Accessibility and Accommodation - It’s the Law
September 23, 2016, by Tam Campbell Trant | Work Environment and Policies
By 2025, all establishments in Ontario are required to improve accessibility for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities in 5 main areas: Customer Service, Information and Communications, Employment, Transportation and Design of Public Spaces (Built Environment).
Canadians with disabilities are protected from discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and provincial human rights legislation. Within Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires both public and private establishments to eliminate barriers for individuals with disabilities.
The requirements and deadlines depend on the type and size of the organization (https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-laws). However, as of January 1, 2016, organizations with 1 to 49 employees must now publish the availability of, and provide, accessible feedback processes upon request, and must ensure employees have received training relevant to their jobs on the duty to accommodate persons with disabilities.
Organizations with more than 50 employees must now meet the expectations above, as well as communicate and provide accessible information to all of its employees and ensure HR practices consider accessibility in the areas of recruitment, accommodation, performance management, training, career development and return-to-work processes, in writing when required.
Accommodations have a big impact to accessibility – and these accommodations can be quite simple. Below are some examples of accommodations when recruiting:
Applicants with vision impairments can utilize online application tools using accessible formats or can be provided with a paper form with larger fonts.
Applicants with hearing impairments can utilize TTY Relay Service for telephone interviews or can utilize technology to provide answers in written format.
Onsite interview accessibility can be addressed by creating space for mobility devices such as wheelchairs, or by ensuring there is ample room for a service animal.
There are still almost 9 years until all the requirements under AODA fully come into effect to ensure accessibility for all Ontarians. If you’re unsure of what deadlines have already passed, or what you need to do to become compliant, or for more information on how to implement AODA accommodations into your workplace, contact HR à la carte at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888.919.7422.
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