Further to my article on the Customer Service Standard which came into force January 1, 2012 in respect of goods and service providers in Ontario pursuant to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”); annual compliance reports are due on or before December 31, 2012.
Organizations with 20 or more employees (both in the private sector and not-for profit organizations), in addition to abiding by the compliance requirements listed below must file compliance reports with the Ministry of Community and Social Services updating the Ministry on their progress, as further outlined on their website, here. The Ministry provides an easy on-line tool aiming to help organizations file their compliance reports in a timely and efficient manner.
As previously outlined, in order to comply with the Customer Service Standard, organizations in Ontario who provide goods or services to the public and have at least one (1) employee must do as follows:
- Establish policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities, including ensuring that they are consistent with the core principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.
- Ensure that the policies address the usage of assistive devices, as well as the usage of service animals and support persons.
- Ensure that they communicate with persons with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their disability.
- Train all persons (employees, agents, contractors or volunteers) who act on their behalf and all persons who participate in the development of policies, practices and procedures, regarding the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
- Provide for a feedback process readily accessible to the public.
- Provide notice of temporary disruption of services or facilities usually used by persons with disabilities.
- Provide information as to admission fees, where charged for a support person of a person with a disability.
Please note that the Ministry has also provided a general compliance wizard outlining upcoming compliance requirements and obligations under AODA that Ontario organizations should be aware of and which will serve as a useful tool alerting organizations to upcoming deadlines.
Margaret Bramhill is an employment lawyer at the firm, who advises employer clients on their obligations under such Ontario legislation as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Please feel free to contact her directly for any further information on what you or your organization needs to do in order to be in compliance with AODA going forward.