Canada: Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act

In the province of Ontario, 15.5% of the population has a disability. In recognition of this fact, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ("AODA") become law on June 13, 2005. The definition of "disability" under the AODA is the same as under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which states that a disability includes:

  1. any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  3. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. a mental disorder; or
  5. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

The AODA applies to all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses across Ontario with one or more staff. The law created mandatory accessibility standards with the aim of identifying, removing, and preventing barriers for people with disabilities, and also gave the government of Ontario the authority to set monetary penalties to enforce compliance with accessibility standards. Penalties for major compliance failures for persons and unincorporated businesses can reach $50,000 for each day the violation continues, and $100,000 for each day the violation continues for incorporated businesses. Directors and officers of a corporation are also liable for a fine of up to $50,000 per day. Needless to say, a compliance failure can be a costly proposition, leaving aside any reputational harm that may also be suffered.

Not all of the accessibility standards of the AODA came into effect at once, and in fact the compliance deadlines range from January 1, 2010 into 2021. The Accessible Customer Service Standard was the first standard to come into effect and all of Ontario's non-profit organizations and businesses were to be compliant with that standard as of January 1, 2012.

On July 1, 2016 changes to the Customer Service Standard came into effect. Specifically, all accessibility standards – including the Customer Service Standard – will now be contained in a single regulation (O. Reg. 191/11), while the previous regulations applying to the Customer Service Standard (O. Reg. 429/07) and the Exemption from Reporting Requirements (O. Reg. 430/07), are simultaneously revoked.

Ontario Regulation 191/11 establishes the accessibility standards for each of information and communications, as well as employment, transportation, and the design of public spaces. The new regulation includes a number of changes to the existing standards, which should be noted. First, the definitions of "large" and "small" organizations have been updated such that a "large" organization is one with 50 or more people (whereas previously it had been 20), and a "small" organization is one with fewer than 50. The distinction is importance because "small" organizations, some of which would have previously been considered "large", are not required to reduce to writing certain aspects of the Customer Service Standard, including the actual policy, any notices of disruption, feedback processes, training records and notification of the availability of policies.

The Regulation also includes a number of other updates and additions, in the areas of: (i) training; (ii) service animals and support persons; and (iii) feedback.

Training Requirements

Previously, the Customer Service Standard had required organizations to train only those members who worked with customers or who created policies and procedures directed to how to interact with people with disabilities.

On July 1, 2016 the requirement was changed by section 80.49 of O. Reg. 191/11 such that all members of an organization, regardless of their role, must be trained on accessible customer service and how to interact with people with disabilities. This includes employees, volunteers, every person participating in developing the provider's policies, and every person who provides goods, services or facilities on behalf of the provider.

Service Animals and Support Persons

Prior to July 1, 2016 organizations had been permitted to ask a person with a disability to provide a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that a service animal was required as a result of his or her disability. Now, as a result of section 80.47 of O. Reg. 191/11, documentation from any "regulated health professional" must suffice, which significantly broadens the number of professionals who can provide the letter.

With regard to support persons, prior to O. Reg. 191/11 organizations could require that a person with a disability be accompanied by a support person for health and safety reasons. As of July 1, 2016 that standard has changed and requires that before making the decision to require a support person, an organization must: (i) consult with the disabled person to consider and understand their specific needs; (ii) consider the health and safety reasons for requiring a support person based on the available evidence; and (iii) determine whether there is another reasonable way to protect the health and safety of the person or other on the premises. If, having considered all of the above, the organization determines that a support person is required, any amount payable for admission to the premises must be waived for the support person.

Feedback

The Customer Service Standard had previously required organizations to provide a way for customers with disabilities to provide feedback about how the organization provides accessible customer service. As of July 1, 2016, section 80.50 of O. Reg. 191/11 requires organizations to ensure that this feedback process is itself accessible, by providing for accessible formats and communications supports, upon request.

Compliance

All organizations are reminded that they must comply with these changes effective July 1, 2016. In order to ensure compliance we recommend:

  1. Training all members of the organization (including volunteers) on accessible customer service.
  2. Update the training records.
  3. Update accessible customer service policies.

All organizations are also reminded to file their 2017 accessibility compliance report by December 31, 2017.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
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).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.