2.7.1 Service Counters

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The Requirements in this Section apply to:
Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and Designated Public Sector Organizations Private / Not-for-Profit Sector Organizations
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The requirements of this section ensure that counters used to provide service to customers and patrons are made accessible. The requirements are performance-based, so that organizations have the flexibility to choose an accessible design that works best for their business practices and environment.

A choice of counter heights can accommodate a standing patron as well as one using a wheelchair. A lower counter with an available chair will also benefit people with lower stamina or those who may need to set aside a walker, suitcase, or stroller to sign some papers.


The requirements of this Section apply to newly constructed counters for the provision of services, in an outdoor or indoor setting. This includes new counters that are replacing existing service counters.

Examples of types of service counters that must comply with the Regulation include reception desks, ticketing windows, foodservice counters and check-out counters.

Requirements for the Design of Accessible Service Counters

At least one accessible service counter that accommodates a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair or scooter must be provided, for each type of service provided. For example, if an organization has a group of service counters for its customers to make payments and a separate group of service counters for providing customer service assistance; at least one accessible counter must be provided in each group.
Multiple Counters served by one queuing line
Where a single queuing line serves a single or multiple counters, each service counter must accommodate a person using a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or scooter.
Where there are multiple queuing lines and service counters signage must be provided to clearly identify the accessible counter(s).
  • Height: Accessible counters must be usable by a person seated in a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or scooter.
  • Knee clearance: Sufficient knee space must be provided for a person seated in a mobility aid, such as a manual or electric wheelchair where a forward approach is required to access the counter.
  • Clear floor/ ground area at counter: Sufficiently clear floor / ground area must be provided at counters to accommodate a person using a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or scooter.

Better Practice Considerations

Knee and Toe Clearance
Consider providing clear knee space that is at least 750 mm wide x 680 mm high x 250 mm deep below the service counter, with an additional toe space beyond of 750 mm wide x 230 mm high x 230 mm deep. This will allow most people who use wheelchairs to approach and use the counter.
Height of service counters
Consider making work surfaces at service counters no higher than 865 mm above the ground or floor surface, to allow use from a seated position.
Speaking ports
Where speaking ports are used at service counters, consider specifying two ports; one at 1400 mm above the ground/floor surface for standing use, the other at 1000 mm for seated use.
Hearing assistance
Consider providing an induction-loop assistive listening system at service counters, to allow people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing to use their hearing aids. Induction loop systems allow users to hear the voice of the service provider directly through their hearing aid.
Clear floor space at counter
Provide a space of at least 1,800 mm x 1,800 mm in front of service counters to allow most wheelchair users and some scooter users to turn around without having to back-up. A 2,400 mm x 2,400 mm space is recommended, as it will accommodate the turning requirements of most scooter users.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces