Accessible Icon


Nanaimo is now officially the FIRST Canadian city to adopt the new accessible icon to represent the universal access for persons with disability. 

On March 21, 2016, Nanaimo City Council voted unanimously in favour of changing the icon to this image as new signs need to be used and old ones need to be replaced. Thank you Nanaimo City council for being so progressive and welcoming this positive change to help reduce stigma and discrimination in our community while empowering those with disabilities. 

Our next goal is to adopt this BC wide! Disability does not mean inability. 

If you wish to watch the recording of the vote, please click the following link: [Starts at 2:07:30]

"Change the Sign, Change the Attitude!"

NDRC is helping our community reduce the stigma and discrimination of persons with disabilities by changing the current “Disability Icon” to the new “Accessible Icon” in Nanaimo, the Nanaimo region, British Columbia, Canada, and then the world!

Old Icon

New Icon

A Bit of Background

In 1968, the first icon was designed and it was simply a bold outline of a wheelchair without an occupant. Ten years later in 1978, a circle was put on top of the wheelchair to represent a person and this icon was adopted internationally. The current icon is used and seen throughout the world. Now, we wish to improve upon it and introduce a new accessibility icon. 

Why Does This Icon Exist?

To show any person no matter what their language that this parking spot, bench, bathroom, elevator, doorway, ramps, pathways, bus, or pretty much anything else is accessible for any disabled person allowing them to live their days like any other person. 

Current icon comments include: 

  • “Presents the person as alone, immobile, and vulnerable”
  • “They look like they are waiting to be pushed by someone”

New accessible icon comments include: 

  • “It is modern and sleek, portraying legs, arms and a body forward in motion suggesting independence, strength, inclusiveness, activity, and participation”


The new accessible icon project has been endorsed by many organizations including:

  • Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre
  • Vancouver Island University Students Union
  • Old Navy Nanaimo
  • State of New York, USA
  • City of Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • US Treasury
  • Gettysburg College, PA, USA
  • City of New Bern, NC, USA

Vancouver Island University has already changed their accessible pavement markings. 

We won’t go into all of the small details of why we fully support this and why it is so important as most of this information is already explained at

Thank you for your time. Together we believe we can change our community for the better by making persons with disabilities more comfortable, accepted, and included.