Have you taken a look at your organization’s upcoming deadlines under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”)?

By January 1, 2021, certain private-sector organizations will be required to meet the following key deadlines:

  • December 31, 2020: Filing an Accessibility Compliance Report; and
  • January 1, 2021: Making website and web content accessible

Previous Deadline: Section 4(1) of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the “IASR”) under the AODA required large organizations (i.e. those with 50 or more employees) to have a multi-year accessibility plan in place by January 1, 2014, and requires large organizations to review and update their existing multi-year accessibility plan at least once every five years. As a result, large organizations ought to have completed a review and update of their multi-year accessibility plan by January 1, 2019.

Filing An Accessibility Compliance Report

Organizations with 20 or more employees are required to file an Accessibility Compliance Report every three years following the initial compliance report that was due on December 31, 2014. The Accessibility Compliance Report is an organization’s self-assessment of its compliance with Ontario’s accessibility requirements. Organizations with 20 or more employees have until December 31, 2020 to file their updated and required Accessibility Compliance Reports.

Making websites and web content accessible

Subject to certain exceptions, by January 1, 2021, large organizations (i.e. 50 or more employees) or a public sector organization are required to make all external internet websites and web content accessible by conforming with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.0 Level AA, as outlined in the IASR. Guidelines to assist Ontario organizations with providing accessible websites may be found here.

This includes websites and web content (including web-based applications), that an organization controls, directly or indirectly, where the organization has overall control over the functionality, content and appearance of the website. This requirement does not extend to a large organization’s internal websites.

What are your organization’s next steps?

For organizations with 20 or more employees who are required to file an Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2020, a compliance audit should be initiated in advance of this filing deadline.

This will give organizations ample time to consider any changes in the workforce or workplace since their last compliance report deadline and ensure that all practices, policies and procedures required under the AODA are in place before the December 31, 2020 deadline to file an Accessibility Compliance Report.

Those large organizations and public sector organizations should keep in mind the upcoming January 1, 2021 deadline to make all internet websites and web content accessible.

Employers are encouraged to think proactively about their obligations under the AODA.