted at a maximum of 1,100 mm above ground level
      • They must have tactile arrows that align with the direction of crossing
      • They must include both audible and vibro-tactile walk indicators

      Obligated organizations must consult with the public and persons with disabilities when developing new or redeveloping exterior paths of travel. Municipalities must also consult with their municipal accessibility advisory committees, where one has been established.

      Accessible parking spaces

      All obligated organizations, including small organizations, will ensure that all new and redeveloped off-street parking facilities meet the following requirements.

      Off-street parking facilities must provide the following two types of accessible parking spaces:

      • Type A, a wider parking space which has a minimum width of 3,400 mm and signage that identifies the space as “van accessible”
      • Type B, a standard parking space which has a minimum width of 2,400 mm

      Off-street parking facilities must have a minimum number and type of accessible parking spaces, in accordance with the following requirements:

      • One accessible parking space, which meets the requirements of a Type A parking space, where there are 25 parking spaces or fewer
      • Four percent of the total number of parking spaces must be accessible parking spaces where there are between 26 and 500 parking spaces in accordance with the following ratio, rounding up to the nearest whole number:
        • Where an even number of accessible parking spaces are provided in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, an equal number of parking spaces that meet the requirements of a Type A parking space and a Type B parking space must be provided
        • Where an odd number of accessible parking spaces are provided in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, the number of parking spaces must be divided equally between parking spaces that meet the requirements of a Type A parking space and a Type B parking space, but the additional parking space, the odd-numbered space, must be a Type B parking space
        • Twenty accessible parking spaces, and an additional two percent of parking spaces for spaces in addition to 500, must be accessible parking spaces where more than 500 parking spaces are provided in accordance to the following ratio, rounded up to the nearest whole number:
        • Where an even number of accessible parking spaces are provided in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, an equal number of parking spaces that meet the requirements of a Type A parking space and a Type B parking space must be provided
        • Where an odd number of accessible parking spaces are provided in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph, the number of parking spaces must be divided equally between parking spaces that meet the requirements of a Type A parking space and a Type B parking space, but the additional parking space, the odd-numbered space, must be a Type B parking space

      If an obligated organization provides more than one off-street parking facility at a site, the obligated organization must calculate the number and type of accessible parking spaces according to the number and type of parking spaces required for each off-street parking facility.

      In determining the location of accessible parking spaces that must be provided where there is more than one off-street parking facility at a site, an obligated organization may distribute them among the off-street parking facilities in a manner that provides substantially equivalent or greater accessibility in terms of distance from an accessible entrance or user convenience. The following factors may be considered in determining user convenience:

      • Protection from the weather
      • Security
      • Lighting
      • Comparative maintenance

      Access aisles, which is the space between parking spaces that allows people with disabilities to transfer to and from vehicles, must be provided for all accessible parking spaces in off-street parking facilities, and may be shared by two accessible parking spaces in an off-street parking facility.

      Access aisles must,

      • Have a minimum width of 1,500 mm
      • Extend the full length of the parking space
      • Be marked with high colour contrast diagonal lines that discourage parking between them

      The requirements in respect of off-street parking facilities do not apply to off-street parking facilities that are used exclusively for one of the following:

      • Parking for employees
      • Parking for buses
      • Parking for delivery vehicles
      • Parking for law enforcement vehicles
      • Parking for medical transportation vehicles, such as ambulances
      • Parking used as a parking lot for impounded vehicles

      The requirements in respect to off-street parking facilities do not apply to those off-street parking facilities that are not located on a barrier-free path of travel, regulated under Ontario Regulation 350/06 made under the Building Code Act, 1992 where obligated organizations have multiple off-street parking facilities on a single site that serve a building or facility.

      An exception to the minimum number of accessible spaces required is permitted where obligated organizations can demonstrate that it is not practicable to comply with the requirement because existing physical or site constraints prevent it from meeting the required ratio, such as where the minimum width for accessible parking spaces or access aisles cannot be met because of existing pay and display parking meters, surrounding curb edges, walkways, landscaping, or the need to maintain a minimum drive-aisle width.

      Obligated organization must consult on the need, location and design of accessible on-street parking spaces with the public and people with disabilities when developing new or redeveloping existing on-street parking spaces. Municipalities must also consult with their municipal accessibility advisory committees, where one has been established.

      Obtaining services – service counters, queuing guides

      The accessibility requirements for obtaining services in respect of service counters, fixed queuing guides and waiting areas apply whether the services are obtained in buildings or out-of-doors.

      All obligated organizations, including small organizations, will ensure that the following meet the requirements of this section:

      • All new means of obtaining services in respect of service counters and fixed queuing guides
      • All new and redeveloped means of obtaining services in respect of waiting areas. Have a minimum of one accessible counter when providing services to the public

      Where there is a conflict between this requirement and the accessibility standards set out in Ontario Regulation 429/07, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service; the requirement or standard that provides the greater accessibility for people with disabilities prevails.

      Service counters

      When installing new service counters, the following requirements must be met:

      • There must be at a minimum one service counter that accommodates a mobility aid for each type of service provided and the accessible service counter must be clearly identified with signage, where there are multiple queuing lines and service counters
      • Each service counter must accommodate a mobility aid, where a single queuing line serves multiple counters

      The service counter that accommodates mobility aids must meet the following requirements:

      • The countertop height must be such that it is usable by a person seated in a mobility aid
      • There must be sufficient knee clearance for a person seated in a mobility aid, where a forward approach to the counter is required
      • The floor space in front of the counter must be sufficiently clear so as to accommodate a mobility aid

      Fixed queuing guides

      When installing new fixed queuing guides, the following requirements must be met:

      • The fixed queuing guides must have sufficient width to allow for the passage of mobility aids
      • The fixed queuing guides must have sufficiently clear floor area to permit mobility aids to turn where queuing lines change direction
      • The fixed queuing guides must be cane detectable by persons who are blind or who have low vision

      Waiting area

      When providing a new or redeveloping an existing waiting area, where the seating is fixed to the floor, three percent of the new seating must be accessible, but in no case will there be less than one accessible seating space.

      For the purposes of the standard, accessible seating is not a seat but a space in the seating area where an individual in a mobility aid can wait.

      Maintenance

      This requirement is to ensure accessibility-related equipment and features are maintained.

      Obligated organizations, other than small organizations, will ensure that their multi-year accessibility plans include the following:

      • Procedures for preventative and emergency maintenance of the accessible elements in public spaces are required under the standard
      • Procedures for dealing with temporary disruptions when accessible elements required under this standard are not in working order

      Conclusion

      So now that you know what is proposed, don’t forget to have your say and provide your comments to the government by email to designofpublicspaces@ontario.ca by October 1, 2012.

      The comments received during consultation will be considered during the final preparation of the regulation.

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