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The 2025 Canadian Accessibility Law Deadline: How Canadian Contractors Can Meet Pending Tactile Surface Regulations

18th Oct 2023

The landscape for accessibility and inclusion is rapidly evolving in Canada. With several landmark regulations like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) already in place, a major milestone is set to arrive in 2025 that will impact federal accessibility standards nationwide.


This upcoming deadline pertains to the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), the ambitious federal law that seeks to make Canada barrier-free by 2040. By June 1, 2025, all federally regulated public and private sector organizations with ten or more employees must comply with the ACA’s first phase of accessibility regulations.


This deadline carries major implications for contractors, architects, and construction companies involved in building and renovating public spaces. The ACA mandates extensive accessibility upgrades to buildings, transportation, urban design, communications technology, and, crucially, walking surfaces.


This means integrating code-compliant tactile walking surface indicators and guidance systems will become a legal obligation for making public realm spaces accessible under the ACA.


As Canada’s leading tactile solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada is the ideal partner for contractors seeking expert guidance on selecting and installing ACA-compliant tactile systems ahead of the 2025 deadline.


This blog covers what Canadian builders need about tactile surface compliance under upcoming ACA regulations.


The Accessible Canada Act: An Overview


The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) became law in 2019 and is among the most progressive federal accessibility legislations globally. The ACA aims to achieve a “barrier-free Canada” by 2040.


The law defines a “barrier” as anything hindering the full participation of people with disabilities in society. The ACA takes an expansive view of accessibility, going beyond the built environment to address barriers to accessibility in:

  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Procurement of goods, services and facilities
  • Built environment
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Communication
  • Delivery of programs and services

This broad scope encompasses both physical and digital aspects of accessibility. The ACA empowers the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop binding accessibility regulations and codes in phases targeted for 2025, 2030, and ultimately 2040.


These regulations will impose significant accessibility upgrades to federally regulated workplaces, buildings, transportation networks, pedestrian infrastructure, communications technology, and media.


ACA Tactile Surface Regulations for Contractors


Of particular relevance for Canadian contractors and builders are the regulations under the ACA mandating enhanced accessibility in pedestrian walking surfaces and the built environment.


The ACA requires upgrading outdoor and indoor pedestrian circulation routes, corridors, floors, stairs, elevators, escalators, doors, wayfinding systems, and other architectural features to remove mobility barriers.


A key focus area is installing standardized tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) on pedestrian circulation paths, both indoors and outdoors. TWSIs, called tactile attention or guidance indicators, are textured ground surface markers that provide vital orientation cues and warnings of potential hazards to users through their feet or mobility canes.


The ACA mandates installing compliant tactile attention and guidance systems across all new, extensively renovated public buildings and spaces. This will enable millions of Canadians with vision loss or mobility disabilities to navigate the built environment safely and seamlessly.


For public realm contractors and builders, meeting the ACA tactile surface regulations necessitates:


1. Installing Code-Compliant TWSIs


All new and upgraded pedestrian walking surfaces must integrate compliant tactile attention and guidance indicators as per the upcoming enforceable CRTC regulations modeled after current standards like:

  • CSA B651: Sets technical specifications for tactile walking surface indicators in Canada
  • ISO 23599: International tactile walking surface standard

This requires understanding optimal materials, textures, dome/bar sizing, beveling, visual contrast, installation methods, and placement locations.


2. Consulting Users when Selecting Tactile Solutions


The ACA requires involving people with disabilities when planning and implementing accessibility upgrades. Their input on preferences and needs is invaluable for choosing suitable tactile systems.


3. Training Staff on Tactile Installation Procedures


Proper tactile installation as per codes demands trained professionals. Staff needs instruction on surface prep, layout, application, setting, orientation, and beveling to optimize tactile functionality.


4. Rigorously Testing Surfaces Post-Installation


User testing by people with vision disabilities is essential to ensure the installed tactile solutions enhance accessibility as intended. User feedback needs to inform modifications.


5. Developing Maintenance Plans


Keep installed tactile surfaces compliant over the years via scheduled inspections, damage repair, replacements, and preservation of visual contrast.


Following these best practices and the CRTC regulations will allow builders to integrate the optimal ACA-compliant tactile solutions in their projects.


Why Partner with Tactile Solution Canada?


Tactile Solution Canada supplies the most comprehensive range of tactile walking surface indicators from leading brands like Armor Tile, Access Tile, and Advantage Tile.


Our world-class tactile systems enable ACA compliance by providing the following:

  • Rigorous load testing for heavy footfall
  • Durability against harsh Canadian weather extremes
  • Standards compliance with CSA, ISO, AODA
  • Customization to specification needs
  • Easy installation and replacement
  • Extensive safety certifications

With over a decade of supplying tactile solutions for accessibility projects, our experts will recommend the ideal systems to suit your public space requirements.


By consulting us early in your project design process, we can ensure the integration of optimal ACA-compliant tactile walking surfaces to make infrastructure accessible for all.


Frequently Asked Questions


What does the Accessible Canada Act require for tactile surfaces?

The ACA requires installing compliant tactile attention and guidance tiles on pedestrian circulation paths in new and upgraded public buildings and spaces. This enables accessibility for people with vision disabilities.


What are the benefits of proper tactile installations?

Benefits include enhanced mobility for blind and low-vision users, hazard warnings, clear wayfinding, safety for all pedestrians, meeting code compliance, and inclusive, accessible design.


What areas need tactile tiles?


  • Building entrances: Mark doorway thresholds
  • Lobbies and atriums: Direct to key areas like reception
  • Retail aisles: Help navigate large open floors
  • Transit stations: Guide to platforms, Information kiosks, ticket areas
  • Corridors: Define walkways in expansive spaces
  • Sidewalk curb ramps: Alert to transition from sidewalk to street
  • Transit platforms: Warn of platform edge drop-off
  • Pedestrian crossings: Mark the crosswalk area on the road surface
  • Stairways and ramps: Indicate change in level
  • Parks and plazas: Guide across open spaces


Who needs to comply with ACA tactile regulations?

The ACA applies to federally regulated public and private sector organizations in Canada with 10+ employees. This includes contractors involved in building and renovating public spaces.


How can contractors install correct tactile tiles?

Follow manufacturer specifications, use trained installers, test surface effectiveness post-installation, and develop maintenance plans to preserve functionality.


Let Tactile Solution Canada Guide Your ACA Tactile Compliance


Achieving full ACA accessibility compliance across Canada’s vast public infrastructure by 2040 will require considerable collective effort. For contractors charged with upgrading public buildings and spaces, integrating code-compliant tactile walking surfaces is an essential piece of this mission.


As Canada’s premier tactile surface experts, Tactile Solution Canada is ready to assist. Our advisors can prescribe the ideal tactile warning systems to make your upcoming projects inviting and safe spaces for all citizens, regardless of ability.


Let us help pave the path to a truly accessible Canada. Contact Tactile Solutions Canada today!

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Top 5 Benefits of Using Tactile Warning Systems for Visually Impaired Canadians

13th Oct 2023

Over 1.5 million Canadians are visually impaired, and an estimated 5.59 million more have sight loss causing eye disease. For these individuals, navigating public spaces can be challenging and unsafe without proper accessibility accommodations. Code compliant tactile solutions provide an invaluable service by alerting visually impaired pedestrians to potential hazards and guiding their movement through the built environment.


As a leading Canadian supplier of tactile warning systems, Tactile Solution Canada is committed to enhancing accessibility and mobility for the visually impaired. We offer a wide selection of tactile warning products, including detectable warning surfaces, wayfinding indicators, and exit signs. Our systems are designed to meet the latest accessibility standards and codes in Canada.


Top 5 benefits of tactile warning surface indicators for visually impaired Canadians


  1. Prevent Accidents and Injuries


Tactile warning surface indicators like truncated domes alert visually impaired individuals to upcoming hazards like stairs, ramps, level changes, and road crossings. The unique texture is easily detected by a person's feet or cane, warning them to stop, slow down, or proceed with caution. This helps prevent potentially dangerous falls or collisions. Proper use of tactile warnings has been proven to reduce accidents among visually impaired pedestrians.


  1. Guide and Orient Users


AODA directional ground surface indicators like raised bars guide users along a set path or route. These tactile cues help visually impaired Canadians navigate safely through open spaces, transit platforms, and complex building interiors where maintaining a straight path is difficult. Wayfinding strips provide confidence for independent travel.


  1. Promote Accessibility


Tactile systems allow visually impaired citizens to access and utilize public spaces in their community. With proper installations that meet guidelines like the CSA B651 Standard in Canada, visually impaired individuals can travel safely and comfortably through areas like sidewalks, stairways, parks, transit stations, and information centers. Tactile warning systems are a key accessibility accommodation required under the Canadian Human Rights Act.


  1. Support Independence


For many visually impaired Canadians, the ability to travel independently is linked to quality of life. Tactile warning systems give users the confidence to navigate their environment without constant reliance on sighted guides. This allows for greater autonomy and freedom in everyday tasks. Mobility and independence are critical factors for mental health and social participation.


  1. Provide Consistency


Standardized tactile walking surface indicators give visually impaired travelers consistency across different cities and provinces. For example, a truncated dome surface alerts a user to the edge of a train platform whether they are in Toronto, Vancouver, or Moncton. Consistent tactile cues allow for intuitive understanding and safe travel regardless of location. It also streamlines accessibility for organizations that operate across Canada.


Steps for Proper Installation of Tactile Walking Surface Indicators


While warning tactile solutions offer immense benefits, their effectiveness depends greatly on proper installation and maintenance. Here are some key considerations:


  • Positioning – Tactiles should be logically placed at hazardous spots or decision points along a route. Follow all measurements outlined in Canadian accessibility codes.

  • Dimensions – Truncated domes, raised bars, and other tactile should adhere to size guidelines. Variables like height, spacing, length, and base diameter all factor into detectability.

  • Contrast – Tactile surfaces should visibly contrast with surrounding materials through color and tone for those with low vision.

  • Consistency – Use the same tactile products across one site for a cohesive accessibility solution.

  • Durability – Tactile systems are subject to heavy foot traffic and weather. Ensure surfaces can withstand wear while maintaining shape and texture integrity.

  • Upkeep – Check for damaged or missing tiles and repair or replace them as needed so the system remains effective.


Complying with standards and installing tactile plates properly is imperative for both safety and creating an accessible environment.


Tactile Warning Systems Offer Security for All


Blindness or low vision should not prevent full participation in society. With Canada's aging population, the need for thoughtful accessibility will only increase in the future. Tactile warning surfaces and indicators fulfill a critical need for safe navigation by providing standardized, intuitive information underfoot.


While key to accessibility for visually impaired individuals, tactile warning systems offer benefits for all pedestrians. Children, seniors, distracted cell phone users, and those under the influence can all appreciate the extra safety cue. Tactile walking surface indicators enhance walkability and security in public spaces for all citizens.


At Tactile Solution Canada, our goal is to create modern, integrated accessibility to improve mobility and quality of life for Canadians with vision loss. Contact our knowledgeable team today to discuss how tactile warning systems can enhance safety, accessibility, and experience at your next project site.


Frequently Asked Questions About Tactile Warning Surface Indicators


Q: What are some key accessibility standards and codes for tactile warning systems in Canada?

A: Key documents include the CSA B651 Standard, Ontario Building Code, and Accessibility Design Guidelines in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. These outline proper applications, dimensions, and installation methods for tactile pavers and surfaces.


Q: Where are truncated dome tactile warning surfaces required?

A: Domes should be installed at stairs, pedestrian crossings, ramps, transit platform edges, and other hazardous drop-offs or level changes per Canadian codes.


Q: What materials are tactile warning systems made from?

A: Common options are metal, composite, plastic, and rubber. Durability, aesthetics, price point, and lifespan factor into material selection.


Q: How can I integrate tactile surfaces into my project design?

A: Consult with suppliers early in the process to seamlessly incorporate tactile into the overall site layout, color scheme, and flooring materials.


Q: How can I ensure ongoing maintenance of tactile warning surfaces?

A: Schedule inspections, train staff to spot damage, and keep spare materials on hand for repairing surfaces. Proper maintenance ensures accessibility is preserved.


At Tactile Solution Canada, we offer consultations to help you select appropriate tactile solutions tailored to your specific project site, needs, and goals. Contact us today to discuss enhancing accessibility!

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Making Cities Accessible: The Growing Need for Tactile Wayfinding in Urban Canada

13th Oct 2023

As Canada continues its rapid urbanization, city planners face the crucial challenge of making built environments accessible with the help of tactile walking surface indicators for all people, including vulnerable groups like citizens with visual or mobility impairments. While great strides have been made in accessibility over the decades, many public spaces still pose navigation challenges for those with disabilities.


This is where tactile wayfinding solutions come in as an indispensable tool for enhancing accessibility. Tactile wayfinding leverages textured ground surface indicators that can be felt underfoot or with a cane to guide users and impart crucial spatial information to pedestrians with visual disabilities.


In this blog, we delve into the world of tactile wayfinding and how it is fast becoming a vital investment for forward-thinking Canadian cities aiming to ensure accessibility and foster inclusion as they continue expanding.


Understanding Tactile Wayfinding


Tactile wayfinding refers to embedded tactile ground surface indicators that outline designated pedestrian circulation paths and key points of interest across public landscapes like transit hubs, parks, and plazas. Code-compliant wayfinding bars provide a tangible navigation channel that users with vision impairments can detect through their feet or canes.


Tactile wayfinding solutions feature flat-topped bars, cone bars, or raised dots arranged in the direction of travel. This consistent alignment perpendicularly to the path of movement provides essential orientation cues. Users can trace the patterns with their foot or cane to discern the safe walking direction.


Well-implemented tactile wayfinding fulfils two essential functions:


  1. Directional Guidance: The cues direct pedestrians along appropriate circulation routes in spaces where navigation is challenging. This prevents disorientation.

  2. Spatial Mapping: The network of tactile indicators allows users to build a mental map of the configuration of spaces and routes. This boosts environmental awareness.


Together, these functions foster safer mobility and independence for the visually impaired. They can navigate safely on their own without over-reliance on aids like sighted guides or verbal directions.


The Need for Tactile Wayfinding in Canadian Cities


Canada is rapidly urbanizing, with over 80% of Canadians residing in large metro areas as of 2016. This urban population boom makes accessibility a prime concern for cities.


The number of Canadians with age-related vision loss is also rising steadily with our aging population. Over 1.5 million Canadians currently live with vision disabilities. And this is expected to double by 2031.


These demographic factors compound the need for tactile wayfinding across Canadian cities. Let's look at how tactile surfaces can foster accessibility in our urban public spaces:


Sidewalks & Crosswalks


Tactile guidance paths on sidewalks and crosswalk ISO wayfinding bars tiles at intersections guide pedestrians safely across busy vehicular routes. Tactile indicators at curbs alert users to the transition between pedestrian and traffic zones.


Transit Hubs


Tactile routes at metro stations, bus terminals, airports, and train platforms enable intuitive access between arrival points and ticketing/information kiosks, washrooms, boarding zones, and staircases.


Parks & Plazas


Sprawling open public spaces can be disorienting to navigate, but tactile paths with AODA directional ground surface indicators leading through parks, squares, and markets make them more welcoming.


Government Buildings


Library squares, courthouse stairs, and city hall entrance plazas become accessible when tactile surfaces lead the way to their doorsteps.


Streetscapes & Shopping Districts


Retail areas thrive on footfalls. Tactile paving along storefronts, restaurants, and malls keeps them connected, safe, and navigable.


By retrofitting these key zones with compliant wayfinding tactile solutions, cities gain the building blocks of an accessible public realm to serve all citizens.


Tactile Wayfinding Standards in Canada


To ensure consistent non-visual communication and compliance with regulations, tactile wayfinding must adhere to accessibility codes and standards. In Canada, key regulations include:


  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

  • CSA B651: Provides standards for wayfinding surface design specifications

  • Ontario Building Code

  • National Building Code of Canada


These standards outline crucial specifications for tactile wayfinding related to:


  • Bar dimensions: width, height, spacing, arrangement

  • Minimum walkway width between bars

  • High visual contrast between bars and ground plane

  • Durable yet non-slip materials

  • Consistent orientation perpendicular to the direction of travel


Conforming with these codes ensures the tactile installations safely and effectively serve the mobility needs of Canadians with vision disabilities.


Selecting Appropriate Tactile Surfaces


When planning tactile wayfinding for public realm projects, urban designers and city planners should consider the following:


  • Indoor vs. outdoor setting

  • Foot traffic volumes

  • Ability to replace damaged tiles

  • Contrast needs for low-vision users

  • Aesthetic cohesion with surroundings

  • Budget

  • Site-specific size requirements


With numerous tactile products available, expert guidance helps select solutions tailored to each application's unique specifications and accessibility needs.




What are some examples of public spaces that can benefit from tactile wayfinding?

Key public spaces that should integrate compliant tactile wayfinding include sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, parks, transit platforms, shopping districts, office plazas, airports, government buildings, hospitals, educational institutions, and recreational facilities.


How exactly does tactile wayfinding help people with vision loss?

Wayfinding tactile plates provides essential non-visual orientation cues and directional guidance, allowing people with vision disabilities to navigate safely and independently. It fosters mobility and spatial awareness.


What are the main accessibility regulations concerning tactile wayfinding in Canada?

The main regulations are the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), CSA Standard B651, the National Building Code of Canada, and various provincial and municipal building codes.


Should tactile wayfinding contrast visually with the ground surface?

Strong visual contrast between tactile wayfinding bars and the surrounding surface, through color and brightness differentiation, is recommended by standards for maximum visibility.


How can city planners and contractors integrate tactile wayfinding into public spaces?

They can retrofit existing spaces with surface-applied tiles or install new tactile surfaces built into concrete. Consulting experts ensure standards compliance and optimal product selection tailored to each site.


Tactile Wayfinding Transforms Cities for the Better


Well-designed cities put people first. For too long, disabled citizens have faced exclusion from the seamless enjoyment of public spaces. Thoughtfully planned tactile wayfinding with AODA directional ground surface indicators finally brings accessibility to the core of urban design.


These textured guidance networks transform disorienting surroundings into intuitive, navigable places, empowering people with vision disabilities. Integrating compliant tactile wayfinding solutions is an ethical imperative and intelligent investment that positions Canadian cities to lead the charge toward inclusive, barrier-free communities that leave no one behind.


As Canada's foremost tactile solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada partners with cities across the nation to make public realm accessibility a reality. Our expertise in code-compliant solutions tailored to each project's unique needs streamlines the integration of tactile wayfinding.


To equip your city with world-class accessibility, explore our wide range of wayfinding solutions today. Let us pave the path to a brighter future.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Regulations on Tactile Walking Surface Indicators

13th Oct 2023

Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI), also known as detectable warning surfaces, are textured ground surface indicators that provide important navigational cues for individuals who are blind or have low vision. In Canada, the installation of compliant TWSIs on pedestrian routes is mandated under various provincial and national accessibility regulations.


This blog provides a comprehensive overview of the key Canadian codes and standards that regulate the design and placement of TWSIs. We'll explore the most current federal, provincial, and municipal accessibility requirements across the country.


What Are Tactile Walking Surface Indicators?


TWSIs are specialized textures installed on walking surfaces to convey essential information through touch and sound to pedestrians with vision impairments. Two main types exist:

  • Warning Indicators - Also called "attention indicators," these have a distinctive pattern of truncated domes that signal potential hazards like curb edges, stairs, transit platforms, etc.
  • Guidance Indicators - These have parallel elongated bars that guide users along designated pedestrian circulation paths and spaces.


TWSIs provide critical navigational and hazard cues to individuals with visual disabilities through:

  • Tactile sensation underfoot and from canes
  • Audible feedback from canes tapping the surface
  • Visual contrast between the indicators and surrounding surfaces

When thoughtfully implemented, TWSIs enable independent and intuitive wayfinding and safety for pedestrians with vision loss.


Key Canadian Accessibility Regulations


In Canada, various regulations at the federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal levels mandate TWSI installation to create accessible public realms. Let's look at the major standards:


Federal Regulations


Canada has nationwide standards that provide baseline accessibility requirements. Key regulations include:


  • CAN/CSA B651 - Sets out technical specifications for TWSI design and placement. It covers materials, construction, installation, texture, dimensions, visual contrast, etc. Compliance ensures optimal detectability.
  • National Building Code of Canada - References the CAN/CSA B651 standard for TWSI specifications.
  • Canadian Human Rights Act - Prohibits discrimination based on disability and mandates equal access.


Provincial and Territorial Regulations


Most provinces and territories have their own accessibility laws that require TWSI installation. For example:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in Ontario mandates TWSIs at all new and redeveloped public spaces.
  • The Manitoba Accessibility Act requires municipalities to implement accessibility plans, including installing TWSIs where needed.

Municipal By-Laws

Many cities have additional by-laws and design standards for TWSIs. For instance:

  • City of Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines prescribe detailed TWSI requirements for municipal facilities and public rights-of-way.
  • Calgary Access Design Standards regulate the location and technical specifications of TWSIs in city infrastructure.


So, in addition to nationwide standards, provincial, territorial, and civic regulations can impose localized TWSI requirements that contractors must adhere to.


Key Locations for Warning and Guidance TWSIs


Both warning and guidance TWSIs play vital roles in public realm accessibility and must be installed at key locations, including:

Warning TWSIs:

  • Along platform edges 
  • At curb ramps and depressed curbs
  • At stair landings and escalator approaches
  • Where a pedestrian route crosses into a vehicular route
  • At unprotected drop-offs or sloped walkway edges

Guidance TWSIs:

  • Along interior and exterior designated pedestrian circulation paths
  • At transit platforms to guide passengers to boarding zones
  • In large open public spaces like plazas, parks, and stadiums
  • Across open areas lacking shorelines like ponds or reflecting pools
  • At complex intersections, roundabouts, or skewed crossings


Technical Specifications for Compliant TWSIs


TWSIs must adhere to strict technical requirements outlined in various Canadian codes and standards to ensure proper detectability and functionality. Key specifications include:

  • Constructed of durable, slip-resistant material like concrete, stone, metal, or engineered composite
  • The high visual contrast between 70-100% with adjacent surfaces through colour and tone
  • Standardized sizing of domes or bars with proper spacing between raised elements
  • Domes/bars projected between 4mm and 5mm above the surrounding surface
  • Bevelled edges to prevent tripping hazards between tiles and ground
  • Reflective properties for visibility at nighttime or dark conditions

By meeting these specifications, TWSIs will reliably signal key cues through touch and sound when tapped by canes or stepped on by pedestrians. Compliant TWSIs optimize accessibility and safety.




Q: What are some key disabilities that benefit from TWSIs?


A: TWSIs primarily aid those with low vision or legal blindness but also assist users with cognitive or physical disabilities.


Q: Where are guidance TWSIs commonly required under Canadian regulations?


A: Guidance TWSIs are mandated along interior/exterior circulation paths, transit platforms, open public spaces, recreational trails, etc.


Q: What materials can be used to build compliant TWSIs?


A: Durable options like concrete, stone, metal, engineered plastics, porcelain, and rubber can be used if properly designed.


Q: How do Canadian provinces mandate TWSIs?


A: Through provincial accessibility acts that require TWSIs at new and renovated public facilities and infrastructure.


Q: How do Canadian municipalities require TWSIs?


A: Through by-laws, facility accessibility design standards, and public realm master plans at civic infrastructure.




As Canada's population ages and diversifies, creating inclusive infrastructure that accommodates users of all abilities grows increasingly important. Implementing proper TWSIs under Canadian regulations is a key strategy for crafting accessible, barrier-free public realms.


With its rich experience supplying compliant TWSI solutions across Canada, Tactile Solution Canada is the ideal partner for accessibility projects of all sizes. Their extensive product range includes systems from leading manufacturers like Armor Tile®, Access Tile® Systems, Advantage® Tactile Systems, Ecoglo® and Elan® Tiles.


With solutions customizable to any application, Tactile Solution Canada can recommend the optimal TWSIs to fulfil your specific accessibility goals while meeting all pertinent Canadian codes and standards. Contact their experts today to make your next public project genuinely accessible to all citizens.

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Photoluminescent Wayfinding: 7 Key Factors to Consider

11th Oct 2023

Creating accessible and navigable public spaces is a key priority for architects, contractors, and facility managers in Canada. For individuals with visual disabilities, navigating unfamiliar environments poses numerous challenges. Photoluminescent wayfinding offers an effective solution to enhance accessibility and safety.


As per Canadian codes and standards like the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) and UL 1994, photoluminescent wayfinding systems are mandated in many public buildings and spaces. When thoughtfully designed and installed, these self-illuminating systems provide visual guidance similar to exit signs, even in dark conditions.


This article explores the key factors contractors, architects, and building owners must consider when specifying photoluminescent wayfinding solutions in Canada.


What is Photoluminescent Wayfinding?


Photoluminescent wayfinding uses glow-in-the-dark signs, strips, and markers to delineate paths of travel within buildings and public spaces. It guides occupants to key areas and amenities even in dark conditions.


Photoluminescent wayfinding relies on special phosphor materials that absorb, store, and emit light. These materials charge themselves using any ambient light source and then illuminate in low-light conditions without electricity.


Strategically placed photoluminescent wayfinding indicators outline safe exit routes, mark stair edges, identify amenities, and provide directional cues that enhance accessibility for those with visual disabilities.


7 Key Specification Considerations


When integrating photoluminescent wayfinding, consider:


1. Standards Compliance


Photoluminescent products must comply with various Canadian codes and standards like the NBC, AODA, OBC, NFPA, UL 1994, and provincial codes. Compliance ensures legal conformity and proper performance.


2. Locations


Determine appropriate locations for wayfinding indicators like paths of travel, stairwells, amenities, direction changes, obstructions, etc., based on standards.


3. Dimensions


Follow specified size criteria for indicatory, like minimum widths for pathway strips, minimum sign heights relative to viewing distance, etc., as per codes.


4. Installation


Ensure proper installation into substrates as per manufacturer instructions using recommended adhesives, anchors, mounts, etc.


5. Visibility


Select optimal wayfinding materials and colors to provide sufficient visual contrast against surroundings for high visibility in both light and dark conditions.


6. Materials


Choose durable, long-lasting photoluminescent materials that withstand high-traffic weather and meet all performance specifications.


7. Maintenance


Follow maintenance schedules like cleaning routines and damage inspections to ensure photoluminescent indicators retain visibility and glow intensity.


Benefits of Photoluminescent Wayfinding


Investing in compliant photoluminescent wayfinding offers key upsides:

  • Enhanced accessibility and safety for those with visual disabilities
  • Compliance with Canadian codes and standards
  • Reliable visibility even in darkness and emergencies
  • Easy integration into built environments
  • Energy efficiency since no electricity is required
  • Lower maintenance than electrical lighting
  • Highly durable and long-lasting materials
  • Customizable wayfinding elements


Photoluminescent Wayfinding Elements


Photoluminescent wayfinding uses various standardized indicators to facilitate navigation:

  • Directional Strips: Outline paths of travel on floors, walls, handrails
  • Stair Nosings: Mark staircase edges for visibility
  • Informational Signage: Room numbers, directions to amenities, etc.
  • Door Frame Markers: Highlight doorways along exit routes
  • Obstruction Markers: Mark protruding objects or hazards
  • Exit Signs: Direct occupants to the nearest exits


By incorporating compliant photoluminescent wayfinding elements, public spaces can be made safer and more accessible for the visually impaired.


Standards for Photoluminescent Wayfinding in Canada


Various Canadian regulations mandate compliant photoluminescent wayfinding solutions:

  • National Building Code of Canada - References needed for accessible design, including wayfinding.
  • CSA B651 - Provides technical specifications for wayfinding walking surface indicators.
  • UL 1994 - Details standards for Luminous Egress Path Marking systems.
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) - Requires accessible public spaces in Ontario.
  • Ontario Building Code - Mandates accessibility provisions for new construction and renovations in Ontario.


Other relevant provincial building codes may also apply based on location. Following applicable standards ensures optimal wayfinding performance and legal conformity.


Maintenance of Photoluminescent Wayfinding


  • With quality installation, photoluminescent wayfinding only needs minimal maintenance:
  • Regular cleaning every 3-6 months using damp microfiber cloths to remove dirt buildup.
  • Avoid abrasive scouring pads or cleaners. Use non-alkaline, non-ammonia-based cleaners if needed.
  • Inspect frequently for damage. Replace sections promptly to avoid accessibility gaps.
  • Test glow visibility and charging weekly. Contact the supplier if issues are noticed.
  • Keep charging light sources like windows, skylights, and overhead lighting clear of obstructions.
  • Proper care will maintain visibility and glow intensity for years.


Photoluminescent Wayfinding from Tactile Solution Canada


Tactile Solutions Canada offers a selection of compliant photoluminescent wayfinding solutions like step edge nosing and running man exit signs from trusted manufacturers like Ecoglo to enhance accessibility. Our offerings are:


  • Tested to CSA, UL 1994, NBC, and provincial code requirements
  • Available in standard and custom sizes and configurations
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Easy installation using recommended techniques
  • Manufactured using patented non-toxic photoluminescent pigments
  • Provide high visibility and long-lasting self-powered illumination


We provide end-to-end support, from product selection and recommendations to post-installation guidance. Contact Tactile Solution Canada today to make your next public project more accessible with energy-efficient, code-compliant photoluminescent wayfinding solutions.




What are some examples of photoluminescent wayfinding indicators?


Common indicators include directional signs, stair edge demarcations, door frame outlines, informational signage, and hazard object markings.


Where are photoluminescent wayfinding indicators required in Canada?


They are mandated in public buildings like transit hubs, offices, malls, healthcare facilities, etc., as per various provincial and national building codes.


How is photoluminescent wayfinding beneficial for people with disabilities?


It provides clear visual guidance in low-light conditions to enable safe navigation for those who have vision disabilities.


How long does the photoluminescent glow last after charging?


With 1 hour of LED ambient light charging, photoluminescent signs and markers will emit over 70 hours of visibility.


What maintenance is needed for photoluminescent wayfinding systems?


Occasional cleaning every few months, damage inspections, glow testing, and light source access maintenance are advised.

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Guide to Using Color Contrast in Tactile Surface Design

26th Sep 2023

In an accessible design, color contrast plays a vital role in enhancing detectability, especially for those with visual impairments. Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) rely heavily on high color contrast to make their textures visually discernible. This allows partially sighted individuals to supplement the tactile cues with visual information.


For architects, contractors, and engineers specifying tactile surfaces, understanding effective color contrast principles is key to creating accessible and compliant installations. This guide will explore the significance of color contrast, guidelines from Canadian standards, and factors to consider when selecting colors for tactile tiles and surfaces.


The Importance of Color Contrast


While tactilely discernible textures form the foundation of accessible design, sufficient color contrast takes detectability to the next level. Color contrast makes tactile surfaces more visible to those with partial sight, allowing them to spot upcoming changes in the walking surface and respond appropriately.


The high color contrast draws people's attention to the tactile surface, whether it is a warning indicator or a directional path. This prompts individuals to be more observant of their surroundings when they detect the shift in visual appearance between the tiles and adjacent surfaces.


For example, bright yellow truncated domes on a sidewalk curve ramp strongly contrast with the grey concrete pavement. This alerts a pedestrian with low vision to assess their surroundings and identify the upcoming transition from sidewalk to street.


By making textures “pop” visually, strong color contrast enhances safety in public realm navigation for all individuals, especially those who rely on multiple senses beyond just touch.


Standards for Tactile Surface Color Contrast


In Canada, recognized standards guide appropriate color contrast for tactile walking surface indicators. These include:

  • CSA B651: States detectable warning surfaces must contrast by at least 70% with adjacent walking surfaces in light reflectance value (LRV) or visual contrast.
  • AODA: Requires at least 70% LRV contrast between surface materials along accessible routes and the surrounding surfaces.
  • ISO 23599: Specifies TWSIs have a light reflectance value of at least 30 points difference from adjoining surfaces.


Additionally, certain colors are designated for specific tactile surface types by convention and best practice, including:

  • Truncated domes: Safety Yellow
  • Directional indicators: Brick red, yellow, black
  • Hazard markings: Safety yellow, black

Factors to Consider for Tactile Surface Color Selection


When choosing colors for a tactile installation, consider the following:


1. LRV Contrast


Pick colors with at least 70% light reflectance value contrast per accessibility standards. Lighter colors against darker substrates provide the most substantial contrast.


2. Color Associations


Stick to standardized colors - like safety yellow for warning domes - that align with universal design conventions.


3. Visibility in Different Lighting


Select colors providing sufficient contrast in daytime and night lighting for maximum discernibility. Light-on-dark often performs better in low light.


4. Surrounding Materials and Finishes


Aim for hues contrasting with adjacent material finishes like concrete, stone, metal, carpet, etc., to make the tactile surface clearly distinguishable.


5. Aesthetic Harmony


Colors should stand out but complement the overall visual cohesion design scheme. Neutrals like grey and beige are easily paired.


6. Functional Environment


In outdoor settings, increased contrast is key for visibility under varied conditions. Indoors, softer contrasts may suffice, depending on context.


7. Size of Installation


Higher contrast is beneficial for smaller installations, whereas larger contiguous tactile surfaces already stand out, requiring less contrast.


8. Standard Availability


Select from colors that are readily available from manufacturers to avoid custom color minimums and long lead times.


Tactile Solutions with Effective Color Contrast


Here are some examples of tactile solutions using color contrasts that enhance accessibility:


Cast Iron Tactile Tiles


These heavy-duty metal tiles come in a bold matte yellow that strikingly contrasts against concrete sidewalks, cinder block walls, asphalt roads, and other common exterior materials. The strong dark-on-light contrast ensures high visibility outdoors.


Advantage Tactile Systems One Plate with Domes


This stainless-steel plate with embedded truncated domes has a stamped textured finish that makes it pop against floor surfaces. The grey metallic color contrasts nicely both indoors and out against materials like tile, terrazzo, concrete, granite, wood, etc.


Detectable Warning Porcelain Tile


For upscale interior installations, these porcelain pavers are available in softer earth tones like cultured grey, vogue black, and sandstone that sufficiently contrast with stone, wood, or neutral floor tiles. The organic hues blend in aesthetically while remaining discernible.


Custom Contrast Tactile Solutions


Many tactile products can be custom color-matched or manufactured using specific polymers or resins on request to achieve the required color contrast against planned surfaces. Consulting manufacturers or suppliers is advised to develop optimal color-contrasted solutions for unique projects.


Standards like CSA B651 also recommend installing a test placement area to check if the specified color contrast meets minimum light reflectance value requirements through on-site verification before full-scale installation.


Using Color Thoughtfully


While maximizing contrast for accessibility, aesthetics and design harmony should not be sacrificed. This balances visibility needs with aesthetic vision. By thoughtfully incorporating contrast and color, tactile surfaces can enhance function without compromising form. The right colors elevate safety intuitively.


Tactile Solutions from Tactile Solution Canada


As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada offers a complete selection of tactile walking surface indicators from leading brands designed to meet all major codes and standards in Canada.


Our extensive range includes detectable warning surfaces, directional guidance tiles, and photoluminescent stair nosings in high-contrast colors created in consultation with accessibility experts.


With a client-focused approach, our team provides guidance at every stage - from initial color selection to onsite quality checks - to deliver compliant tactile installations that are impactful, functional, and harmonious.


To learn more about engineering optimal color contrast for your next project or to view our range of accessible tactile solutions, contact the experts at Tactile Solution Canada today!




What is the minimum color contrast required between tactile surfaces and surroundings?


A light reflectance value (LRV) contrast of at least 70% is recommended per Canadian accessibility standards like the CSA B651.


How does color contrast make tactile surfaces more detectable?


High color contrast enhances the visibility of tactile textures for those with partial sight, allowing for warning indications to be both felt underfoot and seen.


Which colors are typically used for warning tactile and directional tactile surfaces?


Standard colors are safety yellow for warning domes or tiles and brick red, yellow, or black for directional bars or indicators.


Should there be color consistency across different locations?


Yes, colors should conform to universal conventions. For example, yellow domes indicate hazards everywhere. Consistency aids recognition.


How can color contrast be verified on-site?


Conducting test placements and using a color contrast analyzer tool will validate if the contrast meets reflectance value requirements.

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Top Considerations When Planning Tactile Wayfinding in Public Spaces!

26th Sep 2023

Creating accessible and navigable public spaces is a crucial responsibility for urban planners, architects, and building owners. For individuals with visual disabilities, seamlessly orienting and traversing unfamiliar environments poses daily challenges.


Thoughtfully designed tactile wayfinding offers invaluable sensory cues that empower visually impaired citizens to navigate public spaces confidently and independently. As Canada's leading provider of tactile wayfinding solutions, we outline key considerations for planning inclusive tactile wayfinding in public spaces.


Understanding Tactile Wayfinding


Tactile wayfinding refers to the use of standardized textured ground surface indicators that assist pedestrians who are blind or have low vision by providing directional cues and orientation information. These indicators, commonly called wayfinding tiles or tactile guidance paths, contain raised bars, cones, or grooved patterns installed along pedestrian circulation routes.


By using their cane or feet to detect these tactile cues, visually impaired individuals can discern pathways and amenity locations. Tactile wayfinding enables accessible, independent mobility.


The Importance of Public Space Wayfinding


For citizens with visual disabilities, navigating unfamiliar, complex public environments can be daunting. Lack of accessible wayfinding hampers their mobility and prevents equal access to public services and recreational spaces.


Thoughtfully designed tactile wayfinding fosters independence and confidence by providing an intuitive navigation channel. By consulting standards like the CSA B651 and integrating compliant wayfinding tiles in spaces like transit hubs, museums, parks, and malls, planners enable seamless accessibility.


Top Considerations for Public Spaces Tactile Wayfinding


When planning tactile wayfinding systems, consider the following key factors:


Spaces Being Connected


Analyze how key origin and destination points within the public space will be linked via accessible pathways marked by tactile indicators. For example, wayfinding tiles can trace routes from transit station entrances to ticket booths, platforms, and exits.


User Circulation Patterns: 


Observe user movement patterns within the space to determine appropriate wayfinding tile placement and routing. Mark the most logical and accessible routes connecting key user areas.


Compliance with Standards: 


Adhere to relevant provincial and national accessibility standards and building codes, including the AODA and CSA B651, which provide tactile wayfinding specifications.


Consistency Throughout Site: 


Maintain consistency in wayfinding tile color, material, texture pattern, and installation methodology throughout the site for cohesiveness and usability.


Intuitive Orientation: 


Wayfinding tiles should enable intuitive orientation by linking together in a logical layout. Cues for direction changes, such as truncated domes at 90-degree turns, are helpful.


Clear Sight Lines: 


Avoid visual clutter and obstacles along tactile routes. Maintain clear sight lines for individuals using canes to optimize usability.


Connections Between Spaces: 


Seamlessly connect tactile wayfinding paths between indoor and outdoor areas and across changes in elevation using ramps, elevators etc.


Materials Selection: 


Choose wayfinding tiles made of durable, slip-resistant materials suitable for heavy pedestrian traffic. Popular options are vitrified polymer composites, metals, porcelain, and ceramic.


Contrast and Detectability: 


Select tile colors that contrast surrounding surfaces for optimal visibility. Prioritize bright, vibrant colors and lower-glare finishes.




Assess wayfinding tile maintainability, modularity, and replacement requirements. Opt for medium to long lifespans of 10-25+ years.


Acoustic Impact: 


Consider potential underfoot noise from wayfinding tiles. Porcelain, ceramic, and rubber tiles offer quieter alternatives.


Engage Visually Impaired Users: 


Consult Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) representatives and visually impaired citizens to gain feedback on wayfinding design.


Expert Guidance: 


Leverage guidance from accessibility consultants and manufacturers like Tactile Solutions with extensive tactile wayfinding expertise.


Seamless Accessibility for All Canadians: 


By proactively planning tactile wayfinding infrastructure, urban designers and architects can seamlessly transform public spaces to enable accessibility for all citizens, regardless of ability. The considerations above, combined with engagement from visually impaired users and guidance from experts like Tactile Solutions, are key to creating accessible environments.


Some examples of effective public space tactile wayfinding include:


  • Transit Stations: Tactile tiles with bright contrasting colors and parallel bars guide passengers along platforms to boarding zones, ticket counters, information kiosks, etc. Directional domes indicate 90-degree turns towards exits and connecting routes.


  • Museums & Galleries: Grooved rubber tiles trace pathways through expansive gallery spaces, passing key exhibits and amenities. Porcelain tiles with inlaid arrows provide directional cues leading to specific galleries or the lobby/cafe.


  • Parks & Public Squares: Durable exterior-grade tactile tiles with high slip resistance mark safe pedestrian routes across parks, delineating open spaces. Bars, cones, and safety yellow truncated domes indicate rest areas, parking, footbridges, etc.


  • Shopping Malls: Tactile surfaces help shoppers navigate from entrances to shopping aisles, escalators, elevators, and amenities like washrooms, eateries, and customer care.


By consulting accessibility standards and proactively planning tactile wayfinding infrastructure, stakeholders can transform public realm spaces into beacons of accessibility that foster mobility and independence for all citizens.


Tactile Wayfinding Solutions from Tactile Solutions Canada


As Canada's premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solutions partners with urban planners, architects, and property managers to integrate compliant tactile wayfinding systems that make public spaces seamlessly accessible.


Our extensive product range includes industry-leading wayfinding tiles from trusted brands like:

  • Access Tile® Cast-In-Place Wayfinding Bars - Polymer tiles embedded in concrete walkways.
  • Access Tile® Surface Applied Wayfinding Bars - Affix tactile polymer tiles onto existing surfaces
  • Advantage® Tactile Systems Single Bars - Individual stainless steel bars screwed into flooring
  • Armor Tile® Tactile System - Heavy-duty cast-in-place tactile tiles for outdoors
  • Elan® Porcelain Wayfinding Tile - Smooth porcelain tiles with inlaid directional arrows
  • Eon® Tile Rubber Wayfinding Bars - Flexible exterior rubber tiles with bars

Designed for simple installation, weather resistance, and long-lasting performance, our wayfinding products transform public spaces into beacons of accessibility.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What are some examples of public spaces that require tactile wayfinding?


A. Key public spaces that call for compliant tactile wayfinding are transit hubs, civic plazas, shopping malls, parks, sidewalks, entertainment venues, tourism sites, and government/institutional facilities.


Q. How does tactile wayfinding benefit people with vision disabilities?


A.It provides a safe navigation channel for the blind or visually impaired to orient themselves and traverse spaces independently via reliable underfoot cues.


Q. What are the main accessibility standards for public space tactile wayfinding in Canada?

A.The key regulations are the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), CSA B651 Standard on Barrier-Free Design, and various provincial building codes.


Q.How can tactile wayfinding tiles be installed?


A.Tiles can be surface-mounted on existing flooring using adhesive or mechanical fasteners. They can also be embedded into fresh concrete or asphalt for new construction.




Tactile wayfinding infrastructure thoughtfully planned in accordance with leading standards creates accessible and navigable public realm facilities. By consulting experts like Tactile Solutions Canada and engaging visually impaired citizens, urban designers can employ compliant wayfinding tiles to transform public spaces into beacons of accessibility and inclusivity.

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Liability Risks: Why Warning Tactile Code Compliance Matters

26th Sep 2023

In recent years, installing (TWSIs) has become an indispensable part of designing public spaces and facilities in Canada. TWSIs, also known as detectable warning surfaces, are standardized textured ground surfaces that convey critical information to pedestrians through touch and sound cues. They are vital in enhancing accessibility and safety for all users, especially those with visual impairments.


However, even with the growing awareness of TWSIs' importance, many public and private spaces remain non-compliant regarding required tactile installations. This non-adherence poses severe liability risks for property owners, facility managers, contractors, and architects if accidents or injuries occur due to the lack of proper tactile warnings.


This blog explores the importance of tactile code compliance in Canada and outlines key liability risks for stakeholders regarding TWSIs.


The Need for Tactile Code Compliance


In Canada, tactile installation requirements are mandated by various federal, provincial, and municipal regulations, most notably:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Ontario Building Code
  • CSA B651 Standards on Accessible Design
  • Municipal bylaws and accessibility policies

These regulations require TWSIs to be installed in some public regions to warn pedestrians with vision impairments about potential hazards like stairs, curbs, platform edges, intersections, etc. Compliance is crucial from both an ethical and legal standpoint.


By failing to adhere to tactile installation codes, property owners and constructors deny persons with disabilities their right to accessible infrastructure, putting them at risk of accidents. It reflects poorly on an organization’s commitment to inclusivity and universal design.


Key Liability Risks of Non-Compliance


Violating mandated tactile installation codes and standards poses several significant legal risks:


1. Trip and Fall Hazards


Lack of required TWSI installations means hazards like unexpected stairs, curbs, ramps, etc., go undetected. This significantly increases the chances of trip and fall accidents for pedestrians with vision loss. Any resulting injuries can lead to costly litigation and compensation claims against property owners.


2. Code Violation Penalties


Breaching provincial and municipal accessibility legislation can attract heavy fines and penalties. For example, violating the AODA can incur fines of up to $100,000 per day for organizations, plus potential damage suits.


3. Reputational Damage


Legal penalties combined with media coverage of accidents can also lead to substantial reputational damage for owners, negatively impacting property values, leasing, and public perception.


4. Retrofitting Costs


If scandals or accidents occur, there will be eventual costs for retroactive tactile installation and upgrades to become compliant. Taking a proactive approach right from the planning and construction phase is wiser.


How to Reduce Liability Through Compliance?


Here are some tips to ensure tactile code compliance and mitigate risks:

  • Consult regulations like the OBC, AODA Design of Public Spaces Standards, CSA B651, etc., during the design and planning of any public facilities, like malls, parks, transit platforms, etc., to determine the exact tactile installation requirements.
  • Hire consultants who are experts in accessible design and tactile systems to conduct thorough audits and develop a compliance strategy tailored to the project.
  • Select high-quality TWSI products that meet the highest standards from reputable providers like Tactile Solution Canada. Opt for cast-in-place or embedded solutions for maximum durability and safety.
  • Ensure proper installation by certified professionals following the regulations and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Perform routine maintenance checks on installed TWSIs to identify any damage or wear and tear requiring replacement.
  • Provide adequate safety warnings and barricades during maintenance or repair tasks at public facilities so that inaccessible areas don’t lead to accidents.
  • Keep informed about changes or updates to local tactile installation codes and update existing facilities accordingly.
  • Develop a proactive maintenance and replacement schedule for installed TWSIs based on expected wear from foot traffic.


Key Tactile Codes and Standards in Canada


Constructors, designers, and property managers need to be well-versed with Canada’s major tactile compliance codes:


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)


The AODA is a landmark accessibility legislation in Ontario that mandates the installation of TWSIs at public facilities. The Design of Public Spaces Standards under AODA provides detailed technical specifications on required tactile installations at various public spaces like sidewalks, crosswalks, transit platforms, recreational trails, play spaces, etc. It also imposes heavy fines for non-compliance.


Ontario Building Code


The OBC legally governs construction across Ontario. Section 3.8 on barrier-free design prescribes TWSI requirements for buildings, including specifications on types of TWSIs and correct locations for installation like stairs, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, platform edges, etc. It sets the minimum legally required tactile installations.


CSA B651 Standards on Accessible Design


Canada's nationally recognized B651 standard provides comprehensive specifications on TWSIs. It sets optimal technical requirements for tactile surface dimensions, materials, color/tonal contrast, placement locations, etc., for enhanced accessibility. While voluntary, the CSA standard represents industry best practices.


Municipal Codes and Policies


Municipal governments like Toronto also impose bylaws and facility accessibility policies mandating and regulating the installation of TWSIs at public facilities within their jurisdiction. These codes should be consulted for any localized tactile requirements.


Consequences of Legal Action


In recent years, multiple high-profile lawsuits and human rights complaints have been filed against public and private property owners related to the lack of mandated TWSIs leading to accidents and injuries.


Such outcomes illustrate the enormous risk posed by non-compliance with tactile installation codes. Being proactive about the proper tactile application per all relevant regulations can help avoid tragic accidents while demonstrating a solid commitment to creating infrastructure that is accessible and inclusive to all.




What are some common locations that require tactile installation as per Canadian codes?


Some typical locations requiring compliant TWSI application per codes like the AODA, OBC, and CSA B651 are stairs, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, transit platforms, escalators, hotel room balconies, playgrounds, recreational trails, parking lots, food courts, etc.

What happens if a facility is found non-compliant with mandated tactile installation codes?


Consequences include heavy fines of up to $100,000 daily, lawsuits and damage claims by injured persons, orders to retrofit inaccessible facilities, negative publicity, and reputational damage.


Who is responsible for ensuring tactile code compliance?


Liability extends to all parties involved in the design and construction process, including property owners, facility managers, developers, architects, contractors, and construction companies.


What options are available for installing complaint TWSIs?


Typical solutions include metal, durable polymer, rubber, porcelain, or concrete TWSIs installed via surface-mounting, embedding into fresh concrete, replacing existing tiles with compliant tactile tiles, etc.


Stay code-compliant & Accessible


By selecting high-quality tactile products from reputable suppliers like Tactile Solution Canada, having proper installation by trained professionals, and conducting routine maintenance checks and prompt replacement when any wear/damage is detected, facilities in Canada can stay accessible, durable, and code-compliant over time.

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Canadian Disability Statistics: Understanding the Need for Accessible Infrastructure

26th Sep 2023

Canada prides itself on being an inclusive, welcoming, and accessible society for all. However, for over 6 million Canadians living with disabilities, navigating the built environment poses daily challenges. Disability statistics in Canada reveal the pressing need to create more accessible, barrier-free infrastructure and public spaces.


This blog delves into the latest data on Canadians with disabilities and explains how it underscores the importance of investing in accessible design, including tactile guidance systems and hazard warnings. We will also explore how Tactile Solution Canada’s products can equip builders, architects, and property managers to meet accessibility obligations.


Disability in Canada - A Statistical Snapshot


Recent data from Statistics Canada provides insights into the prevalence of disability across the Canadian population:


  • In 2017, 6.2 million (22%) Canadians aged 15 and older had a disability. This represents about 1 in 5 individuals.
  • Women (24%) were more likely than men (20%) to report having a disability.
  • The most common disability types related to pain, flexibility, mobility, and mental health conditions.
  • Among youth aged 15-24 years, mental health disabilities were the most prevalent at 8%.
  • Among working-age adults (25-64 years), 59% of persons with disabilities were employed versus 80% of those without disabilities.
  • Of persons with disabilities not working or in school (ages 25-64 years), 39% or 645,000 individuals had the potential to work.
  • Senior citizens aged 65+ had the highest disability rate at 38%. Age-related visual and mobility impairments were common.


This cross-section of Canadian society faces diverse functional limitations in seeing, hearing, mobility, flexibility, dexterity, pain, learning, mental health, memory, and more. These impede their full participation in society.


Barriers in Public Realms


For persons with disabilities, the design of infrastructure and public spaces frequently poses barriers to accessibility:


  • Perceptual Barriers - Signage, tactile cues, announcements, etc., may not effectively communicate information for those with sensory disabilities.
  • Physical Barriers - Lack of ramps, elevators, accessible routes, etc., impedes entry and mobility within built environments.
  • Attitudinal Barriers - Societal attitudes and assumptions limit opportunities and accessibility for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Technological Barriers - Digital systems, tools, and interfaces often overlook accessibility, excluding persons with disabilities.


Such barriers infringe on rights, isolate citizens, and exclude valuable perspectives. They highlight the need for accessibility-focused design.


Key Data Highlights Need for Accessible Infrastructure


The disability data presents a compelling case for accessibility in Canada:


  • With over 6 million Canadians facing functional limitations, the market need for accessible design is immense. Builders and property managers can tap into this segment.
  • As the population ages, age-related disabilities will rise. Accessibility is key to keeping aging Canadians active, engaged, and independent.
  • With lower employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities versus those without, accessibility can help remove barriers to education and employment.
  • Youth with disabilities need accessible infrastructure to fully participate in social activities, education, sports, recreation, and community life.
  • Women experience higher disability rates in Canada, underlining the need for a gender-conscious approach to accessibility.
  • Disabilities encompass a wide spectrum. Accessible design must address diverse needs, capacities, and requirements.


Mandating Accessibility Nationwide


Federal, provincial, and municipal regulations mandate accessibility and barrier-free design in infrastructure projects across Canada:


  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Ontario Building Code
  • National Building Code of Canada
  • Nova Scotia Accessibility Act
  • Manitoba Accessibility Act
  • CSA Standards on Barrier-Free Design
  • Municipal bylaws


These laws require public spaces and buildings to integrate accessibility features like ramps, wayfinding aids, tactile surfaces, and visual cues.


Tactile Solutions for Accessible Public Realms


As a pioneering provider of tactile solutions in Canada, Tactile Solution partners with builders, architects, and property managers to integrate accessibility into public spaces and building projects.


Our product portfolio includes essential tactile systems like:


  • Access Tile® - Composite polymer tactile tiles ideal for indoor and outdoor use. Available as surface-applied and embedded cast-in-place.
  • Armor Tile® - Heavy-duty tactile tiles withstand harsh weather and hefty loads. Multiple tile options for diverse applications.
  • Advantage® Tiles - Extremely durable stainless steel and cast-iron tactile tiles. Withstand decades of high footfall and vehicles.
  • Eon Tile® - Made with durable and flexible rubber, these tactile systems come in both truncated domes and wayfinding categories.
  • Elan Tile® - These porcelain tactile indicators are stylish and durable at the same time and can be used for interior as well as outer applications.
  • Ecoglo® Photoluminescent Products - Exit signs, stair nosings, and directional signage provide critical visual guidance in emergencies.


These solutions promote accessibility and universal design through:


  • Hazard Warnings - Tactile indicators alert pedestrians to potential dangers like platform edges or busy intersections.
  • Directional Guidance - Tactile wayfinding tiles guide users safely along intended paths through public areas.
  • Visibility - High color/brightness contrast aids visibility for those with low vision.
  • Emergency Egress - Photoluminescent signs illuminate exit routes when lighting fails.


By investing in compliant tactile design, forward-thinking builders and property managers create welcoming environments where all citizens can participate fully.




What are some key accessibility regulations in Canada?


Major regulations mandating accessibility compliance for infrastructure projects include the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), provincial building codes, CSA accessibility standards, and municipal bylaws.


What are some examples of disabilities that impact navigating public spaces?


Disabilities that can impede accessing public realms include vision loss, hearing impairments, mobility limitations requiring wheelchairs or walkers, chronic pain, and cognitive disabilities.


How do tactile solutions enhance accessibility?


Tactile guidance paths and hazard indicators provide critical navigation cues and warnings through touch and visual contrast to pedestrians with vision loss.


Where are tactile walking surface indicators required?


Key locations requiring compliant tactile tiles or pavers are transit platforms, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, building entrances, stairs, parks, and parking areas.


How can Canadian disability data inform investment in accessible infrastructure?


The prevalence of disability across age groups and genders indicates a widespread need for accessibility. This data supports the business case for organizations to invest in inclusive design.


Let's Build an Accessible Canada Together


The need for accessible infrastructure is clear - over 6 million Canadians face barriers when navigating the built environment. Universal design benefits us all.


As Canada works towards its 2040 accessibility goals, organizations like Tactile Solution Canada equip stakeholders with practical solutions to transform spaces. Contact us today to make accessibility a reality.

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Warning Tactile vs Guidance Tactile: What’s the Difference

6th Sep 2023

In public realm design, tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) serve a vital role in enhancing accessibility and safety for pedestrians with vision impairments. TWSIs provide standardized textured ground surfaces that convey essential navigational cues and hazard warnings through the sense of touch.


Two key types of TWSIs exist—warning tactile and guidance tactile. But what exactly sets them apart? In this blog post, we’ll explore the crucial differences between these two indispensable tactile systems.


Understanding Warning Tactile


Also known as attention or hazard tactile indicators, warning tactile signify potential dangers present along the path of travel. Warning tactile typically feature:

  • Truncated domes - Small, flattened dome-shaped bumps arranged in a square or radial pattern
  • High colour contrast - Bright safety yellow or white domes on a dark background
  • Placement at hazards - Located at platform edges, curb ramps, stairs, changing routes, etc.

Warning tactile’s textured pattern alerts pedestrians to stop, assess their surroundings, and proceed with caution. They notify individuals with vision impairments about impending drop-offs, obstacles, or changes in elevation.


Key Applications of Warning Tactiles


Some prime locations where warning tactile provide vital hazard cues include:


Transit Platforms


Warning tactile along the platform edge prevents accidental slips and falls onto the tracks.


Curb Ramps


Warning tiles at transitions from sidewalk to street caution users about the level change.


Building Entrances


Warning tiles mark door thresholds to indicate the change in elevation.




Warning patterns at stair nosings signal upcoming stairs.


Pedestrian Crossings


Warning tactile defines the crossing point before vehicle routes.




Warning tactile forewarn users of moving staircases.


Understanding Guidance Tactiles


Guidance tactile, also called directional or wayfinding tactile, provides orientation cues to guide pedestrians along appropriate circulation routes. Guidance tactile common feature:

  • Parallel bars - Elongated flat-topped bars running in the direction of travel
  • Color contrast - Visually contrasts with surrounding surfaces
  • Placement along paths - Installed along designated pedestrian walkways

The linear bars give pedestrians tactile information about the safe direction of movement and path location. Guidance or tactile wayfinding enables intuitive wayfinding, especially in large open spaces.


Key Applications of Guidance Tactile


Some key locations where guidance tactile direct and orient pedestrians include:


Transit Stations


Guidance tactile directs passengers to platforms, ticket counters, exits, etc.


Public Places


Guidance patterns guide users safely across open plazas and fields.


Office Lobbies


Guidance tactile leads from entrances to reception desks, elevators, and other areas.


Government Buildings


Guidance patterns direct users through sprawling complexes.


Comparison of Warning and Guidance Tactile


Now that we’ve covered both systems independently, let’s examine how warning and guidance tactile differ:



  • Warning tactile caution users about upcoming hazards and dangerous areas.
  • Guidance tactile guides users along designated safe pedestrian circulation paths and spaces.

Typical Configuration

  • Warning tactile commonly employs raised truncated domes in a square pattern.
  • Guidance tactile typically has elongated raised bars running parallel in the direction of travel.


  • Warning tactile is located at platform edges, curb ramps, stairs, pedestrian crossings, etc.
  • Guidance tactile is installed along pedestrian walkways and circulation routes.

Tactile Experience

  • Warning tactile signal caution and the need to assess the surroundings before proceeding.
  • Guidance tactile provides directional orientation cues for intuitive wayfinding.

Color Contrast

  • Warning tactile use bright safety yellow or white for high visibility.
  • Guidance tactile uses colors contrasting with the surroundings but avoids yellow to distinguish from warnings.

Design Guidelines for Tactile Indicators in Canada


When employing TWSIs in public realm design, it’s crucial to follow Canadian accessibility guidelines and regulations. Relevant codes and standards include:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • CSA B651 - Tactile Walking Surface Indicators
  • Ontario Building Code
  • National Building Code of Canada

Key tactile design specifications involve:

  • Material and structural durability
  • Standardized dimensions and patterns
  • Beveled edges
  • High tonal and color contrast
  • Strategic placement to convey the intended tactile message

Compliant tactile not only fulfill legal obligations but also create consistently accessible and interpretable cues that enhance public safety.




What are the main types of tactile surface indicators?


The two main types are warning/attention tactile, that caution about hazards, and guidance/wayfinding tactile, which directs along safe paths.


Where are warning and guidance tactile typically used?


Warning tactile is used at platform edges, curb ramps, apartment/condo buildings, stairs, pedestrian crossings, etc. Guidance tactile is installed along walkways and circulation routes.


Can both types be used together?


Yes, warning and guidance tactile work in tandem. Guidance paths often begin/end with warning tiles indicating upcoming hazards or decision points.


What standards apply to tactile in Canada?


Relevant regulations include the AODA, CSA B651, Ontario Building Code, and National Building Code of Canada.


Let’s Create a More Accessible Environment with Tactile Solution Canada


As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada offers a wide selection of compliant warning and guidance tactile systems from trusted brands like:

  • Armor Tile® Tactile Systems
  • Access Tile® Tactile Systems
  • Advantage® Tactile Systems
  • Eon® Tile Rubber Tactile
  • Elan® Tile Porcelain Tactile


Our tactile products are:

  • Engineered for strength, slip resistance, and heavy foot traffic
  • Customizable with various colors, sizes, and layout options
  • Compliant with all Canadian accessibility codes and standards
  • Backed by 5+ year manufacturer warranties


Let our team of experts recommend the optimal tactile systems for your next public project. Contact Tactile Solution Canada today!

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