Ontario employers should by now be well aware of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). All organizations with at least one employee in Ontario that provide goods or services to the public or other organizations have been required to comply with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (ASCS) — the first accessibility standard enacted under AODA — since January 1, 2012.
Ontario employers have established policies, practices and procedures governing their provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities, instituted mechanisms for notifying the public of temporary disruptions to facilities and services, implemented processes for receiving and responding to feedback, and provided accessibility training to staff. Now is the time to report on your organization’s compliance!
All organizations subject to the AODA that have 20 or more employees, and all designated public sector organizations regardless of the number of employees, must file a Customer Service Accessibility Compliance Report no later than December 31, 2012. The report confirms the organization’s compliance with the requirements of the ASCS and must be certified by an individual within the organization who has authority to bind the organization.
The good news is that the government has made reporting your compliance easy through an online tool that is available on ServiceOntario’s ONe-Source for Business website (www.ontario.ca/onesource). All you need is your organization’s business number (BN9), a nine-digit identifier found on your federal and provincial business tax returns. Using your BN9, you will be required to sign up for an account and, in the process, answer some basic questions about your organization.
Once you have your account, you can register for the Accessibility Compliance Reporting tool. You will be asked to identify yourself as a “certifier” (i.e., someone with authority to bind the organization). If you lack the authority to bind your organization, you may still complete the report, but it can only be submitted once a “certifier” approves it.
The final step is completing the Accessibility Compliance Reporting tool. The report itself is comprised of 15 “yes” or “no” questions that ask you to confirm that your organization meets each of the requirements of the ASCS. You can answer each question separately, or simply confirm that you meet all of the requirements and the tool will default the answer to “yes” for each question.
Organizations that are required to file a Customer Service Accessibility Compliance Report but fail to do so may be subject to a compliance order and/or an administrative penalty (amounts currently unknown). Your organization has worked hard to implement the requirements of the AODA and ASCS — now all you have to do is report on your efforts!