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Do You Know: Tactile Warning Surfaces Are Mandatory In All Public Spaces!

28th Apr 2023

Over 1.1 billion people in this world are suffering from some kind of visual impairment, ranging from minor issues to total blindness. As per the estimates, there are 500,000 blind or partially sighted Canadians.


With so many people suffering from visual impairments, we as a society have devised strategies to ensure that they have the same chances and societal respect as sighted people. One particularly useful & functional tool is a "tactile warning surface."


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)


As its name suggests, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a recognized law that establishes a developing process and implementing accessibility standards. There are three major stakeholders involved -


  • Person with disabilities
  • Industry representatives
  • Government


All three work in tandem to develop accessibility standards. The government is accountable for developing accessibility criteria that organizations must meet under the AODA. Applying and practicing these standards will enable us to collaborate in making Ontario more accessible and inclusive by 2025. Though AODA is not limited to accessibility in public spaces, it advices the accessibility solutions provider to ensure the code-compliancy in public or commercial spaces. The law is diverse and covers accessibility standards for -


  • Customer service
  • Information and communications
  • Transportation
  • Employment


In this blog, we are particularly focusing on understanding the accessibility standards for public spaces. So, let's get it on!


Design of Public Spaces Standard


The AODA's Design of Public Spaces Standard states that newly created or refurbished public places must be accessible to people with visual disabilities. In simpler words, the Design of Public Spaces Standard informs about the solutions to make public spaces more safe and accessible, which includes-


  • Recreational trails and beach access routes
  • Apartments & residential buildings
  • Outdoor public eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas
  • Outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds in provincial parks and local communities
  • Shopping malls
  • Accessible parking (on and off the street)
  • Outdoor paths of travel, like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals


Ontario Building Code, which states the regulations for the constructed building in Ontario, covers the accessibility rules for indoor spaces. But in contrast to the Ontario Building Code, the Design of Public Spaces Standard incorporates the regulations for service-related spaces like servicing counters, queuing lines, waiting spaces with permanent seating and maintenance & restoration of public spaces.


Note - Why are we even discussing the ins and outs of the AODA Act? Answer - simply because it sheds light on the fact that some specific laws and guidelines make public spaces more accessible and safer. Discussing the AODA act also justifies the title of the blog! Since AODA is an established and recognized law, thus its guidelines must be followed, eventually making the tactile warning surfaces mandatory for all public spaces.


The Design of Public Spaces Standard is Applied to?


The standard is applicable to all latest spaces and buildings, and it also applies to existing spaces that are undergoing extensive modifications. Existing places that do not require extensive reconstruction, on the other hand, are exempt.


Furthermore, all of these types of space must be accessible to the public sector and private sector organizations with fifty or more employees. Private organizations with less than fifty employees, on the other hand, are merely needed to follow the accessibility rules:


  • Trails for recreation and beach access
  • Accessible parking
  • Service counters, fixed queuing lines, and waiting spaces
  • Maintenance and restoration of public spaces


Is The Design of Public Spaces Standard Even Required?


Public spaces are around us. We witness the public space the second we walk out of our homes to go somewhere, whether down the street to chit-chat with a neighbour, to the beach for a fun day with friends, to the grocery shop, parking lot, or the children’s playground. The Design of Public Spaces Standard takes us nearer to an area where all of these excursions are possible for everyone.

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Tactile Solutions for Accessibility: A Comprehensive Guide

28th Apr 2023

Tactile solutions are nothing less than a boon for people with vision loss. These promise accessibility and create accessible environments for people with vision loss. Simultaneously, understanding the proper use of tactile is extremely crucial.


Over 3% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, approximately 750,000 people, have disabilities that limit their daily activities. As per the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), 5.8% of the people under this age group are legally blind.


Considering such several visually challenged populations, it becomes extremely crucial to implement code-compliant tactile solutions for accessibility in public spaces.


This guide aims to cover the nitty-gritty of the setting tactile solutions and how these create accessible space for people with vision loss.


The Design Basics


Designing a tactile solution holds the utmost importance. The designers must consider four basic elements while designing an accessible environment for people with vision loss. Let’s discuss each.




It is extremely important to logically design public spaces such as street networks, transit facilities, stores, and shopping areas. Why? Doing so helps visually challenged people memorize the space and get familiar with it quickly and easily. Use a consistent, logical, and easy layout for the exterior and interior of any planned setting.




Lighting is one of the essential guiding factors for visually challenged people. Lighting kinds, styles, and locations are determined for employing lighting to aid in wayfinding and orientation.


Colour or Brightness Contrast


The concept of colour and brightness contrast is vital in making environments safer and more usable for everyone, greatly impacting many elements within a constructed environment. Colour contrast should be employed between travel pathways and neighbouring ground surfaces.


Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs)


TWSIs, also known as detectable warning surfaces or tactile attention indicators, are standardized walking surfaces that provide information to those blind or visually impaired through texture and, in some cases, sound.


They are often created using inserts like metal, rubber, stone, or plastic or can be built directly into concrete ground surfaces. TWSIs should have a texture that is detectable with a long cane and can be felt underfoot. To reduce the possibility of tripping, their edges should be bevelled.


Some Guidelines about TWSIs


  • TWSIs should be coloured differently from the surrounding walking surface. Safety yellow is the perfect colour for attention TWSIs.
  • TWSIs should have bevelled edges when fitted as pre-manufactured panels or surface-mounted into an existing ground or floor surface.
  • The TWSI panels’ base surface should be no more than three millimetres above the existing surface.


Types of TWSIs


Attention Tactile Walking Surface Indicators


Sometimes referred to as warning TWSIs, TWSIs draw attention to critical hazards such as the staircase’s beginning or the platform’s edge. Attention TWSIs should be circular, flat-topped, truncated domes or cones on a walking surface.


Let’s understand the specifications of attention TWSIs -


  • Flat-topped truncated domes or cones, organized in a square grid pattern, parallel or diagonal at 45 degrees to the main direction of movement, should be employed.
  • The flat-topped domes or cones should be four to five mm tall. A minimum height of four millimetres is desirable in indoor situations with particularly smooth surfaces, such as polished concrete or terrazzo.
  • The top diameter of flat-topped domes or cones should be between 12 and 25 mm.
  • The lower base of the flat-topped domes or cones should be 10 mm (+/- 1 mm) larger than the top diameter.


Attention TWSIs are Applied to?

  • Platform edges
  • Ferry dock edges
  • Edges of reflecting pools and fountains unprotected at ground level
  • Tops of stairs, at landings where there is a door leading onto the landing
  • At landings longer than 2,100 mm where there are no continuous handrails
  • Both sides of ground-level railway crossings
  • Curb ramps and depressed curbs
  • Unprotected edges with a drop-off greater than 250 mm in height
  • Entry points to vehicular routes where no curb or other element separates pedestrians from vehicles
  • At the beginning of ground-level moving walkways (e.g., used in airport terminals)


Guidance Tactile Walking Surface Indicators


TWSIs for guidance should comprise a pattern of parallel, flat-topped, elongated bars extending in the direction of movement.


Let’s check out the specification for guidance TWSIs -

  • Where installed to define a route, their width should be 250 – 300 mm.
  • Where installed across a route as an indicator of an amenity or diverging route, their width should be 600 – 650 mm.
  • They should have a minimum continuous clearance of 600 mm on both sides.
  • The height of the bars should be four to five millimetres.
  • The top of the flat-topped elongated bars must have a width between 17 and 30 mm.
  • The bars should be colour contrasted with surrounding surfaces to make them easily identifiable by people with low vision.
  • The width of the base of the bars must be 10 mm (+/- 1 mm) wider than the top.
  • The top length of the bars should be at least 270 mm. If drainage is a concern, a space of 10 – 30 mm should be provided at the ends of the bars.


Guidance TWSIs are Applied to?


  • Transit stops
  • Train stations
  • Subway or light rail transit (LRT) platforms
  • Airports
  • Sports arenas and stadiums
  • Large open spaces (e.g., public squares)
  • In the door areas of expansive open areas (e.g., shopping malls)


TWSIs used on road surfaces differ from guide surfaces in pedestrian zones. TWSIs placed on road surfaces at pedestrian crossings should -


  • Be configured as a straight path
  • Be 250mm - 300mm wide
  • Be detectable underfoot
  • Be detectable with a long cane
  • Be at least 50% colour/brightness contrasted with adjacent road surfaces
  • Not present a tripping hazard
  • Not present a barrier for persons who use wheelchairs or other types of mobility devices
  • Be configured to mitigate damage from snow-plowing


Ending Note


The tactile solutions covered in this guide are obtained from multiple sources like National Building Code of Canada, CAN/CSA B651 Accessible design for the built environment, ISO/FDIS 21542 Building Construction – Accessibility & usability of the built environment and ISO 23599 – Assistive products for blind and vision-impaired persons.



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The City of Toronto Accesability Project explained

18th May 2021

The City of Toronto Accessibility Project explained



As a Certified Distributor of Kinesik & Ecoglo Brands we Make Your Next Project a Huge Success


As a contractor you are responsible for constructing easily accessible buildings and premises for people with physical impairments, you are well-acquainted with tactile indicators and its applications. These are mandatory products in varied materials installed into or onto the ground with raised domes or bars.


Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) serve the purpose of giving pedestrians who are blind, or who have vision impairment directional information and warning of hazards to assist with safe navigation. You must follow the code standards and proper installation guidelines. Sometimes, it becomes challenging for contractors to comprehend the installation guidelines, even if they are aware of them. That is where our website comes into the picture. Our website can make it easy for contractors to navigate the codes, the installation guidelines and provides resources to choose the best option


IBI Group has been appointed to Lead TheCity of Toronto Accessibility Project


IBI Group is a globally integrated planning, architecture, engineering, and technology firm with more than 2,600 professionals around the world. They take pride in helping clients create liveable, sustainable, and advanced urban environments.

Retrofitting more than 350 buildings this creates one of the most spectacular opportunities for contractors in Toronto. IBI Group will be responsibleto create plans to introduce accessibility including the introduction of tactile solutions.


IBI Group Approvedour Kinesik and Ecoglo Branded Tactile Products for all these Projects.


IBI Group will be requesting contractors to bid on those projects with a mandatory use of the Kinesik and Ecoglo products for tactile.



Tactile Solutions- is the certified and leading Distributor of Kinesik&EcogloProducts.


If you are bidding on projects of the Toronto Accessibility Project, you'll need the Kinesik and Ecoglo products specified by IBI GROUP which you find with US - we are a licensed nationwide distributor for the Kinesik and Ecoglo products. Browse through our website - use our quote requesting tool or call us.


Tactile Solutions is a leader in providing Canadian business with compliant workplace solutions since 2008. We strive to help contractors find the best and most-effective code-compliant tactile solutions for their projects. We take pride in becoming your ultimate source for code-compliant solutions. Our mission is to provide our customers with accessibility solutions. These solutions are intricately designed to meet all current, federal, provincialand municipal standards.


All products offered on our website meet the most rigorous test requirements and comply with AODA, CSA, ISO, FADS, and IFC standards to ensure you achieve the highest compliance in your projects.


When you need mandatory code-compliant accessibility solutions for the next project you win you can always count on us.


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20th Aug 2019

Compliance Solutions Canada, a leader in providing Canadian business with compliant workplace solutions since 2008, now introduces a specialized website helping contractors to find the best and most cost-effective code compliant tactile solution for their projects. This new website is named


By making use of our extensive knowledge of code compliance, this specialized site is “Your Source for Code Compliant Solutions”.


Our Mission is to provide our customers with accessibility solutions that meet all current federal and provincial standards. All products offered meet the most rigorous test requirements and comply with AODA, CSA, ISO, FADS and IFC standards to ensure you achieve the highest compliance in your projects.


Our Tactile Solutions are achieved by the most comprehensive offering of tactile walking surface indicators ranging from cast iron and stainless steel to various engineered polymers and an extensive range of photoluminescent (PLM) exit signs, stair nosing’s and exit path marking.


When you need mandatory code compliant accessibility solutions for any project in Canada, look in our featured solutions or call us.


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16th Aug 2019

Compliance Solutions Canada offers your facility compliant Ecoglo RM series exit signs that come with a clear anodized aluminum frame and universal mounting kit with the guarantee of the most efficient installation procedure for any location. Our emergency exit signs are rugged, require no electricity, reduce maintenance costs and provide the lowest life cycle cost available for an exit sign. Here at Compliance Solutions Canada, we provide our customers with easy solutions to your facilities everyday regulated (code compliant) product needs.


With Canada’s perpetually growing and diverse population, Ontario legislation introduced new (building codes) regulations for emergency exit signs in which all major and new buildings must comply with (which began January 1st 2014). This shift from the classic red and white exit sign to new green photoluminescent exit signs with a pictograph of a “running man” was driven by our country’s changing demographics and the increasing amount of non-English-speaking immigrants moving into the country.


Compliance Solutions Canada is your source for Ecoglo photoluminescent emergency exit signs. We deliver an easy solution to comply with building regulated emergency exit “running man” signs providing a safer way for all citizens to identify building exits with ease.


Compliance Solutions Canada is your number 1 Ontario provider for Ecoglo photoluminescent exit signs; the favored solution to ensuring your facility is equipped with the safest backup technology in emergency. These code compliant exit signs will illuminate your path after being charged with natural or artificial light, no electricity or batteries required. Additionally, the previously used exit signs were illuminated in red which traditionally represents “stop” or some sort of hazard where the new photoluminescent signs give off electricity and are coloured green to represent (which universally represents) “go” or safety.


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16th Aug 2019

Effective January 2016 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities act requires new accessibility standards for public spaces including new laws on tactile walking surface indicators. Compliance Solutions Canada is your top Canadian source for tactile walking surface indicators TWSI’s (also known as detectable warning plates). TWSI’s are mandatory on all new and repaired depressed curb sidewalks in Ontario and Compliance Solutions Canada offers a variety of products to ensure your project is compliant.


Tactile walking surface indicators are seen on street corners, intended to be detectable underfoot when walking or with a cane. They alert those with low or no vision of potential hazards such as moving vehicular traffic. Compliance Solutions Canada provides a wide variety of construction compliant tactile walking surface indicators.


Compliance Solutions Canada carries Advantage tactile systems, Armor-Tile, Access Tile, EON and ELAN code compliant tactile walking surface indicators.


Advantage tactile systems offers stainless steel TWSI’s that have integral stamped slip resistant micro texture, can be powder coated, available in different sizes and colours, and can be surface applied or cast in place. Compliance Solutions Canada also offers the Advantage One Domes/Bars or Plates that are either individual domes/bars that are drilled and adhered into the ground or plate format that will be fastened down to the floor. A favorite among the architectural community, these stylish domes/bars or plates are aesthetically pleasing and comply with all code requirements.


Engineered to outlast the sidewalk, the Advantage Cast Iron Plates are a long-lasting TWSI products that are all strong enough to withstand the abuse of heavy equipment such as snow plows, fork lifts and other construction vehicles and are ideal for northern climates and high traffic areas. They are designed to be permanently embedded into concrete and lower your maintenance and product life cycle costs, all while complying with AODA, CSA, ISO, provincial and national building codes.


Compliance Solutions Canada’s Access Tiles TWSI’s are made of engineered polymer composites, reinforced with fiberglass and has integral colour with combined proven polymer processing and material technologies with innovative and intelligent design features to create the ultimate in detectable warning tiles. Maximized efficiencies in manufacturing, materials sourcing and product specifications deliver the most cost-effective solution in the industry. Access Tile meets the most recent AODA, CSA, ISO, provincial and national building codes. Compliance Solutions Canada offers Access Tiles replaceable cast in place tiles and Access Tiles surface applied tiles.


Compliance Solutions Canada’s replaceable cast in place tile is the easiest and fastest installation in the industry requiring no concrete demolition and needing only a single fastening device. The Access Tile surface applied tiles are engineered to successfully upgrade any existing surface to comply with AODA and provincially mandated detectable warning guidelines.


Compliance Solutions Canada’s Armor Tile offers a selection of Fully AODA/CSA/ISO and OBC compliant detectable warning tactile system products for transit platforms, multi-modal transit centers, curb ramps, stairwells, escalator approaches, pedestrian crossings, parking areas, reflecting pools, and building entrances.


Armor-Tile has an exceptional wear resistance factor meaning a longer tile life and greater cost effectiveness outperforming all other tactile warning systems. Compliance Solutions Canada offers various Armor Tile tactile products such as Cast In Place tiles that install in minutes for new construction. Armor Tile also offers Surface Applied tiles engineered to retrofit any existing surface to comply with AODA/CSA/ISO and OBC requirements. Armor Tile Modular Paver Tiles are high strength modular tactile tiles that can be dry laid on compacted fill or set in a grout bed or dry Pac. The Replaceable  Herculite Tiles with a herculite polymer composite allows for replaceability and installs in minutes to meet code requirements.


Compliance Solutions Canada’s ELAN Tile porcelain tactile indicators provide porcelain tiles with domes or bars. The Elan porcelain tactile bars and domes are ideal and versatile for any application. These products offer attention indicators (truncated domes) for warning and tactile direction indicators for way finding. Compliance Solutions Canada’s Elan Tile porcelain tactile indicatorsare perfect for businesses that design and construct the finest commercial, institutional and public environments.


Compliance Solutions Canada’s EON Tiles are a category leader in quality and a contemporary look and finish. EON Tile is suitable for a variety of applications such as airports, railway stations, shopping centers, department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, swimming pools, community centers, banks or most high traffic environments. Compliance Solutions Canada’s EON Tile products(include) polymer tile with domes or bars.


Compliance Solutions Canada is your one stop shop to ensure your project is completely compliant and up to date with provincial codes and regulations. With our wide variety of tactile walking surface indicators, you can get your construction job done with ease knowing Compliance Solutions Canada is your reliable source


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