Break down barriers and celebrate accessibility in Ontario
Did you know that over 1.85 million Ontarians are living with some sort of disability? Today, December 3, marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and we encourage people across Ontario to remove barriers and make their businesses more accessible.
Making a business accessible does more than help others. Improved accessibility could help increase customer retail sales in Ontario by up to $10 million dollars. As a small business owner, making your location open and accessible to all Ontarians may improve your bottom line.
Sometimes accessibility means creating a welcoming space that a person of limited mobility can easily get around. Look around your business and ask yourself:
- Are there ways to make the space more accessible?
- Could someone with a wheelchair or walker navigate the space?
- Is the space set up to accommodate service animals, such as guide dogs?
Accessibility can also mean taking extra time to accommodate a communication challenge.
- Do you and your employees know how to respond appropriately to someone who is hard of hearing or takes a little longer to express their thoughts and needs?
- Does your business offer alternate ways of communicating with clients, such as providing large print documents for people with low vision?
- Do you and your employees know how to rephrase ideas or instructions for people who have a learning disability?
Whenever possible, ask the person directly how best to communicate with them.
Wondering what to do next? Creating an accessible business is about know-how. Take advantage of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services' guides and tools to learn about standards and make sure you are doing your part.
Accessibility isn't just about improving society for people living with disabilities; it's about improving society for all of us.