Gap Between National Building Code and Accessibility Standards Risks Human Rights Complaint

Many businesses and service providers believe the National Building Code sets the standard for accessibility. However, meeting the building code does not mean that a building, space, or meeting is accessible. Unfortunately, this may only become apparent after someone files a human rights complaint.

Many business owners believe they are exempt from current accessibility standards because they have been “grandfathered” based on the age of the structure but this is not always the case. Many business owners are surprised to learn that meeting the minimum standards set out in the National Building Code may not mean a space is considered accessible.

Courts and Human Rights Tribunals are making decisions that demonstrate compliance with the National Building Code (NBC) does not always protect a business from human rights complaints. Businesses have a responsibility to accommodate individuals for their specific needs.

Accessibility begins with awareness. Applying an accessibility mindset toward your business environment and functions will help you identify and resolve barriers before they result in an accessibility-related complaint.

At its core, accessibility is about a person’s dignity. We all have the right to be treated with respect and included as members of our communities. Accessibility is more than a legal standard. It involves fostering a sense of inclusion so people with disabilities can flourish. Accessibility is good for business.

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