FAQs: Entertainment and hospitality
- Do restaurants have to provide wheelchair access?
All entertainment and hospitality facilities, including restaurants, must be accessible to people who use wheelchairs, unless it would be an undue hardship for the service provider to make the facility accessible. There is no formula to calculate undue hardship, but it is usually the point at which the cost of providing an accessible facility threatens the viability of the service. While the Alberta Safety Codes Act requires barrier-free design of new buildings and premises, many older businesses remain less accessible for persons with physical disabilities.
- Do hotels have to provide non-smoking rooms?
Hotels and other providers of temporary accommodation must provide non-smoking rooms to guests with allergies to smoke or similar disabilities unless providing the non-smoking room would be an undue hardship for the service provider. Guests who have allergies to smoke or similar disabilities and require non-smoking rooms must inform the hotel staff in advance of their needs.
- Can nightclubs deny access to customers based on their race?
No. Entertainment service providers, including nightclubs, cannot deny access to customers based on their race or any other protected ground. Nightclubs cannot use indirect methods-such as a dress code or "preferred customer" status-as a way to exclude customers based on race or any other protected ground.
- Do restaurants and clubs have to admit patrons with service dogs?
Yes. The use of a service dog is protected by the Alberta Human Rights Act when a person with a physical or mental disability requires the support of a dog to engage in the normal activities of day-to-day life. Environmental health regulations also do not prohibit service dogs where food is served or sold. Guide dogs for individuals who are blind are also specifically allowed access to any public service by the Alberta Blind Persons' Rights Act.
- Can hotels and motels refuse guests because they depend on provincial income assistance?
No. Lawful source of income is a protected ground under the AHR Act, and any restriction on this basis is discriminatory. A guest may, for example, have no credit card, or may tell a desk clerk or operator that they receive income assistance. In a small community, staff may simply know that an individual depends on income assistance. In any of these cases, the AHR Act prohibits denying service on this basis.
- Do hotels and motels have to provide assistive devices such as closed-caption television sets?
A guest with a disability may ask for facilities which will allow equal access to services, such as a television set with closed captioning. The hotel or motel operator must accommodate such needs, to the point of undue hardship. This may mean allowing the guest to occupy a different room or making other changes, such as providing a different television set.
- Can a restaurant or nightclub require patrons to remove hats or headscarves?
If the headgear is required by a patron's religion, the patron has a right to wear it.
- Can an entertainment or hospitality provider refuse service to a patron who has been disruptive in the past?
The AHR Act only covers treatment based on a protected ground like gender or race. A restaurant or hotel can refuse service to someone who has been disruptive before.
Revised: February 1, 2010
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