February 24, 2021
“What special considerations have been made for the increased need/demand for public washrooms during COVID in Canada? Specifically, what data sources/methods would you recommend for us to be able to capture what is happening in municipal pockets across Ontario/Canada?”
Does anyone have any ideas where to find this sort of thing. Are there associations of municipalities provincially or nationally that would be a good place to start? I would like to avoid suggesting that she contact individual public health agencies or municipalities.
The student mentioned Muniscope which seems to be a national resource for municipalities and agencies that deal with municipal matters. You have to be a member to access any of their resources. Does anyone have any experience dealing with Muniscope and getting help and/or resources from them? Do they share resources; do they charge?
- Municipal open data portals sometimes have public washrooms, but they’re often incomplete or out of date – still, they might be a start. E.g. for Toronto, refreshed this week: https://open.toronto.ca/dataset/street-furniture-public-washroom/ (and this particular dataset seems limited to one company’s contracts with the city)
- Your patron might also have luck with some of the crowdsourced public washroom apps, like https://www.restroommap.com/ or https://www.refugerestrooms.org/ though these a) might not have the dates when specific items were created (just added, if that) and b) sometimes have specific themes, like non-gendered washrooms (very useful for people who need them, of course, but it seems like your patron has a different need).
For BC, it might be worth checking CivicInfoBC to see if it includes any municipal reports. From the menu options on the left side, I'd suggest looking in the Documents section and/or COVID-19 Resources section. The Annual Surveys don't seem to cover this topic and wouldn't be current enough anyway.
At the time of publication, no contributors have come forward with working knowledge of Muniscope.