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Things to know

  • Ontario is the “high water mark” for accessibility laws in Canada.
  • The Province’s AODA – the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act  has detailed standards that must be followed by governments, businesses, non-profits and public sector organizations in five areas:
    • Customer Service Standards: How to provide accessible customer service, including communicating with customers with disabilities, allowing assistive devices, service animals, and support persons, and providing accessible documents and feedback processes.
    • Information and Communication Standards: How to make information accessible to people with disabilities, including providing accessible formats and communication, websites and feedback processes.
    • Transportation Standards: Requirements for transportation service providers.
    • Employment Standards: Requirements for making hiring and employee support practices more accessible, including in recruitment, offering employment, providing accessible formats and communication supports, creating documented individual accommodation plans and return to work processes, and accessible performance management and career development.
    • Design of Public Spaces Standards: Requirements for making new and redeveloped outdoor public spaces accessible, including ramps, stairs, sidewalks, parking lots, and waiting areas.
  • These requirements operate in addition to the duty to accommodate under applicable human rights legislation.
  • There are significant potential penalties for non-compliance, including fines and potential director and officer liability.

Things to do

  • Determine which requirements apply to your organization, based on your size and operations.
  • Ensure that you have processes and procedures in place to address accessibility and accommodation obligations, including, as applicable, a multi-year accessibility plan, accessibility policy, and accessible customer service policy.
  • Provide training to your staff, and others as required by the AODA, on the requirements of the accessibility standards, human rights legislation, and providing accessible customer service.
  • If you have 20 or more employees, file accessibility reports with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario every three years (the next deadline is December 31, 2020).
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