Has your Ontario-based company met the requirements that came into effect January 1, 2014 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the “AODA”)? Lexology.com shares the following key points that are now required under Ontario.
The purpose of the AODA is to create a “barrier-free Ontario” for persons with disabilities through the implementation of a number of general requirements, along with five “Accessibility Standards” in the areas of: Customer Service; Information and Communications; Employment; Transportation; and Design of Public Spaces.
If your organization has 50 or more employees, as of January 1, 2014 you are now also required to comply with some general requirements as well as requirements under the Information and Communications Standard.
- The Establishment of Accessibility Policies and Multi-Year Accessibility Plans
You must develop, implement, and maintain policies setting out how you will meet your obligations under the AODA. These policies must include a statement of organizational commitment to meet the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner and must be made available to the public. In addition, you must establish, implement, maintain, and document a multi-year accessibility plan outlining your strategy to meet your obligations under the AODA. The multi-year accessibility plan must be posted on your website and must be updated at least once every five years.
- Incorporation of Accessibility Features for Self-Service Kiosks
If your organization designs or plans to acquire self-service kiosks, such as a self-checkout at a grocery store, you must now have regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities when designing, procuring, or acquiring self-service kiosks. This requirement applies only to new kiosks.
- Accessible Websites
If your organization has a website, you must ensure that it complies with certain accessibility guidelines, in two stages. As of January 1, 2014 new internet websites and new web content must comply with “Level A” of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.0. For example, websites need to be fully functional through the use of a keyboard. All internet websites and web content (retroactive to January 1, 2012) must comply with WCAG at “Level AA” by January 1, 2021.
By December 31, 2014, you must file an online accessibility report to confirm your organization is in compliance with these new requirements, and remains in compliance with any requirements that came into force at an earlier date.
Many obligations under the AODA will not be in effect for a number of years, such as the requirements under the Employment Standard. However, the requirement to develop and publicize accessibility policies and multi-year accessibility plans now means that you must consider well in advance how your organization will meet these future obligations. As these accessibility policies and multi-year accessibility plans will be readily available to the public, you will want to ensure your organization has an effective strategy in place for remaining in compliance with the AODA.
Learn more about the requirements of the AODA with ILScorp’s compliance training programs. The ILScorp AODA course has been accredited from RIBO for 1 credit hour in the Management Category. Electronic records for all staff who have completed the training are kept by ILScorp in case of an audit. Compliance includes training all employees on AODA standards. Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $100,000. Training with ILS can be completed completely online for only $30 per person. Register your staff today!