On January 1, 2013 two regulations amending the AODA’s Customer Service Standard and Integrated Standard came into force. The Customer Service Standard was amended to include a new schedule for submission of accessibility reports, and the Integrated Standard was amended to include new Built Environment standards regarding the design of public spaces.
Customer Service Standard Amendments
The Customer Service Standard was amended to require that organizations file an accessibility report according to the following schedule:
- Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly, annually.
- designated public sector organizations, every two years.
- large (50 or more employees) organizations, every three years.
The reporting schedule begins to apply as of January 1, 2013, with the first report being due on December 31, 2014 for large organizations, and one year earlier for the remaining entities specified above.
Integrated Standard Amendments (the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces)
The Integrated Standard was amended to include accessibility standards for the built environment that focus on removing barriers in public spaces, as previously discussed here. The Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces (the Public Spaces Standard) applies to the following:
- recreational trails/beach access routes;
- outdoor public eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas;
- outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds or provincial parks and local communities;
- outdoor paths of travel like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps; rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals;
- parking (on and off street);
- service related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas; and
- the maintenance and restoration of public spaces.
The Public Spaces standard applies to those obligated organizations that construct or redevelop any of the aforementioned public spaces, and will be phased in according to the following schedule:
- Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly, January 1, 2015;
- designated public sector organizations, January 1, 2016;
- large (50 or more employees) organizations, January 1, 2017; and
- small (less than 50 employees) organizations, January 1, 2018.
The Standard defines “redeveloped” as a planned significant alteration to a public space, but does not include maintenance activities, environmental mitigation or environmental restoration.
Built environment accessibility standards focusing on the removal of barriers from buildings will come into force at a later date through Ontario’s Building Code, which governs new construction and renovations. Public consultation on accessibility in buildings is now underway. Until March 1, 2013 members of the public can submit comments to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing by clicking here.