"Accessibility" - it's a word that's often heard in the context of shopping malls, places of employment and public facilities. But, it also applies to polling stations. To that end, the Government of Canada provides a 35-point checklist to help all Canadians - including those of the disabled population - to participate in elections with as few barriers as possible.
In this week's post, we outline the minimum 15 criteria that are mandatory before a polling station can be considered accessible.
Accessible Building Exterior
- The surface of the pathway is firm and free of obstacles.
- The pathway is at least 920 mm (36") wide.
- Access to the entrance is level, with no steps.
- The building has exterior lighting.
- The building exterior is free of protruding objects such as wall-mounted light fixtures.
Accessible Building Entrance
- Exterior door has a clear opening 810 mm (32") wide.
- Door threshold is no higher than 6 mm (1/4").
- Entrance door weight allows for easy opening.
Accessible Building Interior
- Interior doors have a clear opening 810 mm (32") wide.
- Interior door weight allows for easy opening.
- Door threshold is no higher than 6 mm (1/4")
- Corridors are at least 920 mm (36") wide.
- Interior is free of protruding objects.
- Voting room is on the same level as the entrance.
- Interior lighting is operational.
Other criteria exist, such as handrails, non-slip surfaces, ramps and slopes, easy-to-grip door handles, elevators, grab bars and wheelchair-accessible washrooms. But, the list is a start. Meanwhile, if you notice any other hazards and barriers not mentioned on the Polling Locations Accessibility Checklist, you are encouraged to express your concerns. View the Elections Canada website to view the entire 35-point checklist.
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