ADA Compliant Signs

Before we can even tackle whether or not there are signs equivalent to our ADA compliant signs in other countries, let us first find out if there are laws that are similar to the ADA enforced elsewhere in the world. Are other countries as concerned about the rights of the disabled as the US is? If they are, what laws and rules have they put in place to assure such rights are given to them?

As of the moment, a few countries already have such accessibility guidelines and disability laws in place. Australia, for example, has the DDA or Disability Discrimination Act which has been active since 1993. In Canada, there is no separate law for disabled persons, but they have integrated the rights of disabled individuals into their general Human Rights Act.

A lot of other countries actually do have something similar to the ADA in place in order to give people with disabilities not just access to accessibility options, but also to basic human rights. The UN has the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or the CRPD in place. This is a treaty that binds signatory countries to a responsibility to provide people with disabilities with equal rights as people without disabilities.

This particular convention has been signed by more than 140 countries and of that number, 65 have ratified it. This means that these 65 countries are now legally bound to the CRPD and should enforce this as best they can. This includes providing people with disabilities the inalienable right to accessible public accommodations as well as public transit, among others.

While the ADA has been around for some time now, this particular convention has only been entered into force (or enforced for countries that have ratified this convention) in 2008, although this convention first came into being in the 1970s. The work of putting together the details of this convention picked up its pace in the early 2000s, with 81 countries signing it in 2007. So far, the convention is well on its way to becoming international law.

Should this convention become international law, countries that are not signatories, and those who are but have not ratified the convention yet, will be asked to follow the rules of this law. This will mean that people with disabilities everywhere will be given the same rights as Americans do with the ADA. This will also mean the enforcement of accessibility guidelines such as ramps, disabled parking spots and ADA compliant signs (or their equivalent).