As part of a city committee, I’ve been reading the Ministry of Community and Social Services – Accessible Built Environment Standard, and boy is it ever long. It tries to cover every aspect of the construction and layout of any building built in Ontario.
When I first started reading it, I thought “boy is it ever going to do us all a lot of good.” They were being very thorough and trying to think of everything. As it continued, I thought “well, the wheelchair folks are still going to be ok, but us blind folks are kinda being hung out to dry.” Then I asked some people in wheelchairs, and even they said that the widths designated for them were getting narrower. It was like halfway through, the committee just lost steam and decided to give up.
So, if you live in Ontario and you have a disability, I urge you to look over this standard. Yes, it’s long, it’s painful, but it’s important because it’s going to shape what is considered accessible until at least 2025. You can look at it on the web, you can download it in either Word or PDF, there’s no reason you can’t have a look at it.
And if there is something in there that you think they should know about, please comment. They are accepting comments until October 16.
I especially urge people who use braille to scream that raised print is not sufficient. There are some places where it is stipulated that braille be used, but often it is only phrased as “raised tactile signage.” I have never read print in my life. Even if I did learn what the print letters felt like, all you have to do is stylize them a bit and my brain can’t make the leap to tell me that these new things are actually the old letters I memorized. It will not be effective for anyone who didn’t learn print as a child.
But most of all, read it and comment on anything you see as wrong. they are asking for public input. Let’s give it to them.
As an aside, why does the online table of contents only go to 8.7? The act goes on much, much further. If someone from MCSS could answer me on that, that would be awesome.
If this standard gets tightened up, it will do all of us a lot of good. Let’s try and help them tighten it up.