The deadlines for private and not-for-profit employers to comply with the “Employment Standard” under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) are quickly approaching. “Large” organizations (50 or more employees) must comply by January 1, 2016. “Small” organizations have until January 1, 2017.
Here is what is required for compliance:
When hiring, employers have to notify their employees, the public and applicants selected to participate in an assessment or selection process of the availability of accommodation for disability. Where an applicant requests an accommodation, employers must provide suitable accommodation. When making offers of employment, employers have to notify successful applicants of their policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.
Employers will have to inform employees of the policies used to support employees with disabilities, including policies on the provision of job accommodation, both when they begin their employment and whenever there is a change to the policies.
Where requested by an employee with a disability, employers will have to provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for information needed to perform the employee’s job, as well as information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.
Large employers will be required to develop and have in place a written process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities, including a significant list of prescribed mandatory elements of that process.
Return To Work
Large employers must also develop and have in place a return to work process for employees who have been absent from work due to disability and who require disability- related accommodations in order to return to work. The return to work process must be documented and must outline the steps the employer will take to facilitate the return to work of employees absent due to disability and must use documented individual accommodation plans as part of the process.
Employers using “performance management” (activities related to assessing and improving employee performance, productivity and effectiveness, with the goal of facilitating employee success) will be required to take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.
Career Development And Advancement
Employers providing “career development and advancement” (by providing additional responsibilities within an employee’s current job, or moving an employee from one job to another that may be higher in pay, provide greater responsibility or be at a higher level in the organization) must take into account the accessibility needs of its employees as well as any individual accommodation plan.
Employers using “redeployment” (the reassignment of employees to other departments or jobs within the organization as an alternative to layoff) must take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans.
Large employers must have all of the above policies and processes in place by January 1, 2016 in order to meet the compliance deadline. Failure to comply can result in orders, fines or penalties.