Ontario is to be a more accessible province by 2025

Ontario is to be a more accessible province by 2025



by Lynn McGregor                                             


As everyone in Ontario knows by now, our province is on a noble and appropriate quest to make Ontario a much more accessible province for all of us - including anyone who is either temporarily or permanently disabled. And they have set a deadline of 2025. If you have been charged with an office relocation, expansion or renovation, you may want to consider the following list of proposed Building Codes Changes, to ensure that your facility is as leading edge, supportive and appropriate as possible. And that you are not always playing the expensive game of “catch-up”. 


If approved, the proposed changes will increase the accessibility of all spaces for all of us. The objective is to provide equal dignity and democratic access to all citizens. It should no longer be considered good enough to provide access at a back door, by the dumpsters, for someone in a wheelchair. The goal is to ensure that a handicapped individual can enter and experience a space, the same way an able bodied individual can. To their credit, the province has spent considerable time on consultations with stakeholder groups, including those representing the disabled, builders, developers, designers and owners of property; in a quest to get a good balance between accessible improvement, and the impact of those changes on others, (fiscal, logistical, etc.).


The following are a few of the changes being considered by the Province of Ontario:

  • Travel Corridors may well be Wider
  • Minimum Door Widths will likely Increase
  • Turning Radius of Wheelchairs will increase
  • Handicapped Washrooms will require Assistance Alarms
  • Stairs May be Easier to Negotiate
  • Ramp Inclines may be mandated to be more gentle
  • When Renovating- the suggestion is to Go Barrier Free
  • Visual Fire Alarms are being Considered

More details: here


The net impact of the proposed changes appears on the surface to be that requirements will take more space to accommodate, than they did before. But if offices are professionally designed to allow spaces to assume more than one function, (i.e.: multi-purpose area), it could offset the space impact considerably.


We know that some individuals in the building industry have been concerned about the Accessibility Act - and what the changes mandated will mean to their worlds and businesses. Some resistance is due to the feeling that changes to the current building code could add cost to facility projects. But we can’t lose perspective. It is important to note that many of the proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code are already law in other areas of our world. If Ontario is to be a more accessible province by 2025, all citizens need to embrace change at a more rapid rate that we have done in the past.