3.0 Maintaining Accessible Public Spaces

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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
Large Small
Yes Yes N/A
Regulation Reference: Maintenance
80.44 - Maintenance of accessible elements

Taking steps to make public spaces accessible to everyone is a critical consideration in the development of a project… but so is maintaining the accessibility of these spaces over time.

It is critical that public spaces, as well as the routes required to access them, are continuously maintained to support the mobility and independence of people with disabilities. For example, sidewalks and walkways that are not cleared of snow will limit the routes that people with disabilities can use independently.

The requirements of this section tie-in directly to the multi-year accessibility plan requirement of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. An organization’s multi-year accessibility plan must address procedures for preventative and emergency maintenance and temporary disruptions to accessible public spaces.

This requirement for a multi-year accessibility plan does not apply to small private and not-for-profit organizations.

Maintenance procedures for a public space can depend on different factors. Organizations should ask themselves: What is the purpose of the space? Is it used frequently? And, how could users be affected if the space is not kept in good working condition? How durable are the components and elements of the space? For example, a large organization may choose to plan for its public parking facilities to undergo more frequent maintenance in the winter than in the summer, in order to keep barrier-free paths of travel free of snow.

This requirement does not mean that organizations must maintain all of their accessible public spaces. Organizations are only required to document their maintenance procedures, where they exist, for accessible public spaces.


This Section applies to public sector organizations, and large private and not-for-profit sector organizations. They must address the maintenance of accessible public spaces within their multi-year accessibility plans. This requirement is in the General Section of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation.

For more information regarding multi-year accessibility planning requirements, visit the AccessOntario website.

Requirements for the Design of Accessible Service Counters

Obligated organizations must include procedures for preventative and emergency maintenance of the accessible parts of their public spaces in their multi-year accessibility plan.
Obligated organizations must include procedures in their multi-year accessibility plan for handling temporary disruptions when any accessible parts of their public spaces are not functioning.

Better Practice Considerations

consider elements beyond those that are traditionally associated with accessibility. For example;
  • Maintaining floor surfaces in a finish that is not prone to casting glare, to minimize the chance of reflective Definition:glare masking potentially hazardous building elements, such as overhanging objects or glazed screens.
  • Ensuring that movable objects, including furniture, do not impede access to operating mechanisms such as light switches, door hardware or bulletin boards, which could prevent some people with disabilities from using them. Consider maintaining a clear floor area of at least 1,200 mm x 1,200 mm in front of all operating mechanisms, to accommodate a front or side approach for wheelchair users. A clear floor area of at least 1,400 mm x 1,400 mm will better-accommodate larger wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Maintaining ground and floor surfaces at entrances during inclement weather to prevent slipping.
  • Pruning trees that overhang walkways to maintain a minimum head room clearance of at least 2100 mm.
  • Prompt clearing of snow along accessible routes intended for winter use, including sidewalks, walkways and trails.
  • Cleaning light fixtures to ensure that minimum Definition:illumination levels are maintained. Consider evenly distributed illumination of at least 100 lux along accessible routes and at accessible elements, and 200 lux at elements where reading is required such as at switches, controls and signage.
Disruptions to service
Consider having templates developed in advance, so that staff can quickly respond and post a notice.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces