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Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to hold inquiry into restaurant washroom access

Warren Reid, a complainant, says summer patios in Nova Scotia need to meet accessibility standards, and he feels there's no point in having an accessible patio without accessible washrooms.
Warren Reid, a complainant, says summer patios in Nova Scotia need to meet accessibility standards, and he feels there's no point in having an accessible patio without accessible washrooms. File/ Global News

A group of people with physical disabilities is challenging the Nova Scotia government over what it says is a failure to enforce a regulation requiring restaurants to have accessible bathrooms.

Under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act, food establishments must have washrooms available for the public in a “convenient location.”

READ MORE: Justice orders N.S. Human Rights Commission to accept accessibility complaint

A Human Rights Commission board of inquiry is set to begin Thursday to determine what a “convenient location” means.

Warren Reed, one of the complainants, says restaurant washrooms are sometimes in places that aren’t convenient for people with disabilities, with some establishments keeping their washrooms down a set of stairs in a building that doesn’t have an elevator.

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Reed says summer patios in Nova Scotia need to meet accessibility standards, and he feels there’s no point in having an accessible patio without accessible washrooms.

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Fellow complainant Paul Vienneau says being able to wash your hands or use the bathroom is a basic human right.