Thursday, October 6, 2016

Building without barriers: Calgary's Access Design Standards

When you think about accessibility, what comes to mind?

A person in a wheelchair? A person with vision impairment?

What most of us may not realize is that accessibility is important for everyone and designing accessible buildings is key to creating a city for everyone to enjoy.

Consider a mom with a stroller faced with a staircase, or an elderly person trying to open a door. We need to design buildings without barriers – and that’s exactly what The City’s Access Design Standards are meant to do.

“The standards help create an inclusive society,” says Patrick Sweet, City of Calgary safety codes officer. “They are meant to increase the level of accessibility for all Calgarians who utilize City buildings and services.”

The City has recently updated our Access Design Standards for all new buildings constructed on City-owned land. The Advisory Committee on Accessibility, made up of citizens who advise The City on the rights and service needs of Calgarians with disabilities, worked with members of the community to ensure all realms of disability are being considered and that the standards are meaningful and relevant to Calgarians. Approved by Council in September, the standards remove barriers by mandating design requirements that exceed the Alberta Building Code. Visit for more information.

In addition to the updated Access Design Standards, The City also offers accessible services and programs for people with disabilities. Accessible transportation options, adapted recreational programs, emergency preparedness guides, and much more are available at

Did you know?
  • In the 30-year span from 2012-2042, the disabled population aged 65 or older in Calgary is expected to triple from approximately 100,000 to over 300,000 citizens.
  • For the first time ever, by the early 2030s, Calgary will have more seniors than youth.

Have your say on what an accessible Canada means to you

The Government of Canada is consulting Canadians in-person and online regarding new accessibility legislation. Citizens are invited to participate at an in-person consultation session in Calgary on Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the TELUS Convention Centre (120 Ninth Ave. S.E.) in Macleod Hall A. For more information, visit

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