The next phase of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act (the "AODA") compliance comes into effect on January
1, 2016. Private and not-for-profit organizations, and small and
large public organizations will have to comply requirements under
the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the
"Regulation") beginning in the New Year as follows:
Small organizations (with fewer than
50 employees in Ontario) must ensure training is provided on the
requirements of the standards set out in the Regulation and the
Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.
Training must be provided to all employees, volunteers, all persons
who participate in developing the organization's policies, and
all other persons who provide goods and services on behalf of the
organization. Training must be appropriate to each individual's
duties, and it must be provided as soon as practicable, and on an
ongoing basis as changes are made to the organization' s
Small organizations must ensure
processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible
to persons with disabilities by providing or arranging for the
provision of accessible formats and communication supports, upon
request. Notice must be given to the public about the availability
of accessible formats and communication supports.
Small designated public sector
organizations and large organizations (with 50 or more employees in
Ontario) must provide or arrange for the provision of accessible
formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities,
upon request, in a timely manner that takes into account the
person's needs, and at a cost that is no more than the regular
cost to other persons. Organizations must consult with the person
making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible
format or communication support. Notice must be given to the public
about the availability of accessible formats and communication
Large organizations must comply with
various Employment Standards set out in the Regulation. There are a
number of detailed requirements in this section of the Regulation,
including with respect to recruitment; providing information to
employees about accommodation; providing accessible formats and
communication supports in relation to information needed for an
employee's job, or information generally available in the
workplace; documenting individual accommodation plans; developing
return to work processes; and considering accessibility needs in
performance management, career development and advancement, and
Large designated public organizations
must comply with requirements related to the design of public
spaces that are newly constructed or redeveloped.
The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and
Infrastructure has been very active in monitoring compliance with
the AODA over the last few months. We are seeing more enforcement
efforts in respect of organizations that are not compliant to date,
particularly in the form of spot audits, including a "retail
blitz", targeting large retailers over the last month.
In order to get ahead of any enforcement efforts and to ensure
timely compliance, Ontario employers should already be thinking
about these requirements and they should be taking steps to meet
their obligations before the deadline rolls around.
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).