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All private and not-for-profit employers have to comply with the "Employment Standard" under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ("AODA"). "Large" organizations (those with 50 or more employees) have to comply by January 1, 2016, while "Small" organizations have until January 1, 2017.

Here’s what you need to do to comply:

Hiring

When hiring, employers have to notify their employees, the public and job applicants of the availability of accommodation for disability. Where an applicant requests an accommodation, employers must provide suitable accommodation. When making offers of employment, employers have to notify successful applicants of their policies for accommodation of employees with disabilities.

Support Policies

Employers have to inform employees of the policies available to support employees with disabilities, including policies on the provision of job accommodation, both when they begin their employment and whenever there is a change to the policies.

Communication Supports

Where requested by an employee with a disability, employers have to provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for information needed to perform the employee’s job, as well as information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.

Accommodation Plans

Large employers are required to develop and have in place a written process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities, including a significant list of prescribed mandatory elements of that process.

Return To Work

Large employers must also develop and have in place a return to work process for employees who have been absent from work due to disability and who require disability-related accommodations in order to return. The return to work process has to be documented and must outline the steps the employer will take to facilitate the return to work of employees absent due to disability using documented individual accommodation plans as part of the process.

Performance Management

Employers using "performance management" (activities related to assessing and improving employee performance, productivity and effectiveness, with the goal of facilitating employee success) will be required to take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.

Career Development And Advancement

Employers providing "career development and advancement" (by providing additional responsibilities within an employee’s current job, or moving an employee from one job to another that may be higher in pay, provide greater responsibility or be at a higher level in the organization) must take into account the accessibility needs of its employees as well as any individual accommodation plan.

Redeployment

Employers using "redeployment" (the reassignment of employees to other departments or jobs within the organization as an alternative to layoff) must also take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans.

Action Items

As a Large employer you must have all of the these policies and processes in place byJanuary 1, 2016 in order to meet the compliance deadline. Failure to comply can result in orders, fines or penalties.