In 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities
Act ("AODA"). The stated goal was to
remove barriers to accessibility by 2025 by gradually introducing
new obligations. Since 2005, requirements have been introduced in
phase. Over time, obligations have increased. Recently, the
government introduced Regulation 191/11: Integrated Accessibility
Standards, which came into force in July of this year. It
introduces a number of changes that employers need to be aware
The changes apply to each and every organization in the province
providing goods, services or facilities, regardless of the number
of employees. All accessibility standards, including the Accessible
Customer Service Standard, are now part of the new regulation known
as the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. The change
revokes the previous Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
and the Exemption from Reporting Requirements.
In addition to the integration of the earlier Standards, the
Regulation reflects the following changes:
a change to the definition of
"large organization" to be increased from one with 20 or
more employees to be one with 50 or more employees in Ontario;
ALL members of the organization must
be trained on accessible customer service and how to interact with
people with different disabilities, and not just those employees
who worked with customers or created policies and procedures;
Organizations must consider certain
factors, including consulting with the person with a disability to
understand their needs, before requiring a support person to
accompany the individual;
"large organizations" must,
if they have not already done so, create a policy governing the
provision of goods, services or facilities to persons with
disabilities, under the new Customer Service Standards section of
the Regulation, and notify the public of the availability of this
organizations with less than 50
employees are no longer required to put their accessible customer
service policy in writing or make it public – though they may
still have reporting requirements.
Like Bill 132, all employers in Ontario must ensure compliance
or face liability. We are working with our clients to review their
policies, update them as needed and ensure that required training
is implemented and documented.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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.
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