Inclusive Washrooms – A Solution Through Signage

November 2, 2016


Understanding the impact of signage on those who access public services, Entro has long been involved in ensuring solutions are widely accessible and inclusive. As there are individuals and groups, such as members of the LGBTQ community, who may not conform to conventional gender norms, part of this inclusivity includes accommodations of rights to gender identity and expression.

Universal washrooms – a popular topic of late – provide an opportunity for various organizations as well as the design industry to review associated signage to ensure they are meeting the needs of a wider community. Universal washrooms exist in two scenarios – single-use washrooms containing a single toilet and sink in a lockable room, and multi-use facilities with individual enclosed toilet stalls that share a common sink area.

Entro recently assisted the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) to create a new standard for signage in healthcare facilities, part of which involved appropriate signage for universal washrooms. Assisting with this standard allowed us to see the valuable opportunities for public discourse and education on inclusivity and acceptance. It is this context that formed the impetus for a paper that explores and recommends the correct approach to universal washrooms.

Entro’s recommendations and guiding principles for universal washrooms were written in collaboration with our industry partners, clients, and Marni Panas, a recognized diversity and inclusion advocate for LGBT+ issues in Alberta. The paper can be accessed here.