AODA Compliance – Don’t Report Failure

All organizations with at least one employee in Ontario need to comply with the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). The purpose of the AODA is to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities.

Unfortunately, compliance with the Code and AODA are not interchangeable. AODA contains a separate, though related, set of obligations from the Human Rights Code (“Code”).  Where the Code provides basic guarantees and enshrines general rights and prohibitions, AODA contains very specific obligations that require both practical and technical compliance.

There are five accessibility standards: the Customer Service Standard, the Information & Communication Standard, the Employment Standard, the Transportation Standard, and the Design of Public Spaces Standard.

All of the Standards are contained in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the “Integrated Standard”). The Customer Service Standard was the first standard to be enacted under the AODA. It has applied to public sector organizations since January 1, 2010 and has applied to all private sector organizations with at least one employee in Ontario since January 1, 2012. The purpose of the Customer Service Standard is to provide accessibility in the provision of goods and services to people with disabilities. Although it was created as a standalone Standard, it was amended and incorporated into the Integrated Standard on July 1, 2016.

The requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standard vary and have rolling deadlines depending on the size (over or under 50 employees in Ontario) and the nature of the organization (whether the organization is considered a public sector or a private sector organization under the legislation).  The last compliance reports were due by December 31, 2017. The next are due December 31 of 2020 and 2023, respectively.

Organizations with at least 50 employees must meet website accessibility requirements on any “signifiant refresh”, and in any event by no later than January 2021 all website content for these employers must meet nearly all WCAG 2.0AA standards.

It is important for employers to keep on top of their AODA compliance deadlines. Our firm has developed a turn-key suite of services to help organizations quickly and effectively meet their compliance obligations.

  1. We can advise on the AODA compliance deadlines specific to your organization and what must be done in order to achieve compliance;
  2. We can help you to develop policies that address your particular organization;
  3. We can provide in-house or remote webinar training to your management team, to help you understand the new legislation, what is required of your organization and management’s role in the development and implementation of new policies, practices and procedures now required by law.
  4. We can provide in-house or remote, webinar training to your employees and obligated third parties. Through that training we can help you comply with that obligation and roll out your new policy, practices and procedures.

For more information please contact our AODA practice group:

Jeremy Schwartz at [email protected] or 416-862-7011