1. Is it safe to have a ramp like this?

Our standard ramps are custom designed to fit step heights between 2” and 9”. They are made of wood and an average-sized ramp for a 6” step height weighs around 30 lbs. The ramps are treated with high-grade exterior paint with a non-slip additive and come with two rope handles so they can be easily transported. 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 comfortable to deploy and use.

2. Are we legally allowed to put this ramp in front of our business?

That depends on the local bylaws, ordinances, building codes and other laws in your community, which we encourage you to review. In our experience (in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario), since this is a portable ramp, you do not need a permit as you typically would for a fixed ramp.

The ramp is not intended to be a permanent fixture 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.

Anyone acquiring a StopGap ramp enters into an agreement with StopGap that clearly states that they take on the responsibility and any risk associated with using the ramp. Similarly, the agreement states that the ramps are not to be left out on the sidewalk in front of a storefront when not being used under supervision. StopGap can provide business owners with a small window sign so that anyone requiring the ramp will know that there is one available and that it can be requested for use.

3. Do StopGap ramps meet the building code requirements where they are installed?

The ramp is not intended to be a permanent fixture 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.

While you will need to review the local bylaws, ordinances, building codes and other laws in your community, in our experience (in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario), a temporary ramp typically does not need to adhere to building codes as it is not a permanent structure; it is simply a device.

4. Who is legally responsible for the ramps once they are implemented?

Anyone acquiring a StopGap ramp enters into an agreement with StopGap that clearly states that they take on the responsibility and any risk associated with using the ramp.

5. How much does a ramp cost?

Our standard ramps cost between $300 to $460 and our CafeTO curb ramps cost between $465 to $660. There may be additional charges depending on the delivery preference selected. Visit the Ramps on Request section of the website for more information or to submit a ramp request and we’ll get back to you with a quote!

6. Can I get a charitable tax receipt for my donation?

You bet, StopGap Foundation is a registered charity!

Interested in making a donation? Thanks for offering your support! Visit our secure online donation page to make a contribution! Know that your donation will be put to good use furthering our awareness-raising messages across Canada.

7. Can I get a custom colour?

We offer four standard colours – vibrant red, yellow, green, and blue. At this time, we are not able to offer other custom colours.

8. When can I expect to receive my ramp?

You can expect to receive your ramp within 4-6 weeks after you have completed payment for your order. This range of 4-6 weeks is because we wait for multiple ramp orders before sending a build list to our contractor – this is the most efficient use of our contractor’s time and of building materials. We’re a very small team working hard to get more ramps to more steps, so please bear with us!

9. 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, social media, storefront window, AccessNow app, 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 to 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.

10. What about multi-stepped entryways and permanent ramps?

Multi-stepped conditions and permanent building code compliant ramps are outside the scope of our operations. Depending on your location, we may be able to connect you with a supplier of a suitable product or a local builder. Please send a photo showing the entire entryway to info@stopgap.ca, and we’ll help as best we can!

11. What else can I do to remove barriers?

Here’s a list of some simple, low- to no-cost options to help make your business or building more accessible:

  • Information is essential. Having access to accessibility information about a building, venue, or business is incredibly helpful for many people who have access needs. From parents with strollers to wheelchair users, knowing that a business has a washroom in the basement beforehand, for example, allows people the opportunity to plan ahead. So, put accessibility information about your business on your website, and consider uploading accessibility information to the AccessNow app. Both of these options only cost the time it takes to pull together the information.
  • Provide an alternative entry (when possible). Perhaps your main entrance doesn’t allow for a deployable ramp and a full-out renovation is in the queue, but not for a while. In this case, consider making an existing alternate entryway available for those that need it. Ensure a well-lit and clear path of travel to access the entryway, if in a back alley for example.
  • Automatic doors. An automatic door makes life easier for everyone. Ever tried navigating a doorway with a stroller or with your hands full of groceries? Touchless sensor door activators certainly proved their worth during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when we all learned more about how viruses are transmitted. Installing automatic doors can be expensive upfront (they typically cost around $4,000), but they are worth considering for long-term business success and customer satisfaction. If that’s not feasible now, adding a doorbell enables customers to get a hold of someone inside to assist them in accessing the space. You can pick up an easy-to-install wireless doorbell at most hardware stores for $20-$40.
  • Barrier-free pathways and aisles. Ensure clear, obstacle-free paths to key areas for all customers. This not only promotes safety but also enhances accessibility, leading to a more enjoyable and longer-lasting customer experience.
  • Accessible washrooms. Yup, washrooms can be expensive to retrofit, especially if they are currently located in the basement of a building. However, there’s a no-cost solution that also creates an opportunity to bring members of your business community together on this barrier-removing journey! If you don’t have an accessible washroom, or until you retrofit your current one, consider partnering with a neighbouring business that has one. Make this known on your website and the AccessNow app and, voila, you’ll have made life easier for so many people!
  • Item placement. Whenever possible, have items within the sightline of customers in a seated position and within reach. For items displayed or stored in higher-to-reach places, consider having examples available at lower heights. Also, ensure staff are trained to offer support to anyone who might need it.
  • Portable debit machines or extendable cords. We believe a wireless or long-corded reader makes transactions easier for everyone.
  • Consider the digital world. Barriers can present themselves in many ways. Much like a step preventing many people from accessing a building, content available on the internet might be difficult to access for someone with a disability. The goal of web accessibility and WCAG guidelines is to establish inclusive access to information for everyone. Web accessibility principles include: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. You can learn more about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by booking a free consultation with our friends at Hey Nova here.
  • Attitudes. We all have unique and equally valuable lived experiences and deep inside we all want the best for each other – it’s a part of human nature. Unconscious bias is also a part of human nature. You may not have lived experience with disability, you may not be the expert. Know that it’s okay to not know. We’re all on a life-long learning journey, and we each show up with our own level of understanding and exposure to people with different lived experiences – that’s fantastic. With openness, honesty, and vulnerability we can build understanding, empathy, harmony, connection, and togetherness in our communities.
  • Language. You may have found yourself not knowing what to say or what words to use when speaking to or referring to someone with a disability – that’s understandable. Disability-related terminology and language is constantly evolving and it’s up to all of us to stay informed. By choosing to use empowering language we can begin to remove barriers right now. AND, language is personal. One size definitely does not fit all. While one person may prefer to be identified as “a person with a disability”, known as person-first language, another may prefer to be identified as “a disabled person”, known as identity-first language. It’s important not to assume one or the other. Set aside any assumptions and if the nature of a connection develops to a certain depth, we can respectfully ask what someone’s preference is. Watch Power of Inclusive Language – a great recording of a webinar hosted by The Rick Hansen Foundation featuring people with disabilities discussing empowering language use – enjoy!