The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act,
2005, SO 2005, c 11 (the "AODA"), is an Act aimed at
developing, implementing and enforcing standards that promote
accessibility for people with disabilities in Ontario. The AODA
covers accessibility with respect to goods, services, facilities,
accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises. The
AODA aims to achieve this goal by January 1, 2025, allowing
businesses to implement the accessibility standards in stages. In
this article, we thought it would be helpful to provide a snapshot
of what the Integrated Accessibility Standards (the
"AIS") Regulation required by January 1, 2015.
With respect to the AIS, compliance deadlines vary depending on
the nature of the organization as well as the organization's
number of employees. A small organization is defined as an
organization with fewer than 50 employees in Ontario. A large
organization is defined as an organization with 50 or more
employees in Ontario. This article does not provide an exhaustive
list of the AODA requirements but rather focuses on a number of key
requirements that small and large private sector organizations must
have complied with by January 1, 2015.
By January 1, 2015, small organizations must have developed,
implemented and maintained policies governing how the organization
achieves or will achieve accessibility for persons with
disabilities. Large organizations should have been in compliance
and have had policies and accessibility plans in place by January
Businesses that use self-service kiosks are required to have
regard to accessibility issues when designing, procuring or
acquiring self-service kiosks. Large and small organizations should
already be in compliance with this requirement.
Businesses must ensure that training is provided on both the
requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards as well as
the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with
disabilities. The training should be provided to all employees and
volunteers as well as people who play a role in developing the
organization's policies and people who provide goods, services
or facilities on behalf of the organization. The training
should be appropriate to the duties of the person being
Large organizations ought to have complied with the training
requirement by January 1, 2015. In addition to providing training,
large organizations must also keep a record of the training,
including the dates that the training was provided and the number
of individuals that were trained.
Small organizations have until January 1, 2016 to comply.
Organizations that have a feedback process in place must ensure
that the feedback process is accessible to persons with
disabilities. Businesses can comply with the feedback accessibility
requirements by providing accessible formats and communication
supports, upon request, and by notifying the public of their
availability. Accessible formats include large print, recorded
audio, electronic formats, braille and other formats usable by
persons with disabilities.
Large organizations must have complied with the feedback
requirements by January 1, 2015. Small organizations have until
January 1, 2016.
The above list is not exhaustive of all requirements under the
AODA. Failure to comply with the AODA can lead to significant
penalties. Please contact us for more information or if you require
assistance complying with your obligations under 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.
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