Canada: School Boards Required To Comply With New Accessibility Standards

Last Updated: March 24 2010
Article by Kate A. Zavitz

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2016

On January 1, 2010, school boards, universities and colleges and other public sector organizations are required to be in compliance with Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the "Act"). Other providers of goods, services and facilities will be required to comply by January 1, 2012.

The primary purpose of the Act is to develop mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. The government intends to achieve the Act's purpose through five regulations establishing "accessibility standards". Each regulation is based on the activities of any given organization, namely whether an organization:

  1. provides goods, services or facilities;
  2. employs persons in Ontario;
  3. offers accommodation;
  4. owns or occupies a building, structure or premises; or
  5. is engaged in a prescribed business, activity or undertaking or meets such other requirements as may be prescribed.

The Customer Service Standard addresses the provision of "goods, services and facilities". It is the first regulation to come into force, with the remaining four regulations to be developed and enacted in due course.

Application To Education Sector

Designated public sector organizations are required to comply with the Customer Service Standard effective January 1, 2010. For the purpose of the regulation, the following are designated as "public sector organizations" under the regulation:

  • every district school board as defined in section 1 of the Education Act;
  • every college of applied arts and technology established under the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002;
  • every university in Ontario, including its affiliated and federated colleges, that receives operating grants from the Government of Ontario.

As noted earlier, providers of education goods, services and facilities outside the public sector will be required to comply with the Customer Service Standard by January 1, 2012.

Main Requirements

Compliance with the Customer Service Standard require organizations to establish and review policies, practices and procedures that are consistent with the following principles:

  1. The goods or services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
  2. The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others must be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services.
  3. Persons with disabilities must be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.

Furthermore, the policies must deal with the use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from the organization's services or the availability, if any, of other measures which enable them to do so.

The Customer Service Standard requires organizations to communicate with a person with a disability in a manner that "takes into account the person's disability." This will necessarily require a case-by-case assessment of how to best communicate with a person given his or her particular disability.

Presence Of Service Animals

The use of sevice animals by persons with disabilities must also be addressed in policies, practices and procedures. Where a person with a disability is accompanied by a "guide dog or other service animal", the organization shall permit the person to enter the premises with the animal and keep the animal with him or her, unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises. The situations in which an animal may be excluded by law include provincial and municipal laws concerning dangerous dogs, as well as health and safety legislation.

Where a service animal is excluded by law from the premises, the organization must ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the education provider's services.

It should be noted that a service animal is not limited to a "guide dog" as defined in the Blind Persons' Rights Act, but also includes a service animal that is used by a person with a disability "for reasons relating to his or her disability" and where the person has provided a "letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability." The Customer Service Standard also imposes new requirements regarding a support person who accompanies a person with a disability to assist him or her with access to goods or services. This may be of some interest to school boards in terms of accompaniment on excursions or specific cases of daily accompaniment.

Training For Staff

Employees and volunteers must receive training about providing services to persons with disabilities. Such training must include a review of the purposes of the Act, the requirements of the Customer Service Standard and instruction about the following matters:

  1. How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disability.
  2. How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a guide dog or other service animal or the assistance of a support person.
  3. How to use equipment or devices available on the provider's premises or otherwise provided by the provider that may help with the provision of goods or services to a person with a disability.
  4. What to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty accessing the provider's goods or services.

Training must be provided as soon as practicable after the employee or volunteer is engaged, and must also be provided on an ongoing basis.

The organization must prepare a document describing its training policy, including a summary of the contents of the training and details of when training is to be provided. Furthermore, the organization is required to keep records of the training provided, including the dates on which training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided.

Documents To Be Made Available

The following documents must be provided upon request:

  • ` a document describing its policies, practices and procedures regarding services for persons with disabilities,
  • a document describing its policies, practices and procedures with respect to service animals and support persons,
  • a document that sets out the steps to be taken in connection with a temporary disruption, and
  • a document describing the organization's feedback process regarding service to persons with disabilities.

Notice Of Availability Of Documents

The organization is required to provide notice that documents required by the Customer Service Standard are available upon request. The notice may be given by posting the information at a conspicuous place on the premises, by posting it on the organization's website or any other "reasonable method in the circumstances."

Format Of Documents

Where the Customer Service Standard requires an organization to provide a copy of a document to a person with a disability (e.g. a copy of the policies, practices and procedures), the organization must give the person a document in a format that "takes into account the person's disability."

Other Accessibility And Disability Obligations

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 is another layer of obligations with respect to accommodating disabilities. School boards, colleges and universities remain obligated to comply with the Education Act, the Ontario Human Rights Code, collective agreements, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act, 2000, all of which impose requirements and obligations respecting disability, workplace injury and accommodation issues for employees as well as those who receive education services. While the Customer Service Standard adds another layer of policy and procedure, the overarching principles of inclusion and accommodation for persons with disabilities is a familiar theme and one with which the education sector has significant experience.

About BLG

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

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

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
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
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (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

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’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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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

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