Alberta Building Codes – Accessibility Project

written by Rachelle Forster

When residents of a low-income building who require a scooter, walker or power wheelchair, voiced to their landlords the need for a main entrance accessible button, Robin Cummings, felt like “the door was being shut in her face.”

This past year there has been many discussions regarding physical barriers within buildings of Calgary. The Central Library was listed in TIME magazine’s 100 greatest places to visit in 2019, but the accessibility barriers were also highlighted by disappointed and frustrated Calgarians.

There has been an unsettling number of Calgary citizens who have turned to the media to bring awareness to accessible barriers in facilities, businesses and even their own apartments. This demonstrates a major flaw in Alberta’s building codes. Budget seems to be the major concern when installing buttons, automatic doors, elevators, etc. This poses the following questions:

  • Why isn’t accessibility included in the initial budget for buildings?
  • How can the Alberta Building Codes in regards to accessibility be improved?
  • Why aren’t individuals with disabilities consulted when new buildings and communities are being built?
  • Why is it taking so long for changes to be made?

Global Shapers Healthy Cities is currently working on an accessibility project, which focuses on portable ramps into downtown businesses. This project not only physically helps individuals enter businesses of his/her choice, but it will also educate business owners on what “accessibility” really means. This project will hopefully increase empathy, understanding and inclusion for those with disabilities. Together we can and we will make a difference.

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash