The Ontario government has just announced accessibility compliance audits targeting larger retail sector employers, to take place over the next 3 months. The stated goal of the audits is to ensure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”). Compliance checklists can help employers get ready for these kinds of audits, and are strongly recommended.

The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure will be conducting targeted audits of retail companies with 500 or more employees from October to December of 2015. No mention is made in the announcement about when employers in other sectors can expect similar government intervention. While the government has specifically mentioned multi-year accessibility plans and customized emergency plans for employees with disabilities, there are other requirements that employers must meet, such as filing an accessibility compliance report, establishing accessibility policies, making websites accessible, and providing training to employees on accessibility. Larger retail employers face this fall's more urgent timetable, but all employers, whether on the retail target list or not, are well-advised to be ready for compliance audits.

Employers can expect to be asked to provide copies of plans, policies and records of training, if audited.