Illustration showing difficulty in walking from vehicle to destination

Limited Mobility and Accessibility

sponsored by the Hidden Mobility Disabilities Alliance

This website reports the results of a 24-month research project (funded by Accessibility Standards Canada) to determine the accessibility barriers for those with limited mobility. It specifically focused on barriers in the design and delivery of in-person federal programs and services. The research documented that 13 percent of Canadians 15 or older struggle with limited mobility. Further, accessibility standards have been designed for those using wheeled mobility devices, not for those who can walk but only 15 meters without needing to sit and rest.

Because the built environment typically does not offer frequent opportunities to sit and rest, many with limited mobility simply stay home rather than risk the negative health consequences of having to walk too far, such as:

  • Increased joint pain and muscle spasms.
  • Increased difficulty breathing.
  • Walking more and more slowly until almost not moving.
  • Beginning to stagger and lose balance.
  • Becoming immobilized by pain.
  • Having trouble walking at all the next day.

Limited mobility — the ability to walk only short distances or stand unsupported for only a brief time without significant health consequences — is truly invisible.

For those with limited mobility, distance to be walked and time standing unsupported are the primary barriers to accessing federal programs and services. The primary consequences are participation restriction, or social isolation, and the stress of dependence on others and continual self-advocacy.

This website contains a summary of the main results: