N.S. Human Rights Commission holds inquiry to examine restaurant washroom access

A group of people with physical disabilities is challenging the Nova Scotia government over what it says is a failure to enforce a regulation requiring restaurants to have accessible bathrooms.

Under Nova Scotia's Health Protection Act, food establishments must have washrooms available for the public in a ``convenient location.''

A Human Rights Commission board of inquiry is set to begin Thursday to determine what a ``convenient location'' means.

Warren Reed, one of the complainants, says restaurant washrooms are sometimes in places that aren't convenient for people with disabilities, with some establishments keeping their washrooms down a set of stairs in a building that doesn't have an elevator.

Reed says summer patios in Nova Scotia need to meet accessibility standards, and he feels there's no point in having an accessible patio without accessible washrooms.

Fellow complainant Paul Vienneau says being able to wash your hands or use the bathroom is a basic human right.