chapter 1


Accessibility ensures that everyone can participate in cultural life on their own terms. Accessibility entails such considerations as the design of spaces, how publics are received and served, the location of cultural venues, the economic and logistical conditions of participation, and communication strategies.

To implement this article, it is necessary to :  Integrate universal accessibility into the strategic thinking and planning of cultural organizations.

Which can mean :

  • Provide accommodation services, for example places reserved for persons in wheelchairs, mobility assistance, assistive listening device systems for the hard of hearing, literature available in Braille, or videos in Quebec Sign Language, a service via telephone, and so forth.

    - Examples of accommodation services : BAnQ, Place des Arts

    OPHQ Guide

  • Set up a way to provide feedback on one’s   experience, such as a service for complaints that is receptive and sensitive to the issues, in order to remain attentive  and allow services to be accommodating on an ongoing basis.

  • Explicitly commit to work towards universal accessibility in collaboration with organizations seeking the same goal, and take on the position as an ambassador on matters of accessibility before politicians, the media and other people in positions of power towards a collective awareness of the issues.

  • Develop and integrate practical tools to promote appropriate responses from the institution (practical guide on universal accessibility, accessibility checklist, summary sheet  of practical information, etc.)

AccessibilitY TO CULTURAL SpaceS  


Accessibility involves spaces that guarantee the mobility, comfort and autonomy of participants (publics, artists and staff). While no venue will be ideal, it is still necessary to continually improve cultural spaces and recognize the barriers identified by those who encounter them. In this regard:


Adaptation, training and awareness-raising strategies and mechanisms must be implemented to ensure attentive and continually improving management of the issues of accessibility to cultural spaces.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Train and raise awareness amongst the teams involved in the design and management of cultural venues on accessibility issues.

Which can mean :

  • Make tools available to teams and the public: technical handouts, floor plans, literature addressed to the public, information on accommodations available, etc.

  • Use awareness-raising activities amongst the teams, such exploratory walks with people experiencing barriers related to accessibility or mediation meetings when complaints are filed.


The planning and integration of universal accessibility standards must guarantee everyone equivalent use and enjoyment, particularly in terms of mobility, architecture and experience.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Review the existing standards and integrate universally accessible standards in all development projects.

Which can mean :

  • Incorporate strict universal accessibility standards,at the heart of all future infrastructure projects or modification projects, in order to ensure a barrier free  design and path at the core of the organization.

  • Entrust someone in a leadership position take on the responsibility of handling matters related to universal accessibility, someone who can consider the   financing  and necessary modifications beforehand, and ensure they are addressed accordingly

  • Centralize the accommodation services offered in order to have a dedicated team, equipped and trained to take charge of matters.


Cultural spaces should be developed and modified to offer safe spaces for everyone, including optimal comfort and adapted resources, notably with respect to directions, signage, furniture and ambience (luminosity, temperature, cleanliness, sound volume and air quality).

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Arrange the layout of cultural spaces according to universal accessibility standards and user-friendliness. 

Which can mean :

  • Layout of  signage in a way that  allows for easy orientation of one’s self on the premise, such as tactile warning strips for persons who are blind or visually impaired, maps of the premises, pictograms, or clearly visible seat numbers in auditoriums. 

  • Ensure good lighting in the reception area, and in the rooms, in order to allow the public to settle in, to familiarize themselves with the documents provided, as well as the premises. 

  • Set up various pieces of furniture to accommodate different needs (adjustable seats, ramps, elevators, chairs, etc.)

  • Provide suitable reception areas where it is possible to sit down, especially for the elderly people with reduced mobility.

  • Make washrooms accessible and gender-neutral, possible to use without authorization, nor a key.

  • Offer  relaxed performances where schedules, the pace of the reception, the sound effects, the lighting, and the expectations are reviewed to make the show accessible to persons living with different conditions  (chronic pains, hypersensitivity, autism, neurodivergent, developmental disabilities, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, etc.) making them more sensitive to these elements.

AccessibilitY TO RECEPTION 

13. PRINCIPLE Accessibility calls for reception approaches that accommodate the full diversity of publics. In this regard:
14. APPROACHStaff and volunteers must be sensitized and trained as to the realities and needs of their publics in order to contend with associated prejudices and obstacles.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Roll out a strategy for ongoing training, awareness, and accountability of the organization to the realities and needs of the public. 

Which can mean :

15. APPROACHStaff and volunteers must adopt attitudes based on equality, open-mindedness, empathy and kindness. They must also encourage the same attitudes in publics with different sensibilities.

To implement this article, it is necessary to :

Provide guidance and equip human resources to be able to set up a human reception structure, available and aware of the challenges of universal accessibility.

Which can mean :

16. APPROACHThe general public must be informed about prevailing rules and codes within cultural institutions and organizations in order to avoid misunderstandings and encourage the harmonious coexistence of all kinds of human diversity.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Set up accommodating and informative reception service resources

Which can mean :

17. APPROACHThe general public must have access to tools for understanding the various artistic forms that exist in cultural institutions and organizations.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Prepare the public for a cultural and artistic experience during the welcome.

Which can mean :

Cultural institutions and organizations must give members of the public the opportunity to express a particular need at any time.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Put into place learning mechanisms around the service experience

Which can mean :

  • Collect data on the public’s experience with the vision for ongoing improvement, especially using digital tools (website, dedicated email address, contact information online for a person, etc.), and for direct contact (phone number, person available on location, suggestion box, etc.)

  • Make members of the welcome team available to meet the needs of the public or provide guidance to them.

  • Offer the possibility to submit feedback anonymously if desired, and to listen, and be receptive to the feedback.


19. PRINCIPLE Accessibility involves strategies that recognize socioeconomic inequalities and actively respond to them by adapting cultural programming accordingly. In this regard:
20. APPROACHAdmission prices and other related costs must facilitate full public participation, particularly through appropriate measures such as a range of prices that takes real economic inequalities into account. 

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Develop various approaches for the pricing system which promotes accessibility to the cultural activities offered.

Which can mean :

  • Adhering to the assistance programs, such as the  Companion Leisure Card (CLC), allowing a person with a disability to be accompanied free of charge, by a personal attendant, in order to have the necessary support to participate with dignity, and equally.

  • Establish fair pricing and flat fees adjusted to different groups of the general public (for example: modified pricing for children, the elderly, or families, set prices for persons with low-income, etc.)

  • Include in the price of the ticket any service that may be necessary (for example, coat check, access to documentation, audio guides, etc.)

  • Propose a free of charge and accessible offer allowing for the arts to be discovered and appreciated, for example invitations to community groups, a program allowing children from low-income areas to participate, hosting classics open-air at neighbourhood parks, activities free of charge in public spaces, etc.

  • Make unsold seats available, through “last minute tickets”, offered either at reduced prices to low-income people or free of charge to community organizations.

  • Establish pricing for theaters or halls offering a wider range of prices, including more seats at reduced prices
    Example of pricing range : 
    Opéra de Montréal

  • Mobilize various philanthropic strategies in order to collect the necessary resources to set up free or low-cost accessibility programs : fundraising, setting up a dedicated internal foundation, influential work, etc.

21. APPROACHProgramming schedules must factor in personal and occupational realities and constraints, primarily by offering a range of scheduling formats.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Synchronize cultural organizations to the different rhythms of the public. 

Which can mean :

22. APPROACHCultural venues must offer and promote appropriate tools, spaces and services to accommodate the diversity of their publics’ specific needs, especially when these needs accentuate socioeconomic constraints.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Develop partnerships and collaborate with community environments to explore how to offer more accessible cultural activities.

Which can mean :

  • Offer set tailored services that meet specific needs, are communicated in a clear and appropriate manner and are developed in collaboration with community groups directly affected.

  • Make a percentage of the tickets available to social groups of low-income, through specific organizations giving out tickets and allowing for them to be used as intervention tools.

  • Establish an invitation system with educational and community organizations, so that cultural experiences serve as educational opportunities, rotating among invited organizations so that as many people as possible can take advantage of them.

  • Create a common interface (electronic kiosk, socio-professional networks, consultation spaces, etc.) between cultural institutions and community organizations in order to better meet each other's needs.


23. PRINCIPLE Accessibility involves strategies to offset geographic divisions and territorial disparities. In this regard:
24. APPROACHCultural programming must be diversified and be available in expanded and heterogeneous social spaces, primarily by offering activities away from already-privileged neighbourhoods and cities.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Recommend and promote local and accommodating cultural programs, set out in a close proximity of living environments and cultural venues, for example in boroughs and neighborhoods.

Which can mean :

  • Moving artistic programming towards the people, by proposing events held locally within the living environment, on the borders of neighbourhoods where the cultural activities are already concentrated.

  • Experiment with mobile art projects, e.g. a travelling theater in parks, a library on wheels, a rotating exhibition, etc.

  • Carry out tours in the  districts and  regions less served by the cultural programs, on a recurring or occasional basis, in order to make programs accessible to a geographically more distant public.

  • Develop a partnership network of regional contacts, including, for example, regional concert halls or local art or archive centres, which can serve as complementary venues.

  • Support and collaborate with independent and accessible theatres already existing in living environments, especially by developing collaborations with these places and the networks of which they are part with the aim of strengthening and decentralizing the production and dissemination of culture in the area.

  • Develop promotional campaigns outside of the neighbourhoods or regions mainly inhabited by the organization's traditional audiences.

25. APPROACHDigital or remote services and their interfaces must be carefully conceived and continually evolve in order to facilitate universal usage, particularly through the adoption and implementation of web accessibility standards.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Offer remote or digital services, while ensuring that the use of these services is as simple as possible (ticket purchase, information requests, etc.).

Which can mean :

26. APPROACHPublic transit services to cultural venues must be thoughtfully planned, promoted and developed to facilitate the identification, planning and use of urban or regional routes, thereby addressing any shortcomings, including the specific requirements of adapted and universally accessible transportation.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Improve access to transportation to ensure equal and equitable access to cultural organizations. 

Which can mean :

  • Put in place logistics tailored to the challenges of transportation, including, for example, dedicated staff in charge, clear signage, a schedule of start and end of events to facilitate coordination, etc. 

  • Regularly update the transportation information available on the website.

  • Offer training to teams and information to the public about  paratransit, and maintain a monitoring system to remain attentive to the needs in this regard, and to make the necessary adjustments to the use of this type of transportation.

  • Promote access to, and use of public transit, for example by establishing collaborations or partnership agreements with public transit, paratransit or school transportation services to support access to organizations and facilitate travel for their riders.

  • Centralize and systematize the space dedicated to the reception area for paratransit and standardize related practices, including a waiting area with a view of the loading dock and clear signage.

cOMMUNICATION AccessibilitY             

27. PRINCIPLE Accessibility involves communication strategies that take into consideration inequalities of access due to various communication constraints (in terms of languages, information dissemination channels, prior knowledge, etc.). In this regard:
28. APPROACHCultural institutions and organizations must strive to be comprehensible, open, inclusive and universally accessible in terms of their most important communications strategies and tools, in all forms (written, visual and audio).

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Communicate the information in universally accessible way.

Which can mean :

29. APPROACHPractical information (locations, times, rules, etc.) must be communicated to the various publics in a way that is precise and systematically accessible for everyone, particularly through accessible websites, information, communication, signage and translation tools, including LSQ (Quebec sign language).

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Promote, disseminate and apply good practices in terms of accessibility in the cultural setting.

Which can mean :

30. APPROACHWarnings about the presence of fundamentally sensitive content (physical violence, psychological violence, death, etc.) or potentially disturbing technical effects (stroboscopic lighting, sustained darkness,etc.) must be universally accessible.

To implement this article, it is necessary to : Adequately prepare the public/audience for a cultural experience, before even arriving on location.

Which can mean :