Frequently Asked Questions - Accessibility

Q: If the facility complies with the provincial building code, do I have to do anything else?
A: Government offices must comply with the Treasury Board Accessibility Standard for Real Property and the CSA B651 Standard The WWW icon indicates a link that takes you outside the federal government's common web environment.. Provincial building codes differ from each other and the National Building Code. Codes vary from edition to edition. Codes typically only apply to new construction whereas the TB Standard applies to new and existing facilities. Complying with a building code does not necessarily mean that a facility is in compliance with federal policy.

Q: If a person with a disability cannot use the facility do I need to modify it?
A: Treasury Board policy requires a department to accommodate a person with disabilities. Where the normal accessibility requirements are unsatisfactory, special measures may be required.

Q: Where do I find the policy on accessibility?
A: Refer to Technical Guides - Associated Documents: Legislation, Treasury Board Policies, and PSPC Policies.

Q: Are buildings designed for scooters?
A: Although the B651 Standard is based on the requirement for persons in wheelchairs, many aspects of accessible design will be suitable for scooter users. the current design of scooters requires a wider turning radius than a wheelchair which can cause problems. Many people who use scooters can walk a limited distance, such as into a washroom.

Q: How much space do I have to leave for a wheelchair?
A: It depends on the situation. The footprint for a wheelchair is 750 mm wide by 1200 mm long. A wheelchair requires a circle with a diameter of 1500 mm for a 180 degree turn. Space beside a door depends on the type of door and the direction of the swing. Viewing positions, such as in a theatre, require a space 850 x 1200 mm.

Q: Does the building have to be accessible to employees and visitors?
A: Yes, except where a facility or part of a facility is exempted from Treasury Board policy.

Q: Does a heritage building have to be accessible?
A: Yes, except where a facility or part of a facility is exempted from Treasury Board policy.

Q: Who pays for accessibility modifications?
A: Generally speaking PSPC pays for accessibility modifications to the base building, e.g. washrooms, and the client department pays for accessibility modifications in their space, e.g. reception counters. There are situations where the arrangements are different from this.

In the RPB Accessibility Procedure it states that tenant departments are responsible for identifying and funding any accommodation requirements related to their program delivery or duty of accommodation strategies that exceed TB standards.

Q: Who can I talk to about building accessibility?
A: See Inquiries for a list.

Q: How do you make a washroom accessible?
A: The CSA standard contains specific requirements for all washroom components, as well as individual washrooms.

Q: Do you have to install an elevator to the basement?
A: Small areas are exempt from the requirement for an elevator.

Q: Does every part of every building have to be made accessible?
A: Not necessarily. Boiler rooms, for example, do not usually have to be made accessible.

Q: If parking is not provided, do we have to provide parking for a person with a disability?
A: No.

Q: Do existing buildings need to be accessible?
A: Yes refer to Technical Guides - Associated Documents: Legislation, Treasury Board Policies, and PSPC Policies.