The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 ( “AODA”) develops, implements, and enforces accessibility standards with the aim of achieving accessibility for persons with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures, and premises.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards (the “IAS”) under AODA establishes accessibility standards for public and private sector organizations that provide goods, services or facilities to the public or other third parties.
Effective January 1, 2014, large employers in Ontario, were required to prepare an Accessibility Policy and a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. By January 1, 2015, large employers must ensure that their employees are trained on the IAS and the Human Rights Code. Employers must also comply with several other accessibility initiatives under the IAS by January 1, 2016.
Employers may expect notices from the government of Ontario reminding them to meet their AODA requirements and to file their 2014 Accessibility Report. Among other things, employers with fifty or more employees must report that they have Accessibility Policies in place and that a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan has been developed to help meet the requirements under the IAS. In addition, new websites (and old websites that are updated) must be accessible to persons with disabilities by conforming to international guidelines for website accessibility.
Employers are cautioned to comply with AODA and its regulations as significant penalties can be imposed for non-compliance.