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Why Accessibility Is Good For Your Business

Did you know?

  • About 1.5 million people in Ontario (that’s 13.5% of the population)
    have a disability.
  • 75% of people with disabilities in Canada, Europe and the United
    States are physically and financially able to travel.
  • Nearly 40% of people over the age of 65 have disabilities. Seniors
    and people with disabilities will represent 20 to 25% of the Canadian recreation,
    entertainment, workplace and housing marketplaces in the next ten years and

Are you missing potential customers?

Predictions are that the number of people with disabilities will continue to
grow as our population ages. Don’t lose this major market group to your

You want to do business with this growing population of people with disabilities
because they:

  • live with, work with, and influence the rest of our population –
    on average, 5 or 6 other people, such as colleagues, family members, business
    and other service providers.
  • are loyal customers and consumers – they’ll recommend
    your quality product or service. As business owners and service providers, you
    have a common goal.
    You want happy, satisfied customers whose needs are met. You want customers
    to feel comfortable and welcome to come back time and time again. And, if you
    do your job well, you can expect these customers to refer their friends, co-workers
    and family members.

Loyal customers and their families and relatives are the best customers you
can have and the ones you want to keep. As our population ages, think about
the fact that more of your existing loyal customers and potential new customers
will be people with disabilities, their families, their friends and their

Smart businesses will recognize the need for accessibility and make sure that
consumers who shop, work or do business with them are satisfied. They will
ensure that the barriers that may prevent customers from enjoying access to
products, services and employment are eliminated and removed.

In the United States, which is implementing standards under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, the hospitality industry has increased annual revenue by
12%. People with disabilities also represent a wealth of untapped employment

The Business Accessibility Test

A successful business is one that includes all members of society in its planning,
hiring, marketing and delivery of products and services. Is your business
welcoming to customers and employees with disabilities?

Take the accessibility test to find out.

Customer Service

(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Our customer service policy makes sure that customers with disabilities receive
    the same service as all our other customers.
  • Our employees are comfortable serving customers with disabilities.
  • We can provide our services in different ways – we ask customers how we
    may help them.

Access To Your Premises For Customers And Employees

(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Our premises have automatic doors and level access to the entrance.
  • Our parking lot has spaces reserved for people with disabilities.
  • Hallways and aisles are clutter-free and washrooms are accessible.
  • If services are on different floors, there’s an elevator.


(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Our signs are easy-to-read in large type.
  • Our website is designed to be user friendly and accessible to customers with
  • We have a TTY (a telecommunication device for people who are deaf or hard of
    hearing) number.
  • Our reports, advertisements and other written materials use
    respectful language

Marketing And Product Development

(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Our advertising represents the whole community without negative stereotypes.
  • Our marketing strategy reaches potential customers with disabilities.
  • Our new products and services are designed to be accessible to all our customers,
    including those with sensory or mobility disabilities.


(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Our staff is comfortable serving customers with disabilities.
  • Our services can be provided in different ways. We ask customers how we may
    help them.
  • When we use an e-recruitment website, we ask if it’s accessible to people
    with disabilities or if it features alternative advertising methods.
  • We’re prepared to interview a job applicant who may need accommodation.
  • Our job training can be delivered in alternate formats.
  • Our working conditions are flexible and we can accommodate workers with different

Polices, Practices And Planning

(Please answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Managers demonstrate a commitment to serving customers with disabilities.
  • We have a job accommodation policy.
  • We have anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies that protect employees
    with disabilities.
  • When planning new initiatives, we consider the needs of people with disabilities.

How Did You Rate?

Count up the number of times you answered "yes".

  • 1 – 10 need work
  • 11 – 15 you’re trying
  • 16 – 20 good work
  • 21 – 24 EXCELLENT!

Reproduced from