2.7.3 Waiting Areas

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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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Waiting areas should be welcoming for everyone and accommodate the broadest possible range of users. Providing a choice of seating styles and locations, as well as accessible seating spaces to accommodate mobility aids and service animals will make customers feel welcome and help them enjoy their customer service experience.

An accessible seating space is an area alongside the other seating locations where someone using a mobility aid can position themselves and/or their equipment. The space may also be used by a service animal. In either case, it should provide sufficient space to comfortably wait and not obstruct the circulation space in the room. The actual size of the space can vary depending on how someone using a mobility aid will need to approach it. While it is critical that accessible seating spaces be connected to an accessible path of travel, it is also important that they be alongside the other seating and not segregated.


This Section applies to newly constructed or redeveloped waiting areas that have seating fixed to the floor.

Requirements for for the Design of Waiting Areas

Accessible seating
Minimum 3% of new seating, but never less than one space.

Better Practice Considerations

Accessible path
Consider how customers will move throughout the waiting area. Providing a clear path of travel between all elements in the room such as a reception counter, literature racks, children’s play areas and accessible seating spaces will make it a better experience for everyone.
Accessible Seating
  • Type: Consider providing a choice of seating, including: some with armrests to help people get in and out of the seat; some without armrests to allow people to transfer onto the seat from a wheelchair or other type of mobility device; and some with wider seats and higher weight capacities to accommodate people of all body types.
  • Location: Consider providing a choice of accessible seating space locations where possible, to provide people who use wheelchairs with the same options as others. Consider having at least one location where two wheelchair users can sit side-by-side in larger waiting areas, so companions have the opportunity to sit together. Integrate accessible seating within the general seating layout of the waiting area, to avoid isolating people who use wheelchairs and other types of assistive equipment.
  • Sizes: Consider providing spaces that are at least 1,200 mm x 750 mm, which will accommodate most manual wheelchair users. Where possible, provide 1,400 mm x 800 mm spaces which will betteraccommodate larger wheelchairs and scooters.
Companion seating
Consider designating some seating immediately adjacent to accessible seating space locations as “Companion Seating”. This will allow someone accompanying a person using a wheelchair or other mobility device to sit with a friend.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces