Since January 1, 2012, Ontario employers have been obligated to
provide "individualized workplace emergency response
information to employees who have a disability, if the disability
is such that the individualized information is necessary and the
employer is aware of the need for accommodation due to the
The obligation is in section 27 of the
Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation under the
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
(often referred to as "AODA"). Although other
obligations under that regulation come into effect in 2014 and
later, the emergency response information requirements in section
27 came into effect in 2012.
Section 27 also requires that if an employee who "receives
individualized workplace emergency response information requires
assistance", then if the employee consents, the employer shall
provide the workplace emergency response information to the person
designated by the employer to provide assistance to the
The section goes on to require that employers provide the
emergency response information as soon as practicable after the
employer becomes aware of the need for accommodation due to the
Lastly, section 27 requires that every employer review the
individualized workplace emergency response information, "(a)
when the employee moves to a different location in the
organization; (b) when the employee's overall accommodations
needs or plans are reviewed; and (c) when the employer reviews its
general emergency response policies."
Employers – particularly those with workplaces which might
be difficult to exit in the event of an emergency – should
consider their obligations under section 27.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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