Accessible Heritage Tool Kit

Important aspects of accessibility in heritage.

Tool Kit Preview

This section is designed as only an introduction and tour of our publication. Choose one of the modules listed below to explore the tool kit; each module examines an important aspect of accessibility in heritage:

“Disability is a prohibited ground of discrimination in both the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

This module gives an overview of provincial legislation related to disability that may apply to heritage organizations, and should be used as a reference tool. Full versions can be found at the Provincial Government’s E-Laws website.

This section also outlines the Ontario Human Rights Code and how it defines different types of discrimination; the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; and the Ontario Building Code.

“Many, if not most limitations experienced by people with disabilities are not caused by the disability itself. The limitations are caused by the environment.”

This module provides information on the nature of disability and barriers. It describes seven types of common barriers and methods for identifying them, including consulting with disability groups or people with disabilities.

  • Attitudinal Barriers (ie. Negative Perception or Pity Barrier)
  • Architectural Barriers
  • Physical Barriers
  • Communication Barriers
  • Information Barriers
  • Technological Barriers
  • Policy/Procedure/Practice Barriers

Module 2: Understanding Disability and Barriers not only identifies each category, but defines what they are and how one might find them within an organization and solve the problems these barriers create.

“Access and accommodation measures must always respect the personal dignity of people with disabilities.”

This module explains what accessibility and accommodation mean, and their benefits for heritage organizations.

“While this Tool Kit offers general guidelines on interacting with people with disabilities, it is not definitive, as each person has his/her own personal preferences…When in doubt, ask.”

The information in this module will help your organization communicate positively about disability issues, and communicate effectively with people who have a disability. The topics covered include preferred language/terminology and etiquette in relation to different types of disability.

This module also outlines the proper etiquette when meeting or approaching a person with a disability. For example, if a visitor is either deaf or hard of hearing, it is important to gain their attention and ask what communication technique the person prefers, before beginning to speak. It is also important to speak clearly and slowly, but without exaggeration. Never shout at a person.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to successful accessibility planning. Each heritage organization must develop a planning process that reflects its character and needs.”

This module suggests a strategy your organization can use to develop an accessibility plan, and advice on planning accessible events, exhibits, and displays. It offers a step-by-step approach to Accessibility Planning that will assist in the steps necessary to acheive accessibility, from (Step 1): Appointing an Accessibility Coordinator to (Step 10): Monitoring and reviewing your progress.

“Is your organization ready?”

This module contains a series of checklists to help heritage organizations with some of the more involved aspects of accessibility. The checklists can be used in their entirety or piece by piece for specific issues like accessibility brochures and lighting level.