About the AODA
Useful Accessibility Links
- Ministry of Community and Social Services
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005
- Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
- Integrated Accessibility Standards
- ACCESS ON
- Serve-Ability Training
- A Customer’s Handbook: What Ontario’s Accessible Customer Service Standard Means to You (PDF)
- File your Accessibility Compliance Report
- Proposed AODA Built Environment Standards (July, 2010) (Word)
- CSA B651, Accessible Design for the Built Environment
- 2010 American Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards
Answers to your questions about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
What is AODA? What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, requires public and private sector organizations to comply with mandatory standards that remove and prevent barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.
- The legislation is part of the Ontario Provincial Government’s plan to ensure that, by 2025, people with disabilities are able to participate in and enjoy the opportunities available to people without disabilities.
- The Ontario Government is introducing five sets of mandatory standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Standards require public and private sector organizations to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility for customers and employees with disabilities. The Standards are:
- Customer Service Standard
- Integrated Accessibility Regulation
- Information and Communications
- Built Environment
- The first set of standards to come into effect relates to customer service and affects organizations that provide goods and services to the public. Public sector organizations must comply by January 1, 2010; private sector firms by January 1, 2012.
- The Integrated Accessibility Regulation (encompassing the Information and Communication, Employment and Transportation) has various deadlines beginning as early as July 1, 2011 (for transportation providers).
When and how do the Customer Service standards affect me?
- Public sector organizations must have complied as of January 1, 2010; private sector firms must comply by January 1, 2012.
- Compliance involves such activities as:
- Developing, implementing and publicly posting policies, practices and procedures;
- Enabling people to use their own personal assistive devices to access your goods and use your services;
- Making your workplace barrier-free; and
- Reporting annually on your compliance to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (for organizations with more than 20 employees).
How does the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation affect me?
- On June 3rd, 2011, the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards became law. This set of standards includes three of the five that are part of the Government of Ontario’s plan to remove barriers and create a province that is accessible for all residents.
- The Integrated Accessibility Standards barriers in the areas of Employment, Information and Communication, and Transportation. The three new standards will require organizations to develop accessibility policies and plans, train employees and meet specific requirements for each of the Employment, Information and Communication, and Transportation Standards.
- The first requirement took effect July 1, 2011 and applies only to conventional public transportation providers.
- Requirements under these standards vary by organization size (threshold is 50 employees) and sector (public or private / not-for-profit).
- General requirements include creating accessibility policies and plans, and providing for accessibility as part of procurement and in self-service kiosks.
- The Information and Communication Standards require that websites and web content comply with web accessibility guidelines; accessible formats and communication supports are provided; emergency procedure, plans and public safety information be provided in an accessible format; and educational and training material providers and libraries address accessibility of information.
- The Employment Standards require that organizations provide equal opportunity throughout the employment lifecycle. Recruitment, assessment, selection, information sharing, accessible formats, communication supports and workplace emergency response information, accommodation plans, return to work process, performance management, career development and advancement and redeployment are addressed.
- The Transportation Standards affect conventional and specialized transportation providers from fares to seating to announcements. It also affects other transportation services, such as school transportation and ferries, and outlines duties of municipalities and taxicabs.
When do I need to comply with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation?
- The Ministry of Community and Social Services has published a calendar (PDF). Timelines for compliance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation are detailed by sector.
How does the Built Environment Standard affect me?
- The final standards, yet to be proclaimed, apply to the Built Environment. They will apply to all new construction and renovation and will be integrated with the Ontario Building Code.
- These standards will not apply to private homes.
- As of yet, there is no specific information about when the Built Environment Standards will become law.
Do I need to comply?
- Simply put, if your organization has at least one employee with a phone on their desk, or who interacts with people who don’t work for your organization, you must comply.
- The accessibility standard for customer service applies to every designated public sector organization and to every other person or organization that provides goods or services to members of the public or other third parties and that has at least one employee in Ontario. Organizations with 20 or more employees are required to report compliance annually.
Why is the government introducing the AODA?
- Healthy communities ensure that each person in the community has the opportunity to live life to his or her fullest potential. Canada’s governments are changing the laws so that people with disabilities can achieve independence, self-reliance and full community participation.
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is being implemented by the Province of Ontario so that businesses are barrier-free for customers and employees with disabilities. AccessAbility Advantage can help both public and private sector organizations navigate the system to comply with the new regulations.
Where do I start?
- Know exactly what the standards mean for you and your business. AccessAbility Advantage can help.
- AccessAbility Advantage provides customized AODA Compliance Strategies. We recommend a clear, customized action plan based on information gathered from you.
What happens if my business is not in compliance?
- Under the Customer Service Standards, the government will apply fines of up to $50,000 per day or part day for Directors and Officers, and fines of up to $100,000 per day or part day for the corporation.
How will being compliant help my business?
- Approximately 1.85 million people with disabilities (one in seven) live in Ontario.
- In Canada, the buying power of persons with disabilities is now estimated to be $25 billion, a figure that more than doubles when you factor in the influence these individuals have on the spending decisions of friends and families. Source: Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Province of Ontario Research Report; WCG International Consultants Ltd. in cooperation with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
- It makes good business sense to be accessible to people with disabilities; it boosts your bottom line, your image in your community and your relationship with employees.
Will there be costs associated with AODA compliance for our organization?
- That depends on how much accessibility your organization has already built into its structure, policies and practices. Organizations just starting out can expect upfront costs related to undertaking accessibility assessments, consulting support and training.
- The other side of the equation, i.e. your return on investment, is well worth considering: companies that take the extra step of offering inclusively designed products, services and environments open doors to a consumer market worth $25 billion. That is the estimated spending power of people with disabilities, according to an RBC study in 2000 – just the tip of the iceberg when you consider these individuals influence the purchasing decisions of an additional 12 to 15 million Canadians every year.
- According to research published by The Martin Prosperity Institute (affiliated with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management), the impact of AODA on the Ontario economy over the next five years could result in an annual increase in revenues in the range of $3.9 billion to $11.1 billion for retail and tourism alone.