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Are you ready for AODA?

September 26, 2011, by

Corina Sibley

| Work Environment and Policies

January 1, 2012 deadline is fast approaching.

If your business serves customers in Ontario, whether your business is based in Ontario or not, and you have at least one employee in Ontario, you will need to be compliant with the Customer Service Standard of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) by January 1, 2012.

What is AODA?

Simply put, AODA’s goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities.  It will ensure that Ontarians with disabilities have access to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, building structures and premises by January 1, 2025.  The first standard to be enforced is the Customer Service Standard, and in fact, this Standard has already been enforced in the public sector since January 1, 2010.  There are five standards in all, with four having been made into law and a fifth being finalized.  The standards are:

  1. Customer Service Standard
  2. Transportation Standard
  3. Employment Standard
  4. Information and Communications Standard
  5. Built Environment Standard (work is continuing on this standard)

 

What do you need to do?

There are two categories of businesses: businesses with 20 or more employees, and businesses with less than 20 employees.  The compliance requirements for both are as follows:

Less than 20 employees:

  • Create and institute an accessibility plan
  • Train employees

20+ employees:

  • Create and institute an accessibility plan
  • Train employees
  • Publish the plan and make it accessible to customers in at least one alternative format, e.g. large print
  • Report progress online to the government

Need help?

For more assistance, the government of Ontario has free resources available to help businesses become compliant.  We also have an AODA Toolkit  which includes a Customer Service Standard Policy and training deck for immediate implementation at your business.  For immediate help on learning more about AODA and how to become compliant, please contact one of our HR professionals at 1-888-919-7422.

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