June 28, 2023


CXA (Customer Experience Analytics)

With over half of Canadians impacted by a disability, it is essential that accessibility becomes a focal point of your business standards.

Our CX team is passionate about premium customer experience, and we understand the importance of making all guests in a retail space feel welcomed and valued. This has inspired us to support this important conversation.  

The CX team is dedicated to continuing education and continuing our team’s journey on how we can make a positive impact in the world of accessibility.

Does your business need to be accessible? Yes, it does. Based on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), all organizations with one or more employees must meet several requirements. Learn more about what is required of your business depending on the size and number of employees here.  

Based on our research and training, here are our top five easy and low-cost best practices for accessibility that you can implement for your customers:  

  1. Ensure you are compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

This is not just best practice — it's mandatory by law to be compliant with the AODA for “all levels of government, nonprofits, and private sector businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, or contract)” (Accessibility Services Canada); learn more about becoming compliant here. This act is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing, and enforcing accessibility standards across various industries and sectors throughout Ontario.  

As the aging population demographic continues to rise, the importance of accessibility will continue to grow for all public businesses. Once your business is compliant, there are many low-cost and easy ways to make your space even more accessible.

  1. Provide a clear path of travel and easily accessible features around the entire built environment.

Organize your space so there is room for mobility aids, wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers to circulate easily. Do not forget about those who use a walking stick, crutches, or even baby strollers. Ensure no merchandise or clutter is blocking any aisles to ensure ease of access.    

Can all customers reach and view your products? Are the racks easy to spin? Are the door handles placed at an appropriate height and easy to open? These are all important questions to ask, and if you cannot implement major changes yourself due to the built environment or other factors, do research into how you can create positive change with the space available to you.

  1. Have seating available for all customers.

Do you have a retail space with customer seating or tables? Ensure chairs can be removed or tables are designed specifically for those using mobility aids. All customers deserve a comfortable space, so having a policy in place for those who need accessible seating is good customer service.  

  1. Have a backup plan in case of spatial limitations.  

Create a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstances. For example, if a chair or table needs to be moved around to accommodate a customer with a mobility aid, have a layout plan available for staff to be able to reference and execute efficiently.  

  1. Don't make assumptions — always ask.

Do not assume how to help a customer. Not all disabilities are visible, and not all require direct assistance. Be kind, attentive, and ask how you can assist. Each person will have different needs and abilities.    

There are many important resources available to help you learn more and create accessible spaces for all. These include free accessibility training sessions available through the AODA.  

Remember: Accessibility = Great Business!

Further Reading

OBIAA: The Business of Accessibility Handbook  

AODA: Customer Service Guide  

The Act (AODA)  

Accessibility in Ontario: Information for businesses


Free Training

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Training  

Access Forward Training

Sources Used:

Accessibility Services Canada

OBIAA: The Business of Accessibility Handbook  

AODA: Customer Service Guide  

The Act (AODA)