Since 1975, the Ontario Building Code has been used to set the minimum standard for construction in Ontario. It addresses the issues of new construction by providing clear standards to help keep Ontarian’s safe. One of the current priorities of the Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act (AODA), is the New Accessibility Amendments made to Ontario’s Building Code. These new requirements have been set in place in order to help establish a more accessible Ontario. The Ontario Government plans to build an accessible Ontario by 2025.
The New Accessibility Amendments to Ontario’s Building Code came into effect on January 1, 2015. The amended requirements state that all buildings must have at least one universal washroom for every three floors. They can be located wherever is most suitable within each building, based on general contractor’s recommendations. The universal washroom requirements will enhance accessibility within newly constructed buildings or buildings which are undergoing renovations that are more than 300 sq. ft. Small renovations under 300 sq. ft. and existing buildings, which are not undergoing any renovations, are not affected by these new requirements.
The New Accessibility Amendments state that new builds and large renovations must construct universal washrooms with an enclosed area equipped with a barrier-free toilet and sink to allow for more turning space to accommodate a wheeled mobility device. There are also new amended mounting height and location requirements for washroom accessories, such as towel dispensers, hand dryers and grab bars, as well as a new style L-shaped grab bar used to provide safer gripping options. Other requirements must also be followed, including the installation of a power entrance door and an adult change table, to accommodate the need of more changing space. Universal washrooms provide dignity and privacy for people of all abilities, including those with disabilities who may require assistance or an attendant. Universal washrooms are also intended for use by families with small children.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) came into law in 2005 and its purpose is to benefit all Ontarian’s by developing, implementing and enforcing standards. By implementing the New Accessibility Amendments to Ontario’s Building Code it allows builders, like us, to help achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities, including improvements to services, accommodation and employment.