Outdoor Accessibility

Ontario’s Service Accessibility Standards and the Outdoors

In January 2012, the Ontario Government brought into force new “Service Accessibility Standards” that apply to all employers in Ontario with one or more employees.  These standards call for the training of staff on accessible services and the development of policies concerning the delivery of services in an accessible manner.  Lawrence Gunther has a training plan and policy development package that is designed to assist businesses to comply with this new standard quickly and economically.

Outfitters are reporting increasing numbers of requests for special accommodations from outdoor enthusiasts with disabilities.  These trends can be attributed to the average age of the outdoor enthusiast increasing, and with age often comes disability.
Did you know, 17% of people between the ages of 40 and 65, and 40% of those between the ages of 65 and 75, all share one thing in common, they have at least one disability. Did you know, 17% of people between the ages of 40 and 65, and 40% of those between the ages of 65 and 75, all share one thing in common, they have at least one disability.  The rate goes up to 53% for those over 75.  With over 48 million Americans and 3.4 million Canadians with disabilities, can you really afford to exclude this demographic?

Accommodations can be relatively inexpensive and simple to implement if you include the principal of “access for all” in the design stage of your facilities and services.  Retrofitting can be more costly, but simple short-term solutions can meet your immediate needs if implemented correctly.  Most provincial building codes now include detailed standards for accessible building designs; unfortunately, little published information exists on accessible designs for assets such as docks, paths, boats, outhouses, fish-cleaning stations, hunting blinds, etc.).  Once you’ve implemented accessibility features, the next step is to secure a return on your investment.

As a person with a disability himself, Lawrence’s love for the great out-of-doors led to his acquiring a Masters in environmental studies with a specialization in designing environments accessible to everyone.  He has lived in Canada’s Arctic to research traditional Inuit accommodation strategies, resided in Sweden to document their innovative integration solutions, served as the “Special  Advisor” on accessibility to Canada’s Senate, supervised the construction of numerous fully-accessible residential and commercial facilities, and designed the world’s first fishing boat for the blind.  Lawrence’s ground-breaking work has led to his receiving numerous awards including the “Meritorious Service Medal” from Canada’s Governor General.

The services Lawrence offers apply to businesses of all types.  His specialization  is lodges, resorts, outfitters, guides and outdoor equipment manufacturers.  Services cover the following:

Facility Accessibility:

  • Environmental accessibility assessments
  • Designing from the ground up accessible facilities
  • Lighting and contrast
  • Ramps, paths, docks, boats, blinds
  • Kitchens, washrooms, out-houses
  • Lodges, out-posts, cabins
  • Safety issues and procedures

Technology:

  • Recommendations for accessible or assistive technologies
  • Testing products for accessibility and usability

Awareness / Training:

  • Accessible Service Delivery
  • Forms of assistance commonly required
  • Tips on determining levels of individual assistance required
  • Designing access solutions on the fly
  • Negotiating accessible solutions

Marketing:

  • Alternative marketing solutions
  • Direct marketing strategies
  • Braille, large print, audio
  • Website accessibility

Policy:

  • Creating customized accessibility policies
  • Policy assessment and recommendations
  • Policy implementation consultation

Key-Note and Motivational Presentations:

  • Audience specific presentations
  • Personal insights and humorous experiences
  • In-depth knowledge on designing for accessibility
For more information contact Lawrence directly by email at:
Gunther.lawrence@gmail.com or by phone at (613) 298-3028