Some of these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are taken from the StopGap Foundation website.
1. Is it safe to have a ramp like this?
Yes. The ramps are custom designed to fit the height of your step. They are made of wood, are lightweight, treated with high-grade exterior paint with a non-slip additive, and come with two rope handles so they can be easily transported. An average sized ramp weighs around 30lbs. Our ramps are made to have a 1:6 rise to run slope ratio, so for every 1” of step height the ramp design length increases by 6”. Our design has gone through years of trial and error and results in a ramp that most find easy to manage and use.
2. Are we legally allowed to put this ramp in front of our business?
Yes. This is a portable ramp, and as such, you do not need a permit as you would for a fixed ramp. The ramp is not intended to be a permanent implement, and should only be used when required. When in use, the ramp should be level and flush against the step with no gaps present. When the ramp is not in use, it should be stored in a safe location. Business owners take on the responsibility and any risk associated with using the ramp, they sign a waiver agreeing to use it on a request basis. StopGap will provide you with a small window sign so that anyone requiring the ramp will know that you have one available, and they can request it. Similarly, business owners agree to not leave it out on the sidewalk in front of their storefront when not being used under their supervision.
3. Do StopGap ramps meet the building code requirements where they are installed?
The ramp is not intended to be a permanent implement, and should only be used when required. When in use, the ramp should be level and flush against the step with no gaps present. When the ramp is not in use, it should be stored in a safe location. A temporary ramp need not adhere to building code as it is not a permanent structure, it is simply a device. As such, a deployable ramp does not need a building permit or variance, should it be used as described.
4. Who is legally responsible for the ramps once they are implemented?
The business owner or manager who agrees to sign our Liability Waiver, Assumption of Risk and Indemnity, which is used for current participants and/or new businesses at participating locations.
5. In relation to the AODA legislation is it not the responsibility of the location owner to implement new ramps under the Build Environment standards?
The tagline that one reads related to the AODA is “A fully barrier-free Ontario by 2025”. Unfortunately, this tagline is misleading as only public buildings (schools, community centres, government buildings, etc.) and privately owned commercial/retail buildings that are undergoing major renovations (as defined in the Ontario Building Code) need to be barrier-free (without imposing undue financial hardship). StopGap Foundation’s programs have been successful in supporting this ambitious and important goal. Through highlighting our human right to equal access (which overrules AODA, building codes, and municipal bylaws) our brightly painted deployable access ramps support “mom and pop” businesses and private building owners who are interested in removing barriers to access, increasing their customer base, increasing quality of life, and helping people reach their full potential.
6. Is it still worth getting a ramp if the bathroom is not accessible?
Yes! Absolutely! We recommend that a business owner make all info regarding accessibility available somewhere (website, FB, etc.) so that whoever is inquiring can easily get the answers they need and be informed. The important thing with this issue is to simply allow someone access into the space. If a washroom or countertop is not accessible, then access to the proper information will allow those people in need of such amenities the opportunity to plan their visit to the venue accordingly.
7. How can I prolong the life of my ramp?
While your ramp has been built with durable materials and finishes, you can extend the life of your ramp by not leaving it outdoors for prolonged periods, especially during poor weather. This also helps avoid theft or snow plow collisions!
8. How can I promote to my customers/clients that I have a ramp?
Help attract customers by adding accessibility information to your website, social media page, and other listings, such as Google Maps or Yelp.