In trying to find suitable venues in which to hold events, I’ve discovered that many public places still fail to meet accessibility standards even in our supposedly inclusive world .
Because accessibility is built into the Waterloo Region building code now, one of the most popular meeting places in Waterloo Region recently underwent a renovation, upgrading its public washrooms to be fully accessible. The only problem is there is no way for mobility challenged patrons to get to the basement washroom facility because there is no elevator, and since it’s a historic building there is no requirement to retrofit.
Transforming existing structures into accessible structures can be a challenge. Some times the trouble is the lack of physical space in which to build a ramp or install an elevator. But certainly cost is often the main impediment to accessibility, because redesigning existing structures for accessibility can be expensive.
But sometimes help is available. The Government of Canada is currently accepting applications from organizations interested in receiving funding from the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF).
This is not available for private individuals (or the self employed!) but businesses and organizations that need help upgrading to be accessible. Knowing how hard it is to find accessible venues for meetings and events in Waterloo Region, I hope all the cash earmarked for this is used!
The Standard Grant Application for Funding can be submitted under either the Workplace Accessibility Stream or the Community Accessibility Stream of the EAF. For help determining the best stream for your application, please visit the Government’s Funding: Enabling Accessibility Fund page.