Rose Paving’s Guide to Accessibility Compliance (ACA) in Canada
Did you know that one in five (22%) Canadians has a disability? That’s why it’s important to maintain buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, and other areas so that those with disabilities and accessibility needs can access them. In Canada as well as the United States, accessibility requirements are important factors for business owners to maintain. That’s why we at Rose Paving have put together a guide to accessibility compliance in Canada with everything you’ll need to know
What is Canada’s ADA equivalent?
Like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) not only applies to the construction of new spaces and buildings, it also governs organizations that offer goods and services; employ Canadian workers; provide accommodation; use a building and/or operate a business.
Historically, Canadian accessibility legislation had grouped together accessibility with other grounds of discrimination, such as ethnicity and gender. While this certainly conveys the concept that access to public buildings and businesses is a right, this left gaps in certain areas of social inclusion.
In recent years (2019), there has been a tremendous advancement at the Federal and Provincial level in developing legislation that focuses specifically on the rights of people with disabilities, such as the Accessible Canada Act (C-81) and the AODA.
The Accessible Canada Act (C-81): An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada
In May of 2019, The Accessible Canada Act (C-81) passed the House of Commons with unanimous support, ensuring all Canadians, especially those with physical disabilities, will have equal access to:
- Service Delivery
- The Built Environment
- Information And Communications Technology
All of these standards apply to all businesses, including the one that applies specifically to properties is The Built Environment, which covers any surrounding created by and for human activity, like a walkway or a parking lot.
In short, businesses that cater to the public and/or private-sector must keep all areas free of barriers that may otherwise prevent a disabled person from accessing a facility or the goods offered.
C-81 also requires developers to comply with a specific standard (CAN/CSA-b651) of requirements for making buildings and other facilities accessible to persons with a range of physical disabilities. You can learn more about those standards for CAN/CSA-b651 here.
Canadian Provincial Accessibility Laws and Legislation
The Accessible Canada Act (C-81) is a federal law that applies to all public and/or private-sector organizations, but it is not the only legislation that mandates compliance. Businesses and buildings must also comply with accessibility laws and legislation of their province, as well.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Ontario was the first of the Canadian provinces to enact specific legislation that compels organizations to comply with the five Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations (IASR).
The five IASRs cover accessibility surrounding:
- Information and Communications
- Customer service
- Design of Public Spaces
Like The Accessible Canada Act, AODA mandates the accessibility of your organization but also your public and/or private-sector property. The design of public spaces standard of the AODA outlines the need for newly constructed or redeveloped public spaces to be accessible to persons with a range of physical disabilities and describes ways to make communal spaces more accessible. You can learn more about Design of Public Spaces here.
Following Ontario’s example, many provinces have introduced their own similar legislation based on the same integrated accessibility standards as the AODA, including:
- The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA)
- Nova Scotia Accessibility Act
- British Columbia Accessibility Act (Bill M 219)
Canadian Accessibility Compliance Resources
We’re here to help all businesses in Canada avoid noncompliance fines and penalties, and we understand the importance of ensuring your business and property are compliant not only with C-81, but also with all provincial accessibility standards and building codes.
There are several useful resources that business owners can utilize to ensure their compliance with all local, state and federal ADA regulations.
A few include:
- Accessible Design for the Build Environment
- Ontario Building Code
- Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations
- Creating accessibility policies and multi-year plans
- A Comprehensive Guide for Developing Accessibility Policies and Plans
- How to Create an Accessibility Plan and Policy
- How to Complete your Accessibility Compliance Report (Private and Not for Profit Sectors)
- How to Complete your Accessibility Compliance Report (Public Sector)
Canadian Accessibility Compliance Frequently Asked Questions
The federal government and the provinces are working tirelessly to make Canada more inclusive and accessible to everyone, which is why buildings and businesses are held to a high standard of accessibility compliance.
It’s Rose Paving’s goal to provide information and answers to all your ACA questions and help you comply with all local, provincial, and federal Canadian accessibility regulations.
Q: Who Has To Comply With The Accessibility Laws?
A: Though the language is likely to vary between the different pieces of federal and provincial legislation, each set of laws typically applies to all organizations that are for, or rely on, the public and/or private-sector.
Q: How are Canada’s Accessibility Acts Enforced?
A: Enforcement of the various bills differs depending on the organization or sector. However, most typically rely on a list of compliance activities, including:
- Compliance Audits
- Compliance Orders
- Violation Warnings
- Violation Penalties
- Monetary Penalties
- Compliance Agreements
Q: What Are The Penalties For Non-Compliance of ACA?
A: Like enforcement of accessibility laws, penalties vary from province to province. However, the penalties for AODA non-compliance in Ontario provide a good example of the penalties organizations can expect to see if they don’t meet ACA standards.
The maximum penalties under the AODA include a fine up to $50,000 dollars for each day a violation continues charged to a person and unincorporated organizations that are guilty of a major offense, and a fine up to $100,000 per day charged to a corporation that is guilty of a major offense.
Q: How Do You Become Accessible Compliant in Canada?
A: For a parking lot, garage or building to be considered accessible compliant in Canada, it must be free from barriers to and from handicapped parking spaces and to all accessible elements and spaces, including:
- Curb ramps and pedestrian ramps
- Lobbies and corridors
- Sanitary facilities and restrooms
The best way to ensure all of your properties are compliant is to contact Rose Paving Canada for an ACA consultation and assessment. Get started today!
Additional ADA Compliance Guides from Rose Paving