Ontario Eateries Commit To Accessibility
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 6, 2006
TORONTO, ONTARIO--Twenty-six popular restaurant chains -- from Burger King to Starbucks to Wendy's -- have committed to making dining experiences more accessible to patrons with disabilities across Ontario.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission published a report Thursday entitled, "Moving Toward Barrier-Free Services". In the report, the commission announced that, after five years of persuasion, the eateries and coffee houses across the province voluntarily committed to identify barriers to accessibility; remove those barriers in existing facilities; develop customer complaint procedures; develop plans for making future locations accessible; and report progress to the commission.
Ontario's Human Rights Code makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against people with disabilities by failing to remove barriers to the same access that people without disabilities enjoy. But it can take years for the current complaint process to yield results.
While the commitment from the restaurant industry is being considered a victory, the commission and disability advocates note that there is much more to be done.
"This is a classic example where accessibility is good for us but it's also good for business," disability rights activist David Lepofsky told the Toronto Star.
"They want to sell more food, it doesn't help anybody to keep customers out."
"Eateries pledge to boost disabled access" (Toronto Star)
Report: "Moving Towards Barrier-Free Services" (Ontario Human Rights Commission)