The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005 and applies to all levels of government, non-profit organizations and private sector businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, or contract).
The AODA is made up of five standards including:
- Customer Service Standard
- Information and Communication Standard
- Employment Standard
- Transportation Standard
- Design of Public Spaces Standard.
The AODA standards are part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). The IASR includes applicable requirements specific to each standard as well as the following general requirements:
- Provide training to staff and volunteers
- Develop an accessibility policy
- Create a multi-year accessibility plan and update it every five years.
There are a number of requirements set out in the IASR that will come into effect in 2017 for both small and large organizations. For specific requirements, refer to the Regulation.
- Notify its employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment processes.
- During a recruitment process, notify job applicants, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process, that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used.
- If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for the provision of a suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant's accessibility needs due to disability.
- When making offers of employment, notify the successful applicant of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.
- Inform employees of its policies used to support its employees with disabilities, including, but not limited to, policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee's accessibility needs due to disability.
- Provide updated information to employees whenever there is a change to existing policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee's accessibility needs due to disability.
- Where an employee with a disability so requests it, consult with the employee to provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for, (a) information that is needed in order to perform the employee's job; and (b) information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.
- If applicable, take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when using performance management processes in respect of employees with disabilities.
- If applicable, take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as any individual accommodation plans, when providing career development and advancement to employees with disabilities.
- If applicable, take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when redeploying employees with disabilities.
By January 1, 2017, private and not-for-profit organizations with 50+ employees will have to make accessible, new or redeveloped:
- Recreational trails and beach access routes
- Off-street parking lots
- Service counters
- Fixed queuing guides
- Waiting areas with fixed seating.
By December 31, 2017, organizations with 20+ employees will need to file an online compliance report with the government confirming their continued compliance with the AODA.
The maximum monetary penalties under the AODA for non-compliance include:
- Up to $100,000 per day for a corporation/organization that is found guilty.
- Up to $50,000 per day for directors and officers of a corporation/organization that is found guilty.