March 10, 2022
The Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA) is a not for profit organization serving members who operate and manage recreation facilities in municipalities, educational institutions, government agencies, First Nations communities and in the private recreation sector. As a member-based organization, the ORFA is dedicated to providing leadership in training and development, and in products and services for the benefit of the recreation facility profession.
The ORFA recognizes the positive impact that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has made in helping ensure that people with disabilities gain access to safe public infrastructure. However, it is critically important to bring attention to the need for improved and planned safe evacuation should there be an emergency situation in our recreation facilities. Much of Canada’s recreation infrastructure is old and many are beyond their projected lifecycle. While some may have undergone retrofits, and access at key entry points may have improved, what attention has been given to the egress points of exit of these same buildings? Will these emergency exits assist persons with disabilities leave a building in case of an emergency?
The ORFA encourages the need to properly prepare a safety plan for all users of recreational facilities. In response, the ORFA has released the “Recreation Facility Accessibility - Planning to Get Out Safely Guideline” to help foster a dialogue and generate conversation with all stakeholders.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this matter.