Making the Workplace an Accessible Place: One Obligation At a Time

Feb 24, 2015

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005, (the “AODA”), is a statute aimed at developing, implementing and enforcing standards that promote accessibility for people with disabilities in Ontario. This law is being phased-in over 20 years.

The AODA has the potential to improve many Canadian’s lives but it faces one major problem: lack of compliance. According to Canadian HR Reporter, about 70% of employers were not complying with AODA as of November 2013. The reality is: many small employers are simply not aware of AODA.

That’s where we come in. This blog provides a basic overview of some of the obligations that are imposed on employers under AODA. Some deadlines have passed while others are fast approaching.

The Customer Service Standard

AODA has an Accessible Customer Service Standard. A summary of this standard is found here.

Did you know that the obligations set out in this standard should have been completed in 2012?

For Ontario employers, a step-by-step guide to complying with this standard is found here.

Following this, on or before December 31, 2014, obligated organizations with 20 or more employees should have filed a second report informing the AODA that they are still complying and achieving accessibility under the Customer Service Standard. Have you?

Obligations as of January 2014

That’s not all. As of January 1, 2014, new obligations were imposed on employers with 50 or more employees. You can find that information here.

New Obligations as of January 2015

There’s more. As of January 1, 2015, the following obligations took effect:

1.All employees and others providing services on behalf of an organization with 50 or more employees must receive training on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities and the Integrated Standards. For example, you can receive training on how to best accommodate workers who suffer from a mental illness such as anxiety or depression.

2. Organizations with 50 or more employees must ensure that their feedback processes can be administered in accessible formats and with communication supports, upon request.

3. Organizations with less than 50 employees must ensure that they have developed and implemented accessibility policies describing how the organization will achieve accessibility and compliance with the Integrated Standards.

4. Organizations with less than 50 employees must have regard to accessibility issues when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosk.

The Employment Standard

Perhaps the most onerous obligations for employers are set out in the Employment Standard. A summary of these standards is found here.

The Employment Standard takes effect for private sector organizations with 50 or more employees on January 1, 2016. Stay tuned for more information about these new obligations. Please don’t wait until December of this year to start complying!!

For private sector organizations with less than 50 employees the Employment Standard takes effect on January 1, 2017.

And I repeat: don’t wait until December of this year to start complying!

If you have any questions about your organization’s AODA obligations, please contact Doug MacLeod at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected] at your convenience.

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