Canada: Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act: The Next Ten Years

Last Updated: March 31 2015
Article by Carol S. VandenHoek

In 2005 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ("AODA") was passed.   The AODA was developed in recognition of the disadvantage and exclusion of Ontarians with disabilities from full participation in society, including barriers when accessing employment.  The AODA requires the creation of regulations setting out accessibility standards for the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in areas of goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises. Currently two standards are in place: the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service and the Integrated Accessibility Standards, which combined standards in several areas including information and communications, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces.  In the first ten years since the legislation came into effect, organizations have faced the challenge of understanding and implementing the requirements of a complex set of legislative requirements. 

Section 41 of the AODA requires a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the legislation and regulations after the first four years of the section being in force and every three years thereafter. 

The First Legislative Review was tabled in May 2010 and conducted by Charles Beer. The Beer Report proposed numerous key recommendations.   In February 2015, the Second Legislative Review was released.  Mayo Moran undertook the review in 2014   at an important juncture - almost ten years since the passage of the AODA into law and approximately ten years prior to the goals of 2025.  The Second Legislative Review (the "Moran Report") also coincides with a new provincial government.

The Moran Report

The Moran Report documents several issues relating to the AODA and their potential impact to organizations.

Of particular importance to employers are comments which appear at page 45, referencing consultation comments:

Business and disability stakeholders both observed that the standards address the stages in the employment lifecycle but leave out measures to actually promote employment.

Several recommendations contained within the Moran Report are of important note for organizations addressing their obligations and anticipating enforcement activities by the Government.

Recommendation 1: Renew Government Leadership.  The Moran Report repeats the Beer Report's call for a re-establishment of leadership and commitment by the Government of Ontario to accessibility and the momentum of the AODA.   The Moran Report, while confirming the continued role of the  Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure in addressing administration of the AODA, recommends the inclusion of an additional title of "Minister Responsible for Accessibility" to enhance the public profile of the AODA.

Recommendation 2: Enforce the AODA.  This detailed recommendation addresses the elements required for an enforcement plan.  More than 1,900 private sector audits were conducted in 2013.  The Moran Report calls for increased transparency and recommends enforcement statistics be released at least every three months.

The AODA is enforced by a system of audits, which can lead to inspections, orders for compliance and Director's Orders with financial penalties.  Prosecution can occur for those organizations who fail to respond to a Director's Order with the potential for significant fines of up to $50,000 per day for individuals and $100,000 per day for corporations.

Appeal of a Director's Order is brought before the License Appeal Tribunal.  To date there are only a handful of reported appeal cases addressing requests for fine reductions.  The limited jurisprudence will, of course, expand in the coming year to further inform the implementation of financial penalties and the factors considered in assessing such penalties. 

Recommendation 3: Resource and Empower the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to Provide Robust Compliance Support.   This recommendation addresses the complexity of the model and the demands of implementation faced by organizations that are spending too much time and money trying to determine "how to satisfy even the most basic elements of the regime." The Moran Report recommends a simplification of the standards themselves "so that expectations are clear up front and elaborate explanations are unnecessary". 

I strongly urge [the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council] and the Government to make simplification and clarify key objectives when reviewing the current standards or developing new ones.

Recommendation 5: Clarify the Relationship Between the Human Rights Code (HRC) and the AODA.  The Moran Report recognizes the confusion between the HRC and the AODA and the importance of the Government to clarify the relationship.   

There is a fundamental distinction between the HRC and the AODA.  The HRC provides rights and obligations and provides for a complaint based system by individuals to enforce their rights.  In contrast, the AODA is not a complaint based system but a system designed to remove systemic barriers to full participation.  Confusion can easily arise as compliance with the HRC is not the same as compliance with the AODA.  Compliance with the AODA legal requirements does not provide a complete defence to an allegation of breach of the HRC.

From a practical perspective, it is likely we will see enhanced enforcement activity and organizations should be ready to face an audit.  Organizations should address issues arising from an audit or orders in a timely manner, whether by appeal or compliance, to avoid further prosecution and penalties.  Time will tell whether steps will be taken to simplify the standards and address areas of confusion to further support organizations in addressing compliance.  

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.

Carol S. VandenHoek
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions