The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is making significant changes to regulations to improve accessibility, with plans for more change to come.
The changes being announced today (Monday) are to required parking spaces, but also to buildings accessibility.
- Increased size of accessible toilet stalls
- Broader turnstiles
- Change in the prescribed gradient for required access ramps
- Power doors beyond main entrances, including lobby doors and public washrooms for buildings over 500 square metres
- Change in height and number for grab bars
- Barrier-free (lower) counters anywhere the public is served
- One in 10 units in apartment buildings accessible, up from one in 15
- Requirements for van-sized accessible parking spaces, with required blue-zone spaces increasing from a minimum of four per cent to six per cent of parking
- Accessible parking spaces would no longer be painted blue, as it adds to slip and fall risk, but symbol of access would still be painted
- Parking fines, outside of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) properties, will increase to a minimum of $400 from $100 and now going up to $700
Parking at MUN is covered under its own legislation and government is currently speaking with the university about changes there.
Changes will be required for any new building or existing building undergoing a significant renovation (51 per cent of the total value of the building).
As regulations within existing legislation (Buildings Accessibility Regulations and Mobility Impaired Parking Regulations), these changes do not have to go through the legislature. They will come into effect within two to six months after being gazetted (a process of legal filing and notification expected to actually take place within the next month to two months).
Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh said the government is planning to also review and change legislation — specifically the existing Buildings Accessibility Act, from 1981. That act continues to exempt buildings from pre-1981, not undergoing renovations, from many buildings requirements.