Recent calls from clients seeking AODA “certification” suggest that there may be some confusion out there as to what organizations are required to do in order to comply with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. I expect people are calling now because the December 31, 2012 deadline to file an accessibility report with the government is growing closer. Understandably, they want to ensure they are doing everything necessary to be compliant. As many organizations are expected to meet this deadline, now is a good time to clarify the expectations of this regulation.
Simply put, for organizations of 20 or more employees, the Accessibility Standards require the following:
- Create an Accessible Customer Service Plan
- Train Your Employees
- Document Your Actions
- Report on Compliance
While there are a variety of AODA services available in the marketplace, the fact is that the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) does not require organizations be to “certified” in order to be compliant. In fact, if your organization was subjected to an audit, the ADO would not ask to see a certificate but instead would ask that you show that you have met the requirements listed above.
Through careful planning, you can develop a policy and training program that will meet all the specific obligations contained in the Accessibility Standards and this, rather than a certificate, is what will allow you to positively report on your compliance by year’s end.