Effective January 1, 2012, the Customer Service Standard under
the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)
applies to all people, businesses and organizations that provide
goods or services, either to the public or other businesses and
have one or more employee in Ontario. This new standard requires
all organizations to take reasonable steps to accommodate customers
with disabilities, including developing an accessibility plan and
providing accessibility training for employees.
To ensure you comply with the Customer Service Standard, and to
avoid the consequences of non-compliance, it is important to make
sure that all staff have been trained, your plan has been prepared,
and your accessibility compliance report (for organizations with
more than 20 employees) has been filed with Service Ontario by
December 31, 2012.
Establish and Accessibility Plan
You must develop and put into place an accessibility plan that
establishes policies, practices and procedures on the provision of
goods and services to people with disabilities. The requirements
for these policies are set out in the Customer Service Standard.
Click here to access the Customer Service Standard.
You must notify persons to whom you provide goods or services
that the documents required by this standard are available upon
request by posting a notice in a conspicuous location on your
premises and on your website.
Train Your Employees
All staff, volunteers, contractors, and any other individuals
who interact with the public or other third parties on your behalf
for the provision of goods or services, or who are involved in
developing your policies and procedures, must be trained on
providing accessible customer service.
File Your Accessibility Compliance Report
If your organization has 20 or more employees, you are required
to maintain documents containing the general policies, feedback
processes and training materials developed in accordance with the
Customer Service Standard.
Accessibility compliance reports must be filed annually through
Service Ontario. Click here for more information and instructions
relating to filing your compliance report.
Enforcement and Consequences of Non-Compliance
Under the AODA, the deputy minister has the power to appoint
inspectors to determine if organizations are complying with the
AODA and its regulations. A director appointed by the government
will be able to issue orders, such as providing more information on
the organization's implementation of the standard or filing the
required reports, as well as issue administrative penalties. Those
employers or organizations who do not comply with an order may also
be subject to court prosecution and additional fines. All directors
and officers of a corporation must take reasonable care to prevent
offences under the AODA and are also subject to fines for
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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