This Quebec MNA wants all riding offices to be wheelchair-accessible

Québec Solidaire MNA Sol Zanetti has submitted a letter to Quebec's National Assembly, asking it to amend the rules for riding offices, making it obligatory that they all be accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Sol Zanetti sent letter to National Assembly, asking it to make accessibility mandatory in riding offices

Quebec Solidaire MNA Sol Zanetti sent a letter to the National Assembly, asking that it create a rule stating all riding offices must be wheelchair-accessible. (Daniel Coulombe/Radio-Canada)

Quebec Solidaire MNA Sol Zanetti wants wheelchair access to be mandatory in all riding offices in the province. 

On Tuesday, Zanetti submitted a letter to Quebec's National Assembly, asking it to amend the rules for riding offices, making it obligatory that they all be accessible to people in wheelchairs.

"We asked that there be an obligation for MNAs to make their offices accessible to everybody,"  said Zanetti, who represents the riding of Jean-Lesage in Quebec City's Limoilou and Montmorency neighbourhoods.

Zanetti told CBC News he was surprised to learn that there wasn't already any stipulation of the sort. 

"Someone who has a wheelchair, for example, and shows up to their MNA's office, but there's no ramp, no elevator — it's as if there was no door for them," he said. 

"It doesn't make sense. It's unacceptable."

Zanetti renovated office bathroom

In his letter, Zanetti said he had the bathroom in his riding office renovated so that it could accommodate people with mobility issues. 

He says he doesn't believe he should have had to use his office's own budget to pay for the renovations. He's asking the National Assembly to put a budget aside for MNAs to upgrade their offices to make them accessible to people with disabilities. 

Linda Gauthier, the head of the Regroupement activistes pour l'inclusion Québec (RAPLIQ), a coalition of disability rights groups, did her own research a few years ago. 

Linda Gauthier says at least 20 Quebec riding offices can't accommodate constituents in wheelchairs. (CBC)

Gauthier contacted every riding office in Quebec and asked if it had wheelchair access. She says at least 20 of them didn't. 

"It's their last priority," she told CBC News. She said she's happy to see Zanetti's initiative but wishes the National Assembly had done something before that.  

The office the manages the National Assembly says it's working to make an inventory of publicly owned buildings that aren't accessible to people with mobility issues. 

It says it will submit an update and possible solutions in the coming months. 

With files from Brian Lapuz and Radio-Canada


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