With one in seven people in Ontario having a disability, the Province of Ontario is requiring that workplaces are accessible to everyone. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 creates province-wide accessibility standards to improve accessibility by identifying, breaking down and preventing barriers to accessibility. The Accessible Customer Service standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) are mandatory for all Ontario businesses and organizations with one or more employees that provide goods or services directly to the public. They came into effect on January 1, 2012.
If organizations are non-compliant, the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) will use enforcement tools to achieve compliance. If compliance assistance efforts are not successful, organizations that are not compliant may be issued an administrative penalty. The current proposed range of penalties is from $200 to $155,000.
The MCSS has numerous tools online to assist organizations.
Organizations that have less than 20 employees are required to:
- Create your plan
- Train your staff
To create your place, a guide is available including a template. Tools are available online for organizations with less than 20 employees to assist with staff training.
Organizations with 20 or more employees are required to:
- Create your plan
- Train your staff and keep a training log
- Put it on paper and ensure your customers know it’s available
- Inform the Ministry of Community and Social Services of your compliance efforts via their website. Organizations have until December 31, 2012 to file your report. The Ministry will make this available as of January 1, 2012.
There are many methods to become compliant with the AODA. Regardless of the chosen method, it is important that all organizations take the time to become compliant and avoid potential fines.
On February 15th, Kelly Santini LLP will be hosting a webinar to outline the steps each employer must take to ensure compliance with the new law. For more information or to register, please click here.