Starting January 1, 2012, private sector employers in Ontario must comply with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, the first of what will ultimately be five standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This first standard will require businesses that provide goods or services to:

  • Develop policies, practices and procedures about how the business will provide goods and services to the disabled;
  • Provide "accessibility" training to staff that deals with the public as well as to internal policy makers who participate in developing the business's policies regarding access to the goods and services by the public;
  • Allow disabled persons who are accompanied by service animals (e.g., a guide dog) or a support person to have access to the premises of the business; and
  • Provide a public notice of any temporary disruptions that affect access to goods or services by disabled persons.

Private sector businesses with twenty or more employees face additional requirements, on reporting, avenues for feedback from disabled persons, and proof of compliance. For more information, please see Heenan Blaikie's Labour and Employment in the News, "Ontario Announces New Obligations for Meeting the Needs of People with Disabilities" (pdf).