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OCAD U Announces Adoption of Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS) for All Construction and Renovation Projects

A wheelchair user enjoys an exhibit with displays presented at a table height

OCAD U Announces Adoption of Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS) for All Construction and Renovation Projects

​When we design for the diversity of lived-experience and abilities, everyone is welcomed to participate more fully in campus life. Universal and inclusive design principles aim for our community to reach their potential in the best ways as possible. Have you ever used a curb cut (the subtle ramp graded down on sidewalks to smoothly meet the street)? Though initially designed for persons using a wheelchair,  the “curb cut effect” means that moving through the city becomes a bit easier for anyone pushing a stroller, using a walker or rolling a delivery cart.

OCAD University's Board of Governors approved the Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS) as a continued demonstration of OCAD U’s institutional commitment to eliminating and preventing barriers experienced by persons with disabilities. These standards provide well-established, international best practices for accessibility and universal design to ensure that the design of products and environments are usable by all, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for modification or adaptive design. The FADS highlight and comply with accessibility requirements set out by the Ontario Building Code and the 2016 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Design of Public Spaces Standards, and are an excellent example for institutions locally and around the nation as they address the goal of an accessible Canada. 

The FADS provide practical examples of design solutions that optimize accessibility that will now be used by OCAD U administration, as well as contracted firms, when designing and administering all construction and renovation projects associated with new facilities, as well as the retrofit, alteration or addition to existing facilities. Designing and constructing to this standard will also be included as a mandatory requirement in all OCAD University request for proposals, tender documents, and construction contracts. By highlighting Representative Classroom Templates and providing a breakdown of various classroom accessibility requirements, the FADS are a valuable contribution to excellence in accessible education.  

OCAD U acknowledges the tremendous contributions and the leadership of Cathy Cappon (Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives) ODESI in close collaboration with OCAD Student Union, Facilities and Studio Services, Campus Planning and Projects, faculty thought leaders from Faculty of Design Cheryl Giraudy, Howard Gerry, and Colleen Reid, and DesignABLE Environments Inc. (www. who were instrumental to realizing these gold standards of design. 

Read the Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS) online.