As most employers are already
aware, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act ("AODA") was passed in 2005
and brings with it a number of requirements for employers, related
to ensuring their workplace is accessible for employees, clients,
and the public at large. Another important piece of
legislation, under AODA, was passed by the Ontario
government in 2011 - the Integrated Accessibility Standard
Regulation ("IASR"). The
IASR affects nearly all employers in Ontario that have at
least one employee. CCPartners previously blogged on the
here. The IASR has rolling deadlines for various
employment and information & communication accessibility
requirements, and there are important deadlines approaching for
small and large private employers in the beginning of 2016.
Small Private Employers (1-49 employees)
As of January 1, 2016 small
employers will be required to adhere to two important accessibility
features of the IASR: training, and feedback
Training – Section 7
of the IASR requires that all employees, volunteers,
persons involved in developing policies, and persons providing
goods/services on behalf of the organization shall be trained on
this IASR and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it
relates to disability.
Feedback – Section
11 of the IASR states that employers with an existing
process/mechanism by which employees, clients, or the public can
provide feedback shall offer the process in an accessible format
for people with disabilities. Organizations should have a
means by which an accessibility request can be made, and notify the
public that accessible formats can be arranged upon request.
**Large Private employers were
required to comply with the above requirements by January 1,
Large Private Employers (50+ employees)
As of January 1, 2016 large
employers will be required to adhere to three new accessibility
features of the IASR: accessible formats/communication
support, accommodation during recruitment, and a process for
accommodation during employment.
Formats/Communication Support – Section 12 of the
IASR requires that all information and communication be
arranged for and provided in an accessible format upon request.
This requires that employers set up a process by which
requests can be made.
Recruitment – Sections 22-24 of the IASR states
that potential and successful applicants must be informed that
accommodations are available upon request related to any material
or process during recruitment, assessment, and selection. As
well, large employers are required to consult with the applicant to
arrange for a suitable accommodation.
Employment – The IASR requires that employers
take the following steps with respect to existing and new
Inform employees of existing
policies (and changes to policies) used to support employees with
Provide job and workplace related
information in an accessible format
Develop a process for creating
individual accommodation plans and return to work plans
Ensure that the accessibility
needs of employees are taken into account when considering
performance management, career development/advancement, and
Prior to the above deadlines for
small and large employers, the Ministry of Economic Development,
Employment and Infrastructure has announced targeted AODA
audits this fall. The blitz will be directed at retail companies
with 500 or more employees and focused on, but not limited to,
requirements of creating a public multi-year accessibility plan,
and developing customized emergency plans for employees with
It's expected that these
compliance audits will continue as new requirements are continually
rolled out under AODA and its regulations. CCPartners will
ensure that employers have up to date knowledge on the latest
requirements and compliance audits.
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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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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