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Accessibility

QPIRG Concordia is committed to being inclusive and accessible to all. We are actively opposed to all forms of discrimination and oppression. QPIRG is a volunteer-driven, student-funded, non-profit organization that is independent from the Concordia administration and student unions. Both students and community members are welcome to make use of our space and resources as well as participate in QPIRG projects.
As part of our commitment to being inclusive and accessible to all, QPIRG actively works on creating an accessible space as well as organizing accessible projects and events.The following outlines the accessibility practices we’ve put into place as well as our current obstacles and barriers to accessibility due to our limited resources. We welcome suggestions for improvement.

Where access depends on the behaviour of others, we will take steps to communicate and enforce access guidelines, and ask that QPIRG space users do the same.

Wheelchair Accessibility/Physical Accessibility

QPIRG

The QPIRG space itself is wheelchair accessible, but our current location is not fully wheelchair accessible.

Details:

There is an elevator in our building.

There is a ramp to access the front door of the building, but it is steeper than average.

***Please note: We have received feedback from some of our members that the ramp is too dangerous to use in rainy or icy weather. We have also recently received feedback from some of our members that the ramp is too steep for them to navigate safely even in dry weather. We are trying to get our landlord to change the ramp so that it is less steep. In the meantime, if you need or want to use the ramp and you find it too steep, get in touch and we can help you. Or, if you find our ramp too steep to use and want to request that an event or meeting be held in another location, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to make that happen whenever possible.

The front (downstairs) doors of the building does not currently have automated access. These doors are also somewhat heavy.

The closest parking space designated as an accessible parking space – meaning, you must have the blue and white parking permit with the symbol of a person in a wheelchair issued by the SAAQ – is located on the east side of Mackay Street between de Maisonneuve and Sainte-Catherine. It is parking space C606.

A list of other spaces downtown (Ville-Marie borough) reserved for people who have the blue-and-white parking permit can be found here:
http://www.statdemtl.qc.ca/index.php?page_id=322&lang=en#sondage

It is also possible to pull into the alleyway between the building QPIRG is in (1500 de Maisonneuve West) and the adjacent building to the west (1550 de Maisonneuve West, Concordia’s GM building), however this is not an official parking spot and vehicles cannot stay there for long. People who have the disabled parking permit (and sticker) are permitted to park in no-parking zones and parking zones reserved for residents for a maximum of 60 minutes.

[We are working to compile more information regarding accessible parking near QPIRG. In the meantime, please get in touch if you have questions or if you have information you want to share about parking.]

We have public-use computers at desks that are at a height that are high enough to allow most wheelchairs to fit at them.

QPIRG Events

We are committed to planning events that are in wheelchair-accessible venues.

Our promotional material will include the given venue’s accessibility information.

See Washrooms for info on washroom accessibility.

Washrooms

Physical Accessibility

The washrooms on our floor of our building do not have doors with automated access. As well, only one of them – the washroom designated as the “women’s” washroom – has an accessible stall. The doors on both washrooms are somewhat heavy and require a key to open.

The coffee shop on the ground floor of our building has a larger, single stall washroom – they are often good about letting people use the washroom without buying something, but we cannot guarantee this.

Gender Neutral Washrooms

Since we share the floor with other groups, we have not been able to successfully create gender-neutral washrooms even temporarily during events. Space users are obviously welcome to use whichever washroom they want, but we realize this is not the same as having washrooms that are actually gender-neutral.

The coffee shop on the ground floor of our building has single stall washrooms – they are often good about letting people use the washroom without buying something, but we cannot guarantee this.

Scent-free policy

QPIRG is a scent-free space. No scented products are to be worn at QPIRG (eg. perfumes, colognes, etc.). No chemical products that emit noxious or toxic fumes can be used in the space without prior approval (cleaning agents, certain art supplies, etc.).

Please consult the QPIRG Scent-Free Policy for more information.

Allergies

Our space and our events are free of animals (except for helper animals such as guide dogs).

We do our best to accommodate a range of dietary needs when there is food at our events. Our default is to provide vegan food. We are able to accommodate other dietary needs – including food allergies – with notification (for example, making sure there are nut-free and gluten-free foods).

Whenever possible, we provide lists of all ingredients in food items.

Cops and CSIS

QPIRG Board and staff aim to avoid any police involvement or meddling in the QPIRG space as well as at our events. When conflicts arise in the space, we strive to de-escalate the situation or to solve them via discussion and mediation techniques. Inappropriate or abusive behaviour is not tolerated in the space, and people responsible for such behaviours are asked to leave the space.

While we try to avoid any police involvement in the space, Board, staff members and space users have the discretion and personal choice to phone the police/911 when the situation warrants, namely when someone’s physical safety is threatened.

If the police (SPVM, SQ, RCMP, etc) visit the QPIRG space uninvited, we ask them to leave. The police can only legally enter and search the space with a warrant. We advise all space users to demand to see a warrant, and to have a copy, before allowing police into the space. If you can, verify whether the warrant is signed and dated. When police are at the QPIRG space, we ask that space users phone a staff member and a designated lawyer. This information will also be posted in the QPIRG space.

QPIRG Concordia adopts the statement by the People’s Commission Network concerning CSIS (http://www.peoplescommission.org/en/csis/whattodo-csis.php). This statement will be posted at the QPIRG space, and shared with all working groups and space users. This statement constitutes QPIRG’s approach to CSIS and other state agencies.

Media

We do our best to notify space users and event participants whenever there is media present.

We also ask all journalists to ask permission before taking pictures of a group or event.

Child-Welcoming Space

We strive to make our space and our events safe and welcoming to children and their parents and guardians.

Children are always welcome in the QPIRG space, and we have toys and books for kids.

As well, we are committed to providing free childcare at our events.

Francisation

QPIRG is a primarily English organization operating on an English university campus. However, given that we are also located in Montreal, we actively strive toward “francisation,” be it in our space, at our events or for important written information.

People are encouraged to express themselves in French in our space. At our events, we provide interpretation towards French through whisper translation for our French-speaking audience. Our goal of “francisation” is an ongoing one, and although we cannot provide translated versions of every document, we can translate specific ones if users require it.

Signed Interpretation

Right now we are unable to offer ASL and/or LSQ to English interpretation on a consistent basis.

However, we can organize ASL or LSQ interpretation when notified in advance.

Financial Accessibility

All of our events are free.

When we do something where there is a cost associated, for example if we co-organize an event or when we distribute a publication (like Convergence or School Schmool), it is on a suggested donation and / or pay-what-you-can basis, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

We do not currently offer metro or bus tickets on a consistent basis, but we can provide them upon request, and can help to subsidize adapted transportation to-and-from our space and our events.

Membership is currently included for fee-levy paying Concordia students, and available to community members by volunteering a minimum of 10 hours annually or by $10 donation. See QPIRG Constitution for complete membership details.

Sexual Assault and Safer Space:

QPIRG Concordia is committed to being inclusive and accessible to all. We are actively opposed to all forms of discrimination and oppression.

Therefore, we ask that QPIRG members and space users be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be oppressive to others. QPIRG is not a space for violence, racism, ageism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, sleaziness, or touching another person without consent. Acting in a way that perpetuates oppression, including through language, is not acceptable.

Sexual harassment shall be defined as:

  • Unwanted attention of a sexual nature; or
  • Implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request; or
  • Implied or expressed threat of reprisal, actual reprisal or the denial of opportunity for the refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request; or
  • Sexually oriented remarks or behaviour that may reasonably be perceived to create a negative working environment (Source: People’s Potato Constitution)

Please be mindful of the following when interacting in the QPIRG space:
• Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries. Ask first before touching, and listen and change your behavior if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable.

• Respect the pronouns and names of everyone. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, dis/abilities, economic status, background, health, etc.

• Check in before discussing topics that might be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, or encounters with the police). Be aware that there are many other discussion topics that can be triggering to people – such as racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of systemic violence. It’s not always possible to know what is triggering for someone, so if possible – especially in one-on-one discussions – try to ask.

• Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.

• Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.

• QPIRG is a social learning space, where persons should not be personally attacked, but one’s behaviour may be critiqued. Be open to understanding the role your behaviour has in other people’s experiences of oppression.

• We cannot guarantee a snitch-free or cop-free space. Please keep that in mind.

• Be mindful of the presence of children and helper animals. Try not to leave anything around that could endanger them or other adults.

QPIRG recognizes that organizing and activist spaces are not necessarily spaces liberated from sexual assault and gender-based violence. Sexual assault and gender-based violence breaks our movements and our communities. We reject the silence surrounding these issues and commit to creating spaces that acknowledge this reality as well as fighting structures and individuals that sustain rape culture within our society. We also believe in the importance of establishing support and inclusion mechanisms for individuals who have experienced sexual assault as a way of trying to break through the isolation and alienation that sexual assault creates.

We acknowledge that women of colour and Indigenous women, trans people, disabled women, non-status women, psych survivors, women using substances, and poor women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and this is the product of the racist, colonialist, ableist, ageist, capitalist, misogynist system within which our society exists.
For more information regarding sexual assault, please speak with QPIRG Staff. You may also refer to the following two organizations:

Centre for Gender Advocacy (4th floor above QPIRG)
1500 de Maisonneuve West, Suite #404
Office: (514) 937-2110
info@genderadvocacy.org
Peer Support Hotline: (514) 848-2424 ext. 7880
psa@genderadvocacy.org
www.genderadvocacy.org

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
1500 de Maisonneuve West, Guy-Metro Bldg 300.27
(514) 848-2424 ext. 3353
jennifer.drummond@concordia.ca

Resources and Mutual Aid

In addition to providing as many resources as we can and doing our best within our capacity to make the QPIRG space and events as accessible and inclusive as possible, QPIRG is also part of, and aware of, many other community resources and networks. If you are looking for a particular resource or a particular form of support, get in touch and we will do our best to provide information and resources.

Mutual aid is an important tenet of our movement, and we believe that asking others for help is a political act.

We welcome your input!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding QPIRG and accessibility, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

We understand a commitment to accessibility and inclusivity as an on-going process and a learning process. If you have input about this process or would like to provide any information or resources, we welcome that as well!

For Questions, Comments or Concerns, please contact us at:

1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, #204
Montreal, Quebec (near Guy-Concordia Metro)
(514) 848-7585
info@qpirgconcordia.org

For further information regarding accessibility at QPIRG Concordia, please refer to the following policies: