What is the AODA?
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is an act of the Ontario Provincial Parliament that aims to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. In effect as of 13 June 2005, the Act applies to all private businesses, non-profit organizations, and all levels of government in Ontario. For employers with one or more employees, the AODA applies whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or on contract.
To achieve accessibility, the AODA establishes five standards that recognize five areas of daily life:
- Customer service standard
- Information and communications standard
- Transportation standard
- Employment standard
- Design of public spaces standard
Together, these standards work towards making Ontario more accessible by ensuring people with disabilities can participate more actively in their communities.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR)
Each AODA standard extends from both the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) and the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC). In addition to the regulations set out for each area, the IASR establishes a number of requirements, including that, all obligated organizations are to:
- Develop, implement and maintain accessibility policies;
- Establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan;
- Consider accessibility design, criteria, and features in procurement, when acquiring goods, services or facilities or in purchasing self-service kiosks; and
- Provide accessibility training to employees and volunteers.
The AODA for Employers
When it comes to accessibility standards for employment, the Act focuses on making hiring and employment practices more accessible by accommodating the needs of employees and job applicants who have disabilities. The Employment Standard is a framework for incorporating accessibility into regular workplace processes.
As such, the accessibility laws for employment cover:
- Offer of employment
- Disabilities policy
- Job accommodations
- Emergency response information for the workplace
- Return to work process
- Performance management
- Career development and advancement
- Organizational restructuring
As an employer, do you know how the AODA applies to your business? If your business is found in violation of the Act, you may be subject to monetary penalties depending on evaluations of your actions as being minor, moderate, or major. Under the AODA, the maximum daily penalties are as follows:
- Corporations: $100,000.00
- Individuals or unincorporated organizations: $50,000.00
It’s important to take the time to understand your obligations and responsibilities around making your workplace accessible.
Need help applying the AODA to your business?
Let Employer Line answer your questions when it comes to asking for employer advice, compliance, or how Ontario’s labour laws impact your business. Together with Peninsula, we have the resources to help your business grow. Call our complimentary employer helpline to speak with our HR experts right away – 1-833-247-3650.