Approximately 1.85 million people in Ontario have a disability, which works out to one in seven people. As the population ages the number will rise to one in every five Ontarians. The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ("AODA" or the "Act") is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. To achieve that goal, accessibility standards were developed in five key areas of daily living: customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces. Ontario is also working to develop new accessibility standards for health care and education to remove barriers.
The third review of the AODA is being led by the former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David C. Onley. Section 41 of the Act calls for a comprehensive review of the legislation and its effectiveness every three years. The review includes consulting with the public, in particular people with disabilities, in order to make recommendations.
Until October 1, 2018 written submissions will be accepted, with the goal of creating a report that captures views from the public, businesses and communities on accessibility in Ontario.
In the meantime, organizations must continue to ensure they are in compliance with the AODA and O. Reg. 191/11, Integrated Accessibility Standards ("IASR"). Upcoming deadlines, for private and non-profit organizations with more than 50 employees, include:
- December 31, 2020: File Compliance Report under the IASR General Requirements; and
- By 2021: Make all Internet website and web content conform with WCAG 2.0 level AA (excluding live captioning and audio description) under the Information & Communications Standard.