Residents with Disabilities/Challenges

Disabilities are covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code and equivalent codes in other provinces. Therefore, persons with disabilities have to be provided with easy access to their floor, parking area, facilities, and the street.

When there are steps from the street (or the outside) to the lobby, a ramp has to be built. Fortunately, most ground floors are now at street level. Heavy doors in buildings present a barrier for persons in wheelchairs or with a disability that makes walking difficult or opening a door impossible.

Heavy, fire-proof doors are difficult even for a healthy person. In one condo, the adopted policy is that persons who have difficulty opening a door because of a health issue or a challenge identify themselves to the concierge. After, any concierge at the desk always opens both doors for them. The concierge is also instructed to open doors for mothers with infants and strollers as well as pregnant women. This is called “the human touch” approach and it works so well that everyone in the lobby helps designated persons.

Another solution is to install an automatic door opener for either the front or the back entrance; such doors leading to parking areas may also be necessary. These doors can have a push button or a card reader and a “fob” can be sold to residents who need to use the automatic system. Or a combination of both, a push button for the outside door, and a card or fob for the interior door. Or, still, a button can be pressed by the person at the security desk. (Click here for What’s a Fob? A Card Reader?)

These mechanisms can be expensive but not overwhelmingly so. They also require somewhat more maintenance.

One has to be cautious to install a system that will not allow anyone off the street to “piggy back” behind residents. These doors take more time to close than regular ones. In such buildings, the concierge/security staff has to be even more vigilant--not an easy task or even one that is willingly accepted.

When observing from the sidewalk, one can at times see young people, mainly male, loitering outside waiting for the concierge to step away from the desk; then, they walk behind the next resident who opens the automatic door. Once inside, they walk corridors and check suite doors that may be left unlocked. Or they go into garages and check out cars. This is a security issue that has to be kept in mind.