A primary concern for people living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis is accessing washrooms when they are away from their home. People living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis live in constant anxiety because of a lack of washroom access and must plan their daily activities around being close to a washroom. A person can experience urgent and frequent bowel movements (usually between five and 20 per day, but sometimes even more) during flare ups in the active stage of the disease.
Crohn's and Colitis Canada is proud to introduce the GoHere Washroom Access Initiative (www.go-here.ca) will help eliminate the awkward hurdle of asking store owner's permission to use their washrooms and will avoid the possibility of being turned down because of a lack of understanding. This initiative will ease the anxiety in finding washrooms and reduce the stigma associated with the disease by proactively identifying open facilities identified by the GoHere decal sticker on storefront windows. Other components of the initiative include the GoHere WashroomFinder App and the GoHere Washroom Access card.
The GoHere decal encourages businesses to open their washroom facilities to people living with Crohn’s, colitis and other incontinence issues. Businesses identify their participation in the project by posting GoHere decals. If successful, the initiative will roll out in other areas across the province and country. The project has been launched in the following cities: Calgary, Barrie, and Mississauga.
The GoHere Washroom Finder App is freely available and uses GPS to track nearby washroom facilities. It also provides a mapping system of available washrooms along a route to a particular destination. The app is available for all Apple, Android and Blackberry Touchscreen devices.
The GoHere Washroom Access Card will act as an identification medical card for businesses that may be concerned about those who may violate use of washroom facilities. The cards are virtually available on the GoHere Washroom Finder App.
Lack of Canadian legislation on Washroom Access
Unlike several US states or New Zealand, there is an absence of legislation on washroom access for people suffering from chronic incontinences issues in Canada. This initiative will help work towards establishing a favourable environment that will help to kick start dialogue and eventual development of legislation and/or by-laws in municipalities and provinces. It will secure access to washroom for those suffering with medical conditions and will gain washroom access that has only been strictly available for employees or customers only.
The GoHere Washroom Access Initiative has been modeled after a successful Ontarian volunteer-led disability movement to increase the accessibility of local businesses. The GoHere decal has at its main focus washroom access with the hopes of replicating the successes for increased washroom access and generating a win for businesses by the way of increased profits. GoHere is the first of its kind in the country and we hope it will act as a model for other international Crohn's and Colitis organizations to replicate.
We call on municipalities, provincial and the federal governments to: