Private and not-for-profit employers with 50 or more employees
in Ontario (large organizations) take note. Significant obligations
under the Employment Standard to the Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) will take effect
in the New Year.
In addition to the existing requirement that employers provide
individualized workplace emergency response information to
employees with disabilities, large organizations will have to meet
the following requirements starting January 1, 2016:
Recruitment, assessment and
selection. Internal and external job applicants, including
applicants who have been invited to participate in a recruitment,
assessment or selection process, must be notified that
accommodations for disabilities are available on request. Employers
have the flexibility to notify applicants in a way that best fits
their existing organizational culture and business practices.
Informing employees of
supports. Employers must also notify successful
applicants, new and existing employees about their policies for
supporting employees with disabilities. Fresh notice must be given
whenever an existing policy is changed.
Accessible formats and
communication supports. On request, employers must consult
with employees who have disabilities in order to provide them with
the accessible formats and communications supports needed to do
their jobs effectively. The most appropriate support will depend on
the specific needs of the employee and the capacity of the employer
to provide the support.
accommodation plans. Written accommodation plans must be
developed for employees with disabilities of which the employer has
been made aware. Some key points to consider when developing plans
(i) how each employee can be involved in the development of
their individual plan;
(ii) how the employer can seek outside expert evaluation so that
they can provide effective supports; and
(iii) how and when plans will be reviewed and updated.
Career development and
advancement. When providing career development and
advancement opportunities, employers must do so in a manner that
takes into account the accessibility needs of employees with
management. If an employer uses performance management in
respect of its employees, it must use processes that take into
account the accessibility needs of employees with
transferring employees to new positions, employers must use
redeployment processes that consider their individual accessibility
needs (so that employees can continue to have their accommodation
Return to work
processes. Employers must develop return to work processes
that document the steps they will take to help employees who have
been absent due to disability.
Private and not-for-profit organizations with 1 – 49
employees in Ontario (small organizations) will have until January
1, 2017 to meet the same obligations (other than documented
individual accommodation plans and return to work processes, which
do not apply to small organizations).
Other Requirements for 2016
On top of the requirements under the Employment Standard, large
and small organizations will have to provide information and
communicate in an accessible manner to members of the public who
have disabilities about their goods, services or facilities by
January 1, 2016 and 2017, respectively.
As of January 1, 2016, small organizations must also meet the
following requirements that already apply to large
make processes for receiving and
responding to feedback available to persons with disabilities in
accessible formats and with appropriate communication supports;
train employees, volunteers, those
who influence policies and all others who provide goods or services
on behalf of the organization about the requirements in the
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation to the AODA and the
Ontario Human Rights Code.
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not
constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any
decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal
advice should be obtained.
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.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
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.
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