Despite Treasury Board guidelines since 1993 Parks Canada is not accessible to those living with disabilities
By Stephen Pate – I’ve known for years that the PEI National Park was inaccessible.
Some of the bathrooms are accessible but that’s the limit of accessibility. Who goes to a National Park to use the washroom?
Camping, swimming, and nature walks are basically reserved for the able bodied.
Parks Canada has been under national standards on accessibility since 1993 that are the same for any Government of Canada facility. Parks Canada is granted some exemptions when it comes to preserving historic buildings. Even that is tempered with a requirement to use their “best efforts” to make buildings accessible.
When I began using a wheelchair bound, I gave up attempting to go camping or go to the National Park to swim. I did try the Bubbling Brook tour in Stanhope a few years back. The trail was not groomed for wheelchairs and it was arduous.
It was the shocker of finding they had spent $500,000 to build a monstrous ramp in the name of accessibility that started me researching the topic.
Why is Parks Canada let off the hook?
For example, there are National Building Code requirements for accessible parking. Those standards are mirrored in the Treasury Board guidelines Accessibility Standard for Real Property.
“Where employee or visitor parking is provided, the quantity of accessible parking spaces provided shall conform with municipal by-laws or the following table, whichever has the higher number of accessible spaces:
|Total Parking Spaces||Minimum No. of Accessible Spaces||Total Parking Spaces||Minimum No. of Accessible Spaces|
|up to 25||1||151-200||6|
|101-150||5||more than 500||2% of total|
Accessible parking spaces shall be within a reasonable and safe proximity of the federal facility but may be distributed among distinct parking areas.” Treasury Board of Canada Accessibility Standards
While accessible parking can easily established with a can of blue paint, a paint brush and a few signs, Brackley has less than one third of the Treasury Board Guidelines, Stanhope has one when it should have 6 or more. There are no accessible parking spaces at Dalvay.
Parking is just one of the many issues that Parks Canada does not comply with for people with disabilities.
Why doesn’t Parks Canada meet Treasury Board guidelines? Do they care?