A common misconception among
construction employers is that the Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 ("AODA")
only consists of the Customer Service Standard and does not
apply to construction employers.
In fact, some of the AODA standards
will likely have a greater impact on construction employers than
other businesses. The Public Spaces Standard contains
accessibility requirements in addition to those
found in the Barrier-Free Design section of the Ontario
Building Code. The Public Spaces Standard
requirements currently apply to public sector organizations, and
will apply to private sector organizations with 50 or more
employees in Ontario on January 1, 2017. As a result, public sector
and large private sector construction clients will expect
construction employers to be as expert on AODA design and building
requirements as the Building Code.
We are entering a new era of AODA
enforcement which makes it essential for construction employers to
pay careful attention to their AODA obligations. AODA enforcement
ramped up last fall with the first AODA audit blitz. Construction
employers should take steps now to ensure they are compliant before
being faced with an audit and non-compliance penalties.
a. The AODA Customer Service Standard Applies to All Ontario
The first common misconception is
that the Customer Service Standard only applies to businesses that
provide goods and services to the public. The Customer Service
Standard applies to all organizations with one or
more employees in Ontario. This is the case whether the
organization's customers are members of the public or other
businesses. This means that a sub-contractor whose client is a
general contractor needs to be compliant with the AODA Customer
Service Standard. This includes, for instance, the requirement to
have an AODA Customer Service Standard policy and ensure that
employees and independent contractors providing services on
the company's behalf receive AODA training.
b. The AODA Customer Service Standard is One of Five
The second common misconception is
that the AODA only consists of the Customer Service Standard. That
was the first standard, but there are now five Accessibility
Standards under the AODA: the Customer Service Standard, the
Information and Communication Standard, the Employment Standard,
the Transportation Standard, and the Public Spaces Standard.
We recently addressed common AODA
compliance pitfalls (
click here to read more). Those pitfalls apply equally to
construction employers – because the AODA applies to
construction employers just as it does to any other employer in
Construction employers must comply
with the obligations under the AODA standards, as applicable. For
instance, construction employers must comply with the requirements
under the AODA Employment Standard. The Employment Standard
requirements range from recruitment practices to performance
management and redeployment. Depending on the size of the business,
employers may be required to implement new accommodation and return
to work policies as well.
We are holding a Step by
Step AODA Compliance Workshop on April 27, 2016 to assist
employers in becoming AODA compliant. At this hands on workshop
participants will be provided with practical guidance on drafting
AODA compliant policies.
At this interactive half day seminar you will
The scope and purposes of the legislation and enforcement
Strategies and best practices to ensure ongoing compliance with
the AODA and avoid unnecessary financial penalties
Practical advice on drafting AODA compliant policies and
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Receive expert guidance from experienced employment lawyers as to how your organization can comply with this new law painlessly and address workplace harassment effectively
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