Skip to main content Skip to main menu

Equitable Use

Equitable use is one of the principles of universal design, which makes goods and products accessible to many people. The universal design principle of equitable use is similar to the principles of dignity, integration, and full participation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Equitable Use

Equitable use means that everyone should be able to use a product or space. Moreover, when possible, every person should be able to use the product or space in the same way. Alternatively, people should be able to use the product or space in an equitable way. For example, when trash cans in washrooms are foot operated, people in wheelchairs cannot open the cans. Similarly, when faucets on sinks or water fountains have hand controls, people with limited hand function cannot operate those controls. In contrast, when all these fixtures are motion-censored, people can use them without touching them in any way.

In addition, a product or space should not segregate or stigmatize anyone. For instance, when venues like theatres or arenas place all their accessible seating in one section of the venue, this arrangement separates people needing accessible seating from the rest of the audience. On the other hand, when all seating areas include some accessible seats, audience members who need them can mingle with the rest of the crowd.

Furthermore, all users of a product or space should have equal access to features that support:

  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Safety

For example, when people use accessible self-service kiosks with audio output, the kiosks should have headphones. In this way, people can input their financial information privately.

Finally, the product or space should be appealing to everyone who uses it. For instance, bouquets of flowers can appeal to multiple senses, including:

  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sight

A variety of arrangements, each designed to appeal in different ways, allows more people to enjoy them.