On July 1, 2016, a number of changes under the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) will take
effect. The changes will consolidate the following two regulations
under the AODA: (1) Ontario Regulation 429/07 –
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (the Customer Service
Standard); and (2) Ontario Regulation 191/11 –
Integrated Accessibility Standards.
As a result of the consolidation, the following changes will be
made to the AODA's Customer Service Standard:
Written Policy Exemption for Small Private Sector
Organizations – Previously, organizations with 20 or
more employees were required to "document" the policies
required under the Customer Service Standard in writing and to make
a copy available to the public on request. As of July 1, 2016, this
requirement will apply only to organizations with 50 or more
Expanded Training Requirement –
Previously, organizations were required to provide training on the
Customer Service Standard only to: (a) employees and volunteers who
provide goods or services to the public; and (b) employees involved
in developing the organization's policies. As of July 1, 2016,
training on the Customer Service Standard must now be provided to
all employees and volunteers regardless of their role. Employees
who have already received training are not required to be
Feedback - The Customer Service Standard
requires that organizations provide a way for customers to provide
feedback on how the organization provides accessible customer
service. As of July 1, 2016, organizations must ensure that this
feedback process is accessible, by providing for accessible formats
and communication supports, on request.
Support Persons – The Customer Service
Standard allows an organization to require a support person to
accompany a person with a disability on the organization's
premises for health or safety reasons. As of July 1, 2016, an
organization must take the following steps before imposing this
requirement: (i) consult with that person to understand their
needs; (ii) consider health and safety reasons based on available
evidence; and (iii) determine if there is no other reasonable way
to protect the health and safety of the person or others on the
Service Animals – The Customer
Service Standard requires organizations to allow a person with a
disability to be accompanied by a guide dog or service animal onto
premises that the public has access to. Previously, if it was not
readily apparent that the animal was used by the person for reasons
related to a disability, the organization could request a note from
a physician or nurse confirming the relationship. As of July 1,
2016, this provision has been broadened to allow regulated health
professionals to also provide confirmation.
These changes will require Ontario employers to review their
AODA policies to ensure they incorporate the new requirements.
Employers must also ensure that training on the Customer Service
Standard is provided for all new employees and for any employees
who did not originally receive the training. The next compliance
reporting deadline under the AODA is December 31,
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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