Wheelchair accessibility should be the law

So come on Canada, it’s about time we were forced to step up to the plate in terms of the way the disabled in Canada are treated.

To the Editor,

Re: Students see life from a wheelchair, Jan. 29.

As a person that is fairly new to Canada, I am aware of the distinct lack of wheelchair-accessible buildings in not just this city, but right across Canada.

Also, as a person who used to live in the U.K. I want to point out that over there, it is the law that each and every building into which a member of the public may enter, be not only wheelchair accessible, but also wheelchair friendly. This goes for everything from a grocery store, to a train station, to an office building and of course a school.

I know people are now going to point out the challenges of implementing such legislation and the costs involved in retrofitting existing buildings to make them wheelchair friendly. In Britain, with way more urban density, and many more heritage buildings, it was still done.

I guess the reason we don’t embrace the idea of disabled access being legislated in Canada is because we seem reluctant to force the ones with the money, the big businesses, the property owners and in fact the governments themselves to spend money. We prefer to let trickle-down economic theory grind on, with the false belief that money will find its way to the less elite in society and possibly be spent on such things as wheelchair accessibility.

In Britain the building alterations did not occur through any philanthropic ideals, or because it may help someone’s business attract more customers, no, it occurred because it was written into the law. So come on Canada, it’s about time we were forced to step up to the plate in terms of the way the disabled in Canada are treated. We are being left behind.

R.S. Tate
via e-mail