In the last several years, Ontario has been working towards making all businesses as accessible as possible for all people, especially those with disabilities or mobility issues. Ontario’s accessibility laws and standards are trying to make all public facilities fully accessible for people with disabilities by the year 2025.
At NEX Industrial, we can help your business become more accessible by outfitting your facility with our products that can help open it up to people of all mobility levels. We are a one-stop-shop for industrial supplies in the GTA and specialize in the installation of automatic doors to comply with the new standards for accessibility laws. We can also install and service new, high-speed doors fitted with automatic door openers if your facility requires.
By law, all public services and facilities will need to be made fully accessible to people with disabilities. We strongly recommend that your business be prepared! Our team will come by your facility and inspect all areas to ensure that they meet both government laws and safety regulations, as well as provide feedback on areas that need improvement.
Let’s have a look at what accessibility means and explore some ideas on how to make your business more open for everyone.
What Does Accessibility Mean?
Simply put, accessibility means that the design of products, devices, services, or environments take the needs of people who experience disabilities into consideration.
Making your business accessible means identifying, preventing and removing barriers for people with disabilities and mobility issues – whether it’s customers pushing a stroller, making a delivery, or using a walker or a wheelchair. A barrier is any obstacle that makes it difficult for people with disabilities to perform daily activities like going to work, shopping, taking public transit, or even using a public washroom.
People with disabilities will choose an accessible business because it makes them feel welcome and allows them to easily get the products and services they want. Businesses can attract potential new customers and employees by removing as many barriers to access as possible.
How Can I Make My Business More Accessible?
Ontario has strict guidelines for different types of businesses. Aside from abiding byt the Ontario laws for accessibility, there are many other things you can do to make your business as open as possible.
Identify Areas of Improvement
The best place to start is to take a look at areas in and around your facility that could pose an obstacle to a person with a disability and make a plan on how to correct them. Potential areas can include:
- Point of sale
- Emergency procedures
You can make these areas as accessible as possible by changing the way customers can enter your facility by adding ramps, making signs available in Braille and accepting service pets. These small changes can go a long way to helping make your business feel a lot more welcoming! Of course, changes will vary according to your business. It is best to consult with higher management on what is appropriate for your specific business.
Other things you can do to make your facility more accessible; make sure parking lots are snow-free in winter, adopting language that’s more friendly towards people with disabilities and being prepared to devote time to assist customers.
The best way to identify areas of improvement is through customer feedback. It is a great opportunity to learn about your customers and their thoughts on how accessible your business actually is. If a person with a disability requests that a policy be changed or asks for additional assistance, make sure to strongly consider the request. It’s very important to be open to receiving feedback and acting on it as it can help prevent fines or even lawsuits.
No matter what changes you choose to make, an important component of accessibility is education. All employees must be educated on changes to accessibility in order to be able to assist customers properly, whether it’s providing them with the options available or assisting if necessary.
Education is the best way to change attitudes and break down barriers for people with disabilities. Providing staff with training on topics such as how to assist those with mobility devices, interact with service animals, etc, will ensure that everyone is informed on how to accommodate and include all types of people.
Employees should be very familiar with any potential barriers to accessibility and how to remove them. They should be familiar with how to interact with and assist customers with different types of disabilities and be prepared to take actions to help such as:
- reading out signs to those who are hearing or vision impaired
- always asking if someone requires assistance, never assuming
- speaking in a simple and concise manner to ensure understanding
Employing People With Disabilities
Give everyone an equal opportunity to work at your business is an excellent way to both promote accessibility within the workplace and educate employees about accessibility.
Customers with disabilities perceive this as an important way for the organization to learn about disability and to drive more acceptance. Retail environments that are built for staff members experiencing disability are more likely to be accessible for all customers.
How NEX Helps You Stay Complaint With Accessibility Laws
Ontario accessibility law requires that entrance and washroom doors be fitted with an automatic opener. NEX updates existing doors with automatic opening mechanisms so as to keep them compliant with the new accessibility standards.
Such door openers are highly invaluable in shopping complexes, schools, corporate offices, restaurants, retail stores, public washrooms and all related public buildings.
Moreover, we can also repair or install high-speed doors and fit these with automatic openers if required. Our team will come by your facility to inspect all areas and make sure they are compliant with safety regulations and governmental laws as these pertain to accessibility. We will also suggest areas that need improvement.
Contact us today to stay compliant with the latest accessibility laws.