The next phase of Accessibility for Ontarians with
Disabilities Act (the "AODA") compliance came into
effect on January 1, 2016. Private and not-for-profit organizations
and small and large public organizations, including public school
boards and independent schools, had to comply with requirements
under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation
(the "Regulation") as of the New Year.
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 accessibility policies.
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,
Large organizations must comply with
various Employment Standards set out in the Regulation. There are a
number of detailed requirements, including:
providing external and internal
notification of the accommodation of persons with disabilities
during the recruitment process;
informing employees of the
organization's policies in support of persons with
developing and implementing a process
for the creation of individual accommodation plans and a documented
return to work process for employees who have been absent from work
due to a disability; and
ensuring that the organization takes
into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities
when implementing performance management, career development,
advancement or redeployment processes.
Large designated public organizations
must also comply with requirements related to the design of public
spaces that are newly constructed or redeveloped.
Public school boards in Ontario are considered designated public
sector organizations. As such, depending on the number of employees
each public school board has, it has to comply with the
requirements applicable to small or large designated public
organizations. Independent schools should be complying with the
requirements applicable to small or large private organizations,
depending on how many employees they have.
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 in October, 2015.
In order to get ahead of any enforcement efforts and to ensure
timely compliance, Ontario's public school boards and
independent schools should be thinking about these requirements and
they should be taking steps to meet their obligations in a timely
The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in BMW Financial Services Canada, a Division of BMW Canada Inc. v. McLean provides some useful insight into the relationship between automobile dealers and the financing arms of the manufacturers for whom those dealers are franchisees.
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).