The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the "AODA") and its associated regulations set out specific standards that employers and providers of goods and services must comply with, and the dates by which compliance must be achieved. Private sector not-for-profit organizations in Ontario need to be aware of the following upcoming December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015 deadlines:
By December 31, 2014, obligated private and not-for-profit organizations must file a 2014 accessibility compliance report. Organizations can access step-by-step instructions for filing their reports on the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment & Infrastructure's website:http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/customerservice/report_online.aspx
- By January 1, 2015:
- Small organizations (with at least one but fewer than 50 employees in Ontario) must establish accessibility policies. Educational or training institutions must provide resources or materials and student records and information in accessible formats if notification of need is given. Educators must also be provided with accessibility awareness training.
- Large organizations (with 50 or more employees in Ontario) must ensure that training is provided on the requirements of the accessibility standards and the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities to all employees, volunteers, persons who develop policies and all persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization. Processes for receiving and responding to feedback must be accessible to persons with disabilities by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communications supports, upon request.
- Every obligated organization that is a producer of educational or training textbooks shall upon request make accessible or conversion ready textbooks available to educational or training institutions. Obligated libraries of educational or training institutions shall provide, procure or acquire an accessible or conversion ready format of print materials for a person with a disability, upon request.
Many of the AODA's deadlines have already past, including the January 1, 2014 deadlines applicable to large organizations for establishing accessibility policies and making any new websites conform with specific standards on an ongoing basis.