Recreational Trail Accessibility Audit and Strategy

Oakville welcomes people of all abilities.

We're committed to providing accessible programs, services and facilities to advance our vision to be the most livable town in Canada.

Oakville is also committed to developing and supporting an accessible recreational trail system as outlined in the town’s Design of Public Spaces Standard Procedure and in accordance with the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). 

The development of the Recreational Trail Accessibility Audit and Strategy (RTASS) has identified opportunities to enhance accessibility across Oakville’s trail system.


The Recreational Trail Accessibility Audit and Strategy provides a framework for improvements to town facilities and services and outlines the findings of a completed study which:

  • Inventories and assesses the current condition of 240 kilometers of trails and amenities;
  • Provides an update to local design standards to ensure they meet or exceed applicable regulations and standards;
  • Develops a prioritization of trail improvements to address health and safety risks;
  • Develops a rehabilitation strategy, aimed at redeveloping existing trails to help eliminate physical barriers and enhance the user experience; and
  • Develops a recreational trail sign strategy that meets the requirements of the AODA.

The findings of the study support the town's ongoing work to support a diverse and extensive trail network. Many of the report recommendations are to support and develop existing practices and initiatives.  A few of examples include:

  • Continuing to update our comprehensive trail mapping and database;
  • Continuing to monitor and maintain the existing recreational trail system network;
  • Ensuring trails meet or exceed recognized standards;
  • Continuing to meet with the Accessibility Advisory Committee; and
  • Engaging the public for future decision making

The town also strives to foster an inclusive community where everyone has equal access to the town’s services, programs and facilities in a way that is integrated and promotes dignity and independence. The RTAAS delivers a means of implementation that is practical, fiscally responsible and outlines goals that are measurable. These goals can be achieved by putting into action the recommended initiatives developed through this study, which include:

  • Endorsing and implementing the 10-year Rehabilitation Improvement Plan to remove physical barriers and improve safety and security by addressing those items identified in this report;
  • Undertaking a public awareness campaign to promote the town’s recreational trails system and accessibility standards;
  • Updating the town’s master plans, design standards and guidelines and by-laws to reflect current accessibility requirements;
  • Adopting and applying the proposed Accessibility Checklist in Appendix E when planning or designing new or redeveloping existing trails to ensure compliance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards of the AODA;
  • Exploring opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with other town plans, to develop a comprehensive wayfinding strategy. Connectivity between the recreational trail network and active transportation network should be promoted through wayfinding and network signs;
  • Adopting and implementing the proposed Trail Signage Strategy, which will consolidate multiple sign types and formats, ensure consistency in sign application and meet the requirements of the AODA; and
  • Adopting the proposed Level of Difficulty Rating System that will assist trail users in choosing routes that best meet their skills and abilities, enhancing their overall experience


The Province of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005 with the goal to make Ontario accessible by 2025 by creating and enforcing accessibility standards that address key areas of daily living:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Design of Public Spaces (DOPS)

The Design of Public Spaces is a provincial standard that outlines requirements so public spaces are easier for everyone to use


  • Applies to outdoor play spaces, outdoor public use eating areas, beach access routes, and exterior paths of travel, accessible parking, and recreational trails
  • Applies to new construction or when major changes are made to existing elements.


The final Recreation Trail Accessibility Audit and Strategy (RTAAS) report and sign strategy was completed in November 2018 and presented to the Accessory Advisory Committee on January 10, 2019. The RTAAS was approved by Town Council on June 24, 2019.