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Disability Barriers

Many mandates in the AODA are designed to help organizations recognize, prevent, or remove disability barriers. In our next series of articles, we will explore what some types of disability barriers are. Moreover, we will also consider  how to recognize, prevent, and remove them.

What are Disability Barriers?

Under the AODA, a barrier is defined as “anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability”. In other words, barriers happen when places and activities that all people should have access to are designed in ways that limit this access. Barriers limit the things people with disabilities can do, the places they can go, or the attitudes of others toward them. For example, heavy doors are barriers for people with limited upper body movement. These types of doors prevent people from entering buildings.

Recognizing, Removing, and Preventing Barriers

People who own or operate organizations can welcome more visitors or customers when they recognize, remove, and prevent barriers. Identifying a barrier means knowing that a barrier exists. For instance, a building owner recognizes a barrier when they realize that heavy doors limit people’s access to the building.

Removing a barrier means finding a way for everyone to access the organization. For instance, a building owner can install automatic doors that every visitor can use. Finally, preventing a barrier means knowing about possible barriers in advance and designing barrier-free access. For instance, building designers who plan to have automatic doors in the first place have prevented the barrier of heavy doors.

Five Types of Barriers

Five of the most common kinds of barriers are:

  • Physical or Architectural Barriers
  • Informational or Communicational Barriers
  • Technological Barriers
  • Organizational Barriers
  • Attitudinal Barriers

Fewer Barriers Help Everyone

When organizations remove barriers, they make themselves more accessible to people with disabilities. As a result, they can gain more customers or clients. In addition, they become more welcoming to people without disabilities as well. For instance, the families, friends, neighbours, and colleagues of people with disabilities may want to bring their business to accessible companies. Furthermore, people without disabilities may find accessible features, from widened aisles to welcoming staff, useful or enjoyable. Finally, accessible organizations can also start hiring valuable employees with disabilities.Recognizing, preventing, and removing barriers helps the whole province.