It's the start of a new year, which means some organizations
as of January 1, 2014 have additional requirements to meet under
the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
2005 (the "AODA").
The purpose of the AODA is to create a "barrier-free
Ontario" for persons with disabilities through the
implementation of a number of general requirements, along with five
"Accessibility Standards" in the areas of: Customer
Service, Information and Communications, Employment,
Transportation, and Design of Public Spaces. These obligations are
being phased in over time to give organizations time to comply. For
instance, all requirements under the Customer Service Standard came
into effect for private sector organizations on January 1,
If your organization has 50 or more employees, as of January 1,
2014 you are now also required to comply with some general
requirements as well as requirements under the Information and
Communications Standard. Details of the three requirements under
this standard are explained in this bulletin.
1) The Establishment of Accessibility Policies and Multi-Year
You must develop, implement, and maintain policies setting out
how you will meet your obligations under the AODA. These policies
must include a statement of organizational commitment to meet the
accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner
and must be made available to the public. In addition, you must
establish, implement, maintain, and document a multi-year
accessibility plan outlining your strategy to meet your obligations
under the AODA. The multi-year accessibility plan must be posted on
your website and must be updated at least once every five
2) Incorporation of Accessibility Features for Self-Service
If your organization designs or plans to acquire self-service
kiosks, such as a self-checkout at a grocery store, you must now
have regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities when
designing, procuring, or acquiring self-service kiosks. This
requirement applies only to new kiosks.
3) Accessible Websites
If your organization has a website, you must ensure that it
complies with certain accessibility guidelines, in two stages. As
of January 1, 2014 new internet websites and new web content must
comply with "Level A" of the World Wide Web Consortium
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ("WCAG") 2.0. For
example, websites need to be fully functional through the use of a
keyboard. All internet websites and web content (retroactive to
January 1, 2012) must comply with WCAG at "Level AA" by
January 1, 2021.
By December 31, 2014, you must file an online accessibility
report to confirm your organization is in compliance with these new
requirements, and remains in compliance with any requirements that
came into force at an earlier date.
Many obligations under the AODA will not be in effect for a
number of years, such as the requirements under the Employment
Standard. However, the requirement to develop and publicize
accessibility policies and multi-year accessibility plans now means
that you must consider well in advance how your organization will
meet these future obligations. As these accessibility policies and
multi-year accessibility plans will be readily available to the
public, you will want to ensure your organization has an effective
strategy in place for remaining in compliance with the AODA.
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 Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
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).