Relief From Requirements

Authority Service BC

Peter went to his local Service BC Centre with questions about a government program. He stood in line.

While waiting, nature called and Peter was surprised to find no public washroom on site. Rather, Service BC directed Peter to a hotel nearby. Later, Peter contacted us. He thought it was unreasonable that this Service BC Centre, made to serve the public, did not have a public washroom.

We investigated. Service BC noted that section 14 (2) of the Interpretation Act provides an exception for government from some requirements set out in provincial legislation, such as the provision for washrooms in public facilities. While this appeared to be legally accurate, we remained concerned. What of the impact on those individuals who had business with the government – especially those with limited mobility? We were also concerned how this stance might be viewed by the public generally, not to mention the hotel nearby.

Service BC agreed to give their approach to providing public washrooms some more consideration. It undertook a review of all Service BC Centres. The review found that 45 sites have publicly accessible washrooms and 17 sites do not. However, staff at 13 of the sites, including the one Peter used, said they would be willing to escort citizens to the staff washroom. The remaining four sites are unable to provide public access to washrooms due to security concerns. 

Names in our case summaries have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. This case study can also be found in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

Category Other
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2016
Location The North