Accessible Playgrounds in Elgin County

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was enacted in 2005 with the overarching goal for making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by the year 2025.  Under this legislation, an accessible Ontario is to be achieved through the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards.

Accessibility features in the exterior environment will be regulated primarily through the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (O. Reg 191/11).  It should be noted that there are a few areas of the exterior public realm currently regulated by Ontario’s Building Code, such as routes within a site to barrier-free entrances, passenger loading zones and parking lots with barrier free parking.

Accessibility of buildings will continue to be regulated through Ontario’s Building Code.  Ontario’s Building Code was updated in 2015 to provide accessibility to elements within buildings.  It should be noted that the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation regulates some building elements associated with providing access to service, such as service counters, fixed queuing lines and seating in waiting areas, whether these elements are indoors or outdoors.

The Standard requires municipalities to consult with people with disabilities in certain circumstances and to develop design solutions that reflect local conditions and meet the needs of all users.  Consultation is required when a municipality plans to construct or redevelop:

·         Exterior paths of travel
·         Recreational trails
·         Outdoor play spaces
·         Accessible on-street parking

There is no one-size-fits-all way to consult people with disabilities.  The way you consult and how you determine the final design details is up to your municipality.

The purpose of this survey is to provide municipalities with a guideline when developing or redeveloping an outdoor play space. 

Accessible outdoor play spaces feature firm and stable surfaces that can support mobility aids and absorb the shock of a fall to help prevent injuries, as well as features that stimulate all senses – like a water play area or sandbox to enjoy through touch, or a sound area with chimes and other noise makers which can be enjoyed through hearing.  They also incorporate active play components that allow children of all abilities to experience climbing, sliding and swinging.

Before developing a new outdoor play space or redeveloping an existing one, a municipality is required to consult with the public and people with disabilities on the needs of children and their caregivers with a variety of disabilities.  Municipalities must also consult with their Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC).

* 1. Which municipality do you reside in?

* 2. Do you use playgrounds in other municipalities other than where you live?

* 3. Are you a parent with a disability?

* 4. If yes, what barriers prevent you from participating in inclusive play with your child?

* 5. Are you a parent or caregiver of a child with a disability?

* 6. If yes, what barriers prevent your child from participating in inclusive play?

* 7. How often do you use playground equipment in your municipality?

* 8. The Municipality is proposing that 20% (or a minimum of one) of playground features are accessible. Do you think this is high, or low?

* 9. Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?