Accessibility Standards Canada offices: a model of accessibility

Accessibility Standards Canada’s office was built to be the most accessible workplace possible. We want to set the standard for fully accessible office spaces that accommodate the needs of their employees, including people with disabilities.

In August 2022, our organization had the unique opportunity to welcome employees into a new accessible office. Leading by example, our workplace applies universal design principles and many accessibility features.

On this page, find two ways to virtually explore our offices and learn more:

  1. Take a tour in 3D - this tour includes sign language interpretation.
  2. Watch a video that shows all the accessibility features.

We encourage everyone to consider implementing these features to make their offices as accessible as possible. As for us, we are always looking at pushing the boundaries on what it means to be truly accessible.

Explore our office

Take a tour in 3D!

Click here to take a virtual tour of our offices in 3D.

Do you communicate in sign language? During the tour, you will discover that some key locations feature videos with American Sign Language interpretation.

Note: The link above brings to an external site.

Watch a video

This video showcases our office's accessible features. Click on the video or on Play, the white triangle icon at the bottom left of the video, to explore our offices!

Video transcript

People with disabilities expect the same comfort and ability to move around the workplace as their colleagues. Corridor clearances, door openings, sound regulation and environmental controls can become accessibility barriers for people with disabilities. It's important to consider accessibility in all workplace designs to be fully inclusive.

Accessibility Standards Canada supports the government of Canada's efforts to create a world without barriers. As part of its accessibility mandate, Accessibility Standards Canada built the most accessible workplace possible for its new office. This is setting the standard
for fully accessible office spaces that accommodate the needs of their employees, including people with disabilities. This video showcases the new office's accessible features and provides ideas for Government of Canada Department leads and office designers to consider. Let's tour the new office to review all the features.

As we enter the space you'll notice the corridor clearances, turning radius and access is more spacious than a traditional office space. This extra room accommodates people using mobility devices like wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. To comply with the standards, primary corridors, cubicles, meeting rooms, washrooms and kitchens should be at least 21 millimeters wide with secondary corridors no less than 1200 millimeters wide. Doorways must also offer more space to be accessible and inclusive. They have an 860-millimetre clearance to allow room for people who use mobility devices. Automatic doors with push columns and sliding doors that open easily and close slowly eliminate the need to hold the door open. They also prevent doors from closing too quickly.

Mechanically operated sit and stand desks with built in memory settings are especially helpful for people with disabilities. Highly resilient luxury vinyl tile flooring, also known as LVT Flooring, has a gripping texture and offers a firm, smooth and stable floor surface. This allows people using wheeled mobility devices to roll smoothly without the hazards posed by floor coverings like carpets and uneven flooring. Tactile walking surfaces, detectable under foot, are used to alert people who are blind or partially sighted to potential hazards. When placed at the front and back exterior entrances, they are an added safety feature to warn people that they are approaching a street or an area where there might be vehicles or other traffic.

LED lighting systems at every workstation allow each employee to control the lighting and their environment. Each cubicle, office space and meeting room has its own lighting controls. This allows people to dim or raise the light level and adjust for warmth or coolness. For people with light heat or cold sensitivity, remote controlled automatic blinds allow them to adjust the amount of sun exposure and heat and light levels. Multi ventilation zones in a workplace together with individual thermostats for enclosed offices and meeting rooms, give employees the ability to adjust the temperature. Easy to reach controls for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices allow them to use the controls independently.

Accessibility Standards Canada incorporates different technologies in their office design to help people with disabilities navigate the workplace. This includes pink and white noise systems, masking sound systems, baffles, soundproof walls, invisible warning systems, and infrared loop systems. Infrared loop systems connect to hearing devices and pick up voices from a microphone in the ceiling. This allows people with hearing aids to hear voices more clearly without background interference. Audible and visual alarm systems emit sound for people who are partially sighted and flashing lights for people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

It's also important to consider creating an inclusive workspace. Gender neutral universal washrooms add a level of convenience and inclusivity in the workplace. Gender neutral universal washroom elements like sinks, toilets, automatic faucets, grab bars and counters at appropriate heights allow people using mobility devices to access all parts of the washroom independently. Providing an adult change table adds an element of accessibility not typically found in office spaces. This offers more functionality for employees with disabilities who may need higher levels of support.

Internet access in all areas of the office allows employees to use laptop computers so they can move around and get fast Wi-Fi speed in any location. To enhance accessibility and wayfinding for people who are blind or partially sighted, Accessibility Standards Canada is incorporating special features to help people identify rooms. These include larger font sizes, pictograms, audible signals, voice command printers, tactile and Braille signage, and colour coded flooring. The Gabi Voice Command system allows all employees to print and scan documents using voice commands. Using different colours on floors, walls and windows provides visual identification and contrast.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Accessibility Standards Canada's guidelines to support accessible workplaces. We encourage all Government of Canada department leads and office designers to consider implementing these features to make their offices as accessible as possible with the needs of employees with disabilities in mind. For more information, visit the Accessibility Standards Canada website.

Accessibility features

The following features are examples of what was included in the design and construction of our new office space.

  • Clearances:
    • 1200 millimeters for secondary corridors
    • 2100 millimeters for primary corridors
    • 2100 millimeters of turning radius as a minimum in all office spaces (cubicles, focus rooms, meeting rooms, washrooms, kitchenette)
    • 850 millimeters as a minimum for doorways
  • Automatic doors with push columns for main entrance, two major meeting rooms, washrooms and emergency exit
  • Sliding door with a maximum of 22.2 newton for enclosed offices 
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting system, colour tuning, intensity diming, and individual control at each workstation
  • Automatic blinds
  • Added multiple ventilation zones and controls throughout the general space, and separate thermostats in all enclosed offices
  • Visual and audible alarm system
  • Gender neutral washrooms and adult change table
  • Accessible specifications for washroom and kitchenette (counters, grab bars, automatic faucets, etc.)
  • Wi-Fi throughout the space to allow for flexibility of network and internet access everywhere
  • Sit-stand work surfaces throughout
  • Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) floor throughout the space to ease travel for wheelchair users
  • Identification/signage:
    • Different colors of LVT in enclosed rooms for visual identification purposes
    • Colored window films for enclosed rooms to allow visual identification and contrast
    • All signage include large font, tactile signs, pictogram and braille