Currently, no AODA standards require tourism to be accessible. However, the Third Review of the AODA recommends the creation of standards mandating accessibility in tourism. In this article, we will outline the need for more physical accessibility in tourist venues.
Physical Accessibility in Tourist Venues
The Third Review of the AODA recommends that the government should strengthen accessibility provisions in the Ontario Building Code (the Code). Likewise, the Review recommends improvements to the AODA’s Design of Public Spaces Standards. The improved Code and Standards would prevent accessibility barriers in new buildings and spaces. Similarly, the Review recommends reforming the management of public building projects. In other words, all new buildings that Ontario constructs for public use should be barrier-free by design. Moreover, required consultations and inspections should ensure that all citizens can enter and move through all new buildings. Finally, the Review recommends incentives for retrofitting existing buildings and spaces.
Consequently, AODA standards in tourism could require the government to implement and enforce all these recommendations. Furthermore, new standards for construction and retrofits could apply first to buildings and spaces that tourists might visit. For example, the standards could include guidelines for physical accessibility in new and existing:
- Amusement parks
- Sports venues
- Theatres, including:
- Museums and galleries
- Monuments and other historic sites
Likewise, the Design of Public Spaces Standards have guidelines for accessibility in newly-built spaces that tourists might visit or use, including:
- Beach access routes
- Outdoor eating areas
- Sidewalks and other outside paths
- Parking spaces
Therefore, AODA standards in tourism could mandate guidelines to retrofit spaces built before the Design of Public Spaces Standards came into force.
In addition, the Third Review of the AODA also recommends accessibility training for professionals who design buildings and spaces,. For instance, professionals who could receive accessibility training include:
- Interior designers
- Landscape architects
- Urban planners
This training would equip designers to create spaces that comply with new mandates in future accessibility standards.