Subsidy for universal access to businesses

Last updated December 17, 2021

The retail business accessibility program (PAAC) is designed to assist retailers who wish to offer improved access to their building for clients with limited mobility.

Current

Description

This retailer assistance program aims to make buildings universally accessible so that any person, regardless of their physical ability, can use retail services independently.

Compliance with barrier-free design standards

Designed to promote an improved quality of life among residents of the Montréal agglomeration, the retail business accessibility program (PAAC) allows eligible businesses to update their built environment. The program applies to built environments that met the barrier-free design standards set out in the Quebec Construction Code (the Code) or the regulations in force at the time of construction or after an alteration, but that no longer meet current design standards and regulations. 

Through the PAAC, building owners and tenants renting a building or part of a building for commercial activities may be able to benefit from a subsidy in order to:

  • Correct or reduce the number of barriers limiting the entrances and exits of commercial establishments.
  • Carry out fit-up work to improve indoor circulation.
  • Provide access to various washroom facilities.

Eligibility

Eligibility

To be eligible, the applicant must:

  • Be an owner or tenant of a building used for commercial activities.
  • Plan to carry out work intended to make access to the building compliant with the barrier-free design standards set out in the Code or the regulations applicable at the time of application for the subsidy, and execute the work when no access to the building from the street is compliant, other than from an alley way.
  • Obtain confirmation from an authorized professional stating that the building for which the application is submitted met the barrier-free construction standards set out in the Code and the applicable regulations, either at the time of its construction or at the time of the most recent renovation of the building in question.
  • Complete the program application form and provide the required documents before December 31, 2024.
  • Have a representative of the program visit the building where the work will be performed.

Eligible expenses

The following work aimed at making the building or its amenities barrier-free is eligible.

  • Replacement of a door providing access to the building from the street and the commercial space.
  • Installation of an electric door opener providing access to the building from the street and the commercial space.
  • Installation of a bevelled plan.
  • Installation of a ramp or lift platform.
  • Work to improve indoor circulation, such as levelling the floors, widening the door and change rooms, installing an elevator and lift platform.
  • Work that facilitates access to dedicated washrooms for clients with limited mobility.
  • Replacement of toilets.

The subsidy also covers professional services provided by architects, engineers and technologists, if they are required to complete the work.

Note: No subsidy will be awarded for work beginning before the date on which the subsidy application is declared eligible.

Execution of the work 

Once eligibility is confirmed, the applicant must:

  • Obtain the required permits to perform the eligible work.
  • Ensure that the work is performed by a contactor holding the proper licence from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec;
  • Complete the work within 12 months of the date of the notice of application eligibility.

Financial assistance

The PAAC offers a subsidy equal to 90 per cent of the cost of the eligible work, up to a maximum of $15,000.

Submit an application

To receive assistance under the program, the owner or tenant of a building or part of a building used for commercial activities must provide the following documents before December 31, 2024.

  • The completed application form.
  • A document signed by an authorized professional (letter of compliance) confirming that the unit or building housing the business met the barrier-free design standards set out in the Building Code in force at the time of its construction (year)orat the time of its most recent renovation (or transformation) in accordance with the effective Code requiring barrier-free design.
  • A document establishing that he or she is the most recent owner of the building cited in the application, according to the Land Register of Quebec (Registre foncier du Québec).
  • A document establishing the mandate of any person acting on his or her behalf.
  • At least one itemized estimate for all the work planned.
  • The completed application form.
  • The same documents as those submitted by an owner:
    • A document signed by an authorized professional (letter of compliance) confirming that the unit or building housing the business met the barrier-free design standards set out in the Building Code in force at the time of its construction (year)orat the time of its most recent renovation (or transformation) in accordance with the effective Code requiring barrier-free design.
    • A document establishing that he or she is the most recent owner of the building cited in the application, according to the Land Register of Quebec (Registre foncier du Québec).
    • A document establishing the mandate of any person acting on his or her behalf.
    • At least one itemized estimate for all the work planned.
  • The lease attesting to your status as the tenant renting the building cited in the application or part of the building.
  • The form certifying that the building owner consents to the work being carried out.

For both types of application, a visit from a representative of the city’s Service de développement économique will be scheduled to confirm that the work has not yet started.

All the documents and the completed application must be sent by e-mail to the following address: [email protected]

You can write to the same address for more information.

Payment of the subsidy

Once the work has been completed, you must provide:

  1. Certification signed by an authorized professional, confirming that the work has been completed in accordance with the barrier-free design standards set out in the Code and with the applicable regulations.
  2. Invoices and other items detailing the work and showing the cost of the work and professional services.
  3. Proof of payment, other than in cash, of each invoice. For example, you can provide a copy of the cheque cashed, a copy of a bank draft, or a banking or credit card statement. Receipts, itemized invoices and quittances will not be accepted.
  4. A document summarizing the work and professional services, detailing, for each invoice submitted, the name of the supplier, the total amount before taxes, the method of payment, and a proof of payment reference.
  5. A copy of any permit issued for the eligible work.
  6. Photographs of any part of the building where the eligible work was done.

The subsidy is paid in one full installment either by cheque or electronic payment.