Accessibility for All

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was passed in 2005, with the various requirements being phased in over time between now and 2025. Taking a proactive stance would be a wise decision, given the variety and number of changes that could be required to make your business obstacle free in the future.

A member of the ‘Thumbs Up Accessibility and Awareness’ committee recently stated, “The last thing a physically challenged person needs, is to lose their dignity because they can’t get around on their own in a public place. It’s tough enough for the average person to go to a funeral, but when you’re confined to a wheelchair for example, and you add things like stairs, poor lighting or small washrooms, well it’s next to impossible to pay your respects and keep your dignity.”

It’s not only those using assistive devices, or the visually impaired that will benefit from the changes to accessibility regulations that are coming. Imagine the frustration for someone pushing a stroller while trying to enter a building, getting up the steps, opening the door and trying to get themselves and the stroller through before the door closes, only to find the aisle ahead blocked with boxes.

Remember, it’s easy to ‘say’ your facility is accessible …. it’s quite another to actually ‘be’ truly barrier-free. Sure, people can claim to have an accessible building just by opening a door, but if someone with a disability needs help to get in and out of the washroom for example, well the truth is, that establishment is NOT barrier free and is NOT totally accessible.

Accessibility simply means providing the opportunity for people take part in life’s activities without barriers. Whether its customer service training for your staff to help them understand the challenges of disabled persons; or renovating your building to allow for improved mobility equipment, businesses need to be
prepared.

In 2011, the Shawn Jackson Funeral Home was awarded the distinction of being totally accessible and barrier free by the St. Thomas Health Unit’s ‘Thumbs Up’ program. Having exceeded the requirements, it currently is the only funeral home in the city with this designation.

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