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Braille question

On the Canadian train I was on this morning, the signs in the bathroom were in English, French and Braille. Nice. But I actually don’t understand. How do the blind know that there’s a sign there in the first place? Are they supposed to run their hands over the walls of the bathroom looking for the “Please be courteous and leave this bathroom clean” sign? Or are the Braille signs for the partially sighted?

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8 Responses to “Braille question”

  1. Same question about some candy machines I’ve observed recently. The keypad where you put in the 2 digit number has braille markings yet nowhere is there any indication of what candy is actually in the machine. Smells of companies following the letters of the law where the law was not written well enough to be of value to anyone using braille.

  2. Was that English Braille or French Brialle???

  3. But once you knew the candy machine was there and what the code for your favourite was, you could use it by yourself?

  4. @simon yes if they were consistent with the candy they provided and the slots they put stuff in.

  5. I strongly suspect (I am Canadian) that many blind Canadians know (and may by now expect, after sufficient public education on the issue by support associations) that there will be Braille at key places in public spaces. It is probably mandated by law in both the provincial and federal jurisdictions.

    And though I don’t read Braille, I’d be very very surprised if the notices / messages weren’t posted in both official languages.

  6. “Smells of companies following the letters of the law…”
    I believe most keypad makers include Braille on their general-purpose keys as the rule, rather than the exception.

  7. The signs are put at a standardized height and blind people know to feel for them there at the entrances of rooms. There’s definitely some code around it – it’s why we have signs labeling the lounge and the front desk areas at Berkman even though they’re not really separated rooms.

  8. I am Canadian and can tell you that last year the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a decision by federal regulators that will force Via Rail to make their passenger rail cars more wheelchair accessible, a ruling that could have repercussions throughout the transportation industry. For more details, see

    Knowing that the Council of Canadians with disabilities was pretty involved and following this file closely, I would guess all of their members are now aware of the decision and of other changes that were made(or already available) for blind people as well a people with other disabilities.

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