Canada: AODA: What’s Next For Ontario Employers?

Last Updated: November 2 2013
Article by Laurie Jessome

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ("AODA") has imposed a series of obligations on businesses providing goods and services in Ontario. To date, the focus has primarily been on ensuring that customers with accessibility issues are provided with goods and services in a manner that is responsive to and respectful of their needs. As of December 31, 2012, most businesses in Ontario were required to file compliance reports with the Ministry of Community and Social Services affirming that they had implemented accessible customer service policies, provided training to their employees on how to provide service to individuals with accessibility issues, created a feedback process for customers who experienced accessibility issues and that steps had been taken to make these policies available to members of the public. 

We understand that businesses are now being contacted by the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment to follow up on outstanding compliance reports. Employers in Ontario need to know that new obligations and deadlines are coming. As of January 1, 2014, Ontario private sector businesses that have 50 or more employees (referred to in the AODA as "large organizations") and Ontario public sector organizations with less than 50 employees will be required to demonstrate that they have taken further steps to ensure that they meet the needs of both their customers and their employees. 

By January 1, 2014, large private sector organizations and small public sector organizations must have implemented the following measures to ensure compliance with the AODA:

  1. Accessibility Policies:  Affected organizations must have developed, implemented and be prepared to maintain policies governing how they will meet their obligations under the AODA. They must post their accessibility policies on their websites and commit to reviewing the policy at least once every five years. The key principles to be reflected in these accessibility policies are dignity, integration and equal opportunity.  Organizations can incorporate accessibility policies into existing human rights and diversity policies. 
  2. Accessibility Plans:  Affected organizations must also develop, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan which outlines the organization's strategy to prevent and remove barriers. The five year plan should identify short and long term goals and should track both AODA compliance and the achievement of internal goals. We recommend beginning the process by completing an assessment of existing barriers to access and existing practices with respect to human resources and customer service. It is also advisable to seek feedback from customers, employees and clients at the assessment stage. Once completed, the accessibility plan must be posted on the organization's website and be provided to any person who requests a copy. As with the accessibility policy, the accessibility plan must be reviewed regularly.
  3. Procurement Practices:  Small public sector organizations must incorporate accessible designs, features and criteria when procuring or acquiring goods, service or facilities. Although private sector organizations are not caught by this requirement, we recommend that they consider accessibility issues when making significant changes to equipment, facilities or furniture as this will assist with compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and could also enhance customer satisfaction and employee morale.
  4. Self-Serve Kiosks:  Affected organizations must incorporate accessibility features when designing, procuring or acquiring self-serve kiosks. 
  5. Websites:  Any new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ("WCAG") 2.0 Level A. WCAG is an internationally accepted standard for internet accessibility and contains guidelines regarding content and accessible formats. This obligation applies to both external websites as well as any internal sites through which employees can access human resources and other policy information.

Although these requirements do not currently apply to small private sector organizations, we recommend initiating steps to achieve compliance now rather than waiting for the January 1, 2015 deadline. Not only will this ensure small organizations are in a good position for the approaching AODA deadlines, it will also assist meeting their existing obligations to both customers and employees under the Human Rights Code.

We draw particular attention to the requirement to develop accessibility policies and plans because these documents will serve as the foundation of your organization's compliance with the AODA and will provide your management and human resources team with a roadmap for future compliance and accommodation measures. We strongly recommend considering how these documents will intersect with your company's human resources practices because more changes are coming. Beginning in January 2016, large private section organizations will need to ensure that all of their existing human resources practices have been revamped to explicitly consider and respond to accessibility issues in the workplace. Small private sector organizations must do so by January 2017.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Laurie Jessome
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.