Nov. 8, 2023

Publication News | Planning Law and Accessibility: Third Party Permit Appeals by Persons with Disabilities

Article by Professor Stephanie Chipeur published in Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

Professor Stephanie Chipeur has published "Planning Law and Accessibility: Third Party Permit Appeals by Persons with Disabilities" in Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice.

In this article, Stephanie looks at examples from case law to explain why the human rights complaint process is ill-suited to prevent inaccessible design before it is constructed. The law currently requires the complainant to wait until the physical barrier exists. Since permits are issued on the basis of plans and inspections by the municipality, the design features are knowable but also in flux, which makes the permitting stage well-suited for making design changes in favour of accessibility. The permit appeal process is the only way for people with disabilities and their allies to enforce accessibility before construction is completed. This type of appeal is already in use by disgruntled neighbours who simply do not want to live near a proposed development (known colloquially as “NIMBYism”). It has also been used by litigants that identify as public interest groups for the purpose of blocking projects on environmental grounds. Considerations about accessibility design features are already being litigated in NIMBY cases and so persons with disabilities have much at stake in this area of law.