People with disabilities represent a significant and growing part of our population. According to Statistics Canada, about 1.5 million Ontarians have disabilities — about 13.5% of the population. It is estimated that 20% of the population will have disabilities in two decades. In the City of Guelph that represents over 20,000 people.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA, 2005), which became law on June 13, 2005, provided the province with the mandate to develop, implement and enforce sets of accessibility standards.  The AODA (2005) applies to both public and private sector organizations with one or more employees in Ontario that provide goods, service, facilities or accommodation to the public. The standards include accessible:

  • Customer Service
  • Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulations which include:
    • General AODA requirements
    • Transportation
    • Information and communications
    • Employment; and
    • Design of public spaces

For more information about these standard please visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website

Accessibility Policy

The City demonstrates its commitment to accessibility with the Corporate Accessibility Policy and Procedures. This policy is a combination of the City’s Barrier Free Policy and Accessibility Customer Service Policy.

The City of Guelph is committed to providing quality goods and services which are accessible to all persons we serve; with this in mind we welcome your feedback, Questions about the City’s assistive devices and requests for City of Guelph public documents in an alternate format.  Please contact the Accessibility Services at [email protected] or by calling 519-822-1260 extension 2670

Guelph Accessibility Advisory Committee

Each year Guelph City Council appoints community members to sit on the Guelph Accessibility Advisory Committee (GAAC). The role of the GAAC is to provide vision and direction to staff and Council regarding the removal of barriers that exist within Municipal services, practices and programs.

Training required for City suppliers of goods and services

Businesses and individuals that the City of Guelph has contracted to provide goods or services to City customers must ensure that these employee are trained and prepared to provide accessible customer service as well as the requirements in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation related to the supplier’s duties as outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005). There are training resources that can be used at no charge.

Pre-Consultation Site Plan Submission Accessibility-related Information


This resource is intended to support site plan applicants to understand the importance of true universal design so that all development in Guelph is inclusive to everyone. It encompasses the intent of the Ontario Human Rights Code, in terms of respecting the dignity of persons with disabilities. Further, it incorporates the belief in universal design in keeping with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and Ontario Building Code (OBC). Unless the requirements of a work position include physical ability, the design shall be accessible – for example: if residents or office employees are to use in-ground waste receptacles, the route to these receptacles and the operation/controls need to meet universal design principles.

Work positions that require physical ability in maintenance and workspaces may be exempt, for example:

  • Service rooms
  • Elevator machine rooms
  • Janitor rooms
  • Service spaces
  • Crawl spaces
  • Attic or roof spaces

Refer to the Facility Accessibility Design Manual (FADM) Appendix C for further information on these design principles and standards.

Accessibility guidance

The following list was developed as a helpful tool to use at the pre-consultation stage when laying out the site.

  1. Recommend referring to the City’s Facility Accessibility Design Manual (FADM) (>living>accessibility>facilities) to review the Site Design Checklist (Appendix C) as this is the tool that reviewers use which includes AODA and OBC with regard to accessibility.
  2. In addition to completing the Site Design Checklist (Appendix C) tool, the following are common errors seen and we hope that calling attention to these items will help with future submissions:
    1. Parking
      1. The accessible parking spaces must be located closest to the main accessible entrance(s)
      2. The two-meter wide access aisle must be on the passenger side of Type A parking spaces when parked nosed-in
      3. Show measurements of accessible parking and access aisle(s), in accordance with section 4.3.12 of the FADM, on SP-1
      4. Show location of accessible parking signs (Rb-93), as per figure of the FADM
      5. Show a typical of the accessible parking signs, as per figure of the FADM
      6. Refer to the FADM for the Provincially required accessible parking count
      7. On Grading Plan show slopes in % at accessible parking, including 2m behind the accessible parking. Slopes should not exceed 2% running/cross slope in this area.
      8. Manholes and catch-basins cannot be located within the accessible parking spaces or the access aisle(s) including 2m behind the accessible parking spaces and access aisle(s)
    2. Accessible routes (sidewalks and pathways)
      1. Primary route(s) shall be accessible and inclusive to all accessing the building or space. If an alternate accessible route is proposed it will require further discussion.
      2. Accessible routes shall be two metres wide where cars park and potentially overhang the route. If this is not possible, curb stops within the parking spaces will be needed to ensure that the accessible route is not narrowed by any parked vehicles. Otherwise accessible routes shall be 1500mm wide minimum with the preferred to be 1830mm wide so that 2 wheelchairs can pass each other. Dimensions of the accessible route(s) need to be provided on SP-1.
      3. On Grading Plan show slopes in % on accessible routes. Running slopes to be as close to 2% as possible, however, cross slopes shall not exceed 2%
      4. Label surface material(s) on Landscape Plan. Surface materials that are firm and stable are required on all accessible route(s). Unit pavers and chamfered edged are not accessible.
      5. Show accessible pedestrian connections between buildings within a site or nearby buildings (were appropriate due to ownership for example), and common amenity areas (as well as into these spaces if there are features expected in these spaces)
      6. Show accessible pedestrian connection to the municipal sidewalk. If there isn’t a municipal sidewalk along the frontage of the property, show on SP-1 and Landscape Plan a logical plan for a future accessible pedestrian connection
      7. Show the location and appropriate design of the Mobility van drop-off area. See FADM section 4.3.13 for recommended design elements
      8. If there are curb ramp(s)/stair(s), show the details including the Tactile Warning Safety Indicators (TWSIs) and for stairs, a handrail on both sides.
      9. Show a typical drawing of curb ramp(s)
      10. Ensure that bicycle parking, planters and other fixed (and non-fixed) objects do not block the accessible route. Showing dimensions of pinch points on accessible route(s) narrower than the rest of the accessible pedestrian route(s).
    3. With garbage container storage – consider accessibility-related conflicts. Garbage containers will need to be accessible if residents or employees that are not in a position of maintenance will be using them.
    4. Snow storage location to be shown on SP-1. Please consider accessibility-related conflicts when determining the location.
    5. Outdoor bicycle parking will be an inverted ‘U’.
    6. Bicycle storage rooms shall allow for recumbent handcycle storage. Recommended dimensions for handcycle storage are 650mm by 2000mm. The entrance door should have an automatic door operator however if not supplied, lever handles shall be required.

Questions? Please contact the Accessibility Coordinator at 519-822-1260 extension 3536