Standards Development Technical Committees – Outdoor Spaces Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

The standards developed by Accessibility Standards Canada will contain requirements that will contribute to its mandate of “contributing to the realization of a Canada without barriers, on or before January 1, 2040”.  Accessibility Standards Canada will also achieve the following, in accordance with the Accessible Canada Act (An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada):

  1. the development and revision of accessibility standards;
  2. the recommendation of accessibility standards;
  3. the provision of information, products and services in relation to the accessibility standards that it has developed or revised;
  4. the promotion, support and conduct of research into the identification and removal of barriers and the prevention of new barriers; and
  5. the dissemination of information, including information about best practices, in relation to the identification and removal of barriers and the prevention of new barriers.

Guidelines for Recommendations

The following guidelines are intended to support the work of the committee as it develops its recommendations:

Respect and be complementary to the principles, purpose and requirements of the Accessible Canada Act, and support the end goal of achieving accessibility for Canadians with disabilities, taking into account: 

  • the range of disabilities that the measures, policies, practices and requirements are intended to address;
  • the nature of the barriers that the measures, policies, practices and requirements are intended to identify, remove and prevent; and
  • any technical and fiscal considerations/impacts that may be associated with their implementation, i.e. for obligated organizations, sectors, and the province more broadly.

The technical committee members and the activities undertaken by technical committees will adhere to the mission and values statements of Accessibility Standards Canada:


Accessibility Standards Canada is led by persons with disabilities to create a barrier-free Canada through developing innovative accessibility standards in priority areas, revising current accessibility standards, leading research and supporting all of society to obtain the highest level of accessibility in collaboration and engagement with persons with disabilities.


The diversity of society; the work we do respects human rights and is conducted with an equal intersectional and inclusive lens.

Technical committees will:

  • Focus efforts on preventing barriers both now and in the future;
  • Consider existing Canadian legislative and regulatory frameworks, as well as measures and supports that already exist in the sector;
  • Consider inter-jurisdictional best practices and innovative solutions, keeping in mind the context of Canada’s current regulatory framework specific to the built environment and outdoor spaces;
  • Consider fiscal implications and feasibility for the federally regulated sector to comply;
  • Consider the ‘enforceability’ of the requirements to support compliance and enforcement of the proposed standard;
  • Where appropriate, reflect international standards, legislation, regulation, codes, and best practices in Canada and internationally; and
  • Where appropriate, create task groups that will contribute to the specific elements and technical requirements of the proposed standard 

Technical Committees

The technical committees will work to identify barriers to accessibility in each of the identified priority areas.  They will also take into account emerging trends in the area of accessibility to Outdoor Spaces.  Once barriers have been identified, committees will develop a national standard that will move toward eliminating barriers to accessibility which can be applied to all organizations belonging to the private and public sector organizations in the federally regulated sector.

Technical Committees will only be tasked with technical standards review and development activities and will provide this information to the Board. 

The Technical Committees shall select their Chair and a Vice Chair from the committee members who are responsible for ensuring the Technical Committee meets its duties as outlined in these terms of reference. The project manager will be responsible for reporting to the Accessibility Standards Canada CEO on the progress of the Technical Committee.  The CEO will share the draft standard with the Board of Directors prior to public review.

Technical Committee members are required to act in accordance with the Financial Administration Act, sensitivity of information, conflict of interest provisions and any Accessibility Standards Canada by-laws that may be applicable.

The Standards Development Committee will develop recommendations for a proposed accessibility standard to address the development of Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces as required by the Accessible Canada Act. To develop this standard, members of the committee are required to:

  • Define the long-range objective of the proposed standard;
  • Determine the measures, policies, practices and requirements to be implemented, and the timeframe for their implementation;
  • Develop a proposed standard that the committee deems advisable for public comment;
  • Consider and support the response to public feedback, seek additional information if needed, and make any changes that the committee deems advisable; and
  • Make recommendations for a new accessibility standard to the CEO.

There are common areas where persons with disabilities may face barriers to accessibility of outdoor spaces. These include:

  • Information and awareness, including knowledge of available accommodations and training
  • Many existing codes and standards for the built environment do not address accessibility to outdoor spaces requirements. 

Access to outdoor spaces can be a challenge for persons with disabilities because of challenging ground surfaces, topography, lack of consideration of accessibility and barrier-reduction.  

Standards will be developed to encourage the consideration of areas such as: 

  • Recreational trails;
  • Beach access routes;
  • Outdoor public use eating areas;
  • Outdoor play spaces;
  • Exterior paths of travel (e.g. sidewalks, walkways);
  • Accessible parking;
  • Obtaining services (e.g. service counters); and
  • Maintenance

In addition to recommendations for regulated standards of Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces, the committee may choose to make recommendations on practical non-regulatory measures to remove or prevent barriers to Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces for persons with disabilities.

Such measures could include recommendations related to public information and awareness or other programs that could complement updated or new regulations.

Key Deliverables and Timelines:

The Standards Development Committee will complete the following key deliverables within the specified timelines:

1. Meetings

The committee will meet for one- or two-day sessions, 4 times per year or more if needed. 

2. Standards Development Committee Work Plan

The committee will prepare and provide the CEO of Accessibility Standards Canada with a draft work plan early in the development of a proposed Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces Standard. The work plan will outline key milestones, activities, and timelines to achieve the mandate described here.

3. Recommendation for Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces Standard Timeline

Within 18-24 months or sooner of confirmation of the committee’s proposed priority areas, the committee will deliver to the CEO proposed recommendations to be posted for public review.  The CEO will share the draft standard with the Board of Directors prior to it being posted for public review. 

4. Finalizing Recommendations for Revisions to the Standard

As required by the Accessible Canada Act, a report on comments received during the public review will be prepared by Accessibility Standards Canada and the comments will be given to the committee for its consideration. 

The committee will consider public comments, seek additional information if needed, and make changes based on public comments as the committee deems advisable. The committee will submit the final recommendations to the CEO of Accessibility Standards Canada, along with a report on its consideration of public comments, after receiving the report and public comments.

5. Meeting Minutes and Progress Reports

No later than four (4) weeks following each of its meetings, the committee will approve and provide Accessibility Standards Canada with a copy of its meeting minutes.

Quarterly progress reports will be provided to the CEO of Accessibility Standards Canada.