The Town of Antigonish and the Accessibility Committee is working with Upland Planning + Design and RHAD Architects to develop an Accessibility Plan for our community.

In line with Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act, this process is intended to remove and prevent barriers that restrict people with disabilities from fully participating in society. The Plan will recognize the diversity among people with disabilities and aim to improve the independence and wellbeing of residents, community members, and visitors with disabilities.

Accessibility is a human right, as well as an important part of diversity and inclusion work. The aim of the Town of Antigonish’s Accessibility Plan is to create a Town that is safe for community members are visitors living with disabilities, prioritizing a dignified and comfortable experience for everyone.

Accessibility is a human right, and this process derives its principles for social justice from Nova Scotia’s Access by Design. The values for this Accessibility Plan include:

  • Respect for difference
  • Dignity
  • Independence & autonomy
  • Equitable access & opportunity
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full participation & inclusion in society.

The Accessibility Plan will include recommendations for improvements and enhancements in the following categories:

  • Awareness and education
  • Goods and services
  • Information and communications
  • Transportation
  • Employment
  • The built environment

While most of the recommendations in this plan will be for the broader community, this plan will also include a building-specific accessibility audit of Town Hall.

Image of the front of Town Hall.

Progress Update:

The Engagement Summary is Now Available.  pdf Click here to read the full Engagement Summary Report. (482 KB)

  pdf Click here to read the large print version. (579 KB)

This Engagement Summary outlines the input that was collected throughout all stakeholder interviews and focus groups. The findings from this report will be brought into the development of the Draft Municipal Accessibility Plan, set to be released this fall. 

Following the release of the Draft Plan, further engagement will give stakeholders and the public an opportunity to provide feedback on these recommendations, before the plan is finalized. This project web page will be updated as the draft document is published and more opportunities for involvement and feedback become available. 

For inquiries, please contact Steve Scannell, Director of Community Development at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Project Timeline:

Interviews

The next step in this project is to complete additional stakeholder interviews. The project team will be reaching out to people with lived experience of disability as well as relevant community service providers. A What We Heard Report will summarize key themes from these interviews and identify some priority projects which can be included in this year’s budget. If you are a community member with lived experience of disability and would like to get involved, please reach out.

Draft Plan Review

A draft of the Accessibility Plan document is scheduled to be completed in May. It will be available online here in both text and audio formats, and large-print and braille hard copies will be available by request. Following the release of the draft, we will conduct follow-up calls with interested stakeholders, and the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback by submitting comments through email, phone, or print, in addition to a community open house (to be held in-person, as public health restrictions allow).

Final Plan

Following engagement on the draft, the final plan (to be completed this summer) will be updated and adjusted to reflect community feedback, also incorporating an Implementation Plan which will include the following:

  • Phasing for the proposed improvements.
  • A framework for Municipal monitoring and evaluation.
  • A framework for responding to public concerns

Provincial Landscape:

Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act mandates the development of both Accessibility Advisory Committees and Accessibility Plans for Municipalities within the province.

For information on the Town’s Accessibility Committee, click here.

The Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate is responsible for administering the Accessibility Act and advancing disability issues within government, working with persons with disabilities, Municipalities, businesses, post-secondary institutions, and others to achieve the goal of an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030.

The Directorate has published a number of resources for this work, including:

Two Standard Development Committees were established provincially and have recently submitted their first phase of recommendations on accessibility standards relating to education and the built environment.

Although these recommendations have not yet been established as standards, they are a good starting point, and the Town of Antigonish’s Municipal Accessibility Plan will refer to these documents, as well as the guidelines established by the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification, a nationally recognized resource.

Image of Rick Hansen Foundation logo.

This Accessibility Plan also falls within the legislative and legal context of the Accessible Canada Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Disability

Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act states that disabilities “include a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, or sensory impairment, including an episodic disability that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders an individual’s full and effective participation in society.”

The World Health Organization offers a holistic explanation of disability, stating, “In recent years, the understanding of disability has moved away from a physical or medical perspective to one that takes into account a person’s physical, social and political context. Today, disability is understood to arise from the interaction between a person’s health condition or impairment and the multitude of influencing factors in their environment.” 

Disabilities may be permanent, temporary (such as a broken bone), or situational (such as a driver unable to see through direct sunlight).

Barriers

Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act defines barriers as “anything that hinders or challenges the full and effective participation in society of persons with disabilities, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy, or a practice.”

Accessibility

Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act suggests that accessibility is defined as “address(ing) the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in the policies, programs, practices and services."

The Rick Hansen Foundation elaborates on this definition as the “degree to which a product, device, activity, facility, service or environment allows everyone to participate fully and is available to everyone on an equal basis.” They add that “something cannot be considered accessible if there have only been efforts to make it accessible to one group, such as those who are blind or people who are wheelchair users.” Meaningful accessibility meets the real needs of any user and responds to their entire experience, rather than simply completing a checklist of minimum requirements. As examples, an accessible meeting space is not useful if it is only accessed by a flight of stairs, and a ramp does not provide meaningful access if it is located at a separate entrance around the back of a building.

antigonish crest

Get in Touch

Town of Antigonish
274 Main Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Canada B2G 2C4

Phone: (902) 863-2351
Fax: (902) 863-0460 / (902) 863-9201

Town Hall hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

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