BCIT‘s Accessible Washroom Project aimed at inclusivity

Graham Cox / November 20, 2018

One of the single-stalled facilities that has seen a sign change at BCIT
(Graham Cox / BCIT News)

Over the last few years, more universities across Canada have started to take initiatives towards embracing gender diversity. At the British Columbia Institute for Technology, one of the steps they have taken is through the ‘Accessible Washroom Project.’ The program, setup by the BCIT Student Association, has changed the signs on a series of single-stalled washrooms around campus, outlined on this map.

According to the BCITSA website, the change removed “the gender binary from washrooms and in doing so help to comply with BCIT’s commitment to the values of inclusivity, fairness, and the duty to accommodate.”

Some members of the BCIT student body were positive about the initiative.

“I’m all for it. It speaks for itself, times are changing.” – Furat Abi

The BCITSA said the project was in response to asks from the BCIT community, but other universities have been more proactive in their approach.

Rachael Sullivan, Equity Facilitator at The University of British Columbia, stated that their department has been continually looking at opportunities on how to be more inclusive over the past several years. She says that along with changing signs to represent what is available in a bathroom, not defining who should use it, the university has added universal change rooms and single-stall facilities attached to communal sink areas.

Sullivan said the feedback from the UBC community has been positive.

“There is better awareness now and it’s great. I have had many great conversations with people across campus wanting to ensure that students, staff and faculty members have access to the washroom that meets their needs.” – Rachael Sullivan

Although UBC has taken several steps towards gender diversity, Sullivan said there are still opportunities to do more, particularly in highlighting facilities like commuter showers.

“I think refining our mapping is an area that is within our scope in order to ensure that we are providing people with the most up-to-date information.” – Rachael Sullivan

Sullivan also added that due to increasing awareness, UBC has made