AODA Compliance Explained

What is AODA? The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005. Under this landmark legislation, the government of Ontario developed mandatory accessibility standards that […]

What is AODA?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005. Under this landmark legislation, the government of Ontario developed mandatory accessibility standards that organizations must follow to become more accessible.

This Act made Ontario the first province to take action to increase accessibility for people who live with disabilities. For over 10 years, AODA training has been required in Ontario. However, some employers and workers are still unfamiliar with the terms accessibility and disability. Furthermore, many organizations fail to provide AODA training to their workers and/or volunteers.

The goal for the province is to be fully accessible by 2025. All levels of government, private sectors, and non-profits must comply. The purpose of the AODA is to develop, implement, and enforce accessibility standards so that all Ontarians will benefit from accessible services, programs, and employment. 

AODA training gives employees basic knowledge about accessibility and how it impacts people with disabilities. We often think of disabilities as either physical or visible. However, AODA includes all disabilities: physical, visible, and invisible disabilities, such as learning and mental health disabilities.

AODA regulations & compliance?

Ontario businesses must follow the Ontario Regulation 191/11: Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) to prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities. In 2016, the five standards of the AODA were consolidated under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).

The five standards are:

  1. Information and Communication – Outlines requirements for organizations to create, provide, and receive information and communications that are accessible for people with disabilities.
  2. Employment – Requires that employers must make their workplace and employment practices accessible to potential or current employees with disabilities.
  3. Transportation – Sets out the requirements for transportation service providers. Particularly, features and equipment on vehicles, routes, and services offered must be accessible to people with disabilities.
  4. Design of Public Spaces – Outlines the need for newly constructed or redeveloped public spaces to be accessible for people with disabilities.
  5. Customer Service – Outlines requirements for removing barriers so that people with disabilities can access goods, services, and/or facilities.

When is compliance with the AODA mandatory in Ontario?

Written into the AODA is a time frame within which government, public-sector groups and organizations of different sizes must comply with the accessibility standards. The Ontario government’s goal is for the province to become completely accessible by 2025.

It’s important to note that there’s already human rights legislation in place in Ontario that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The AODA doesn’t replace the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, it does set out clear processes for covered entities to follow as they ensure their practices and policies are AODA compliant.

There are good business reasons for organizations to serve the people of this province in a fully accessible manner. Today, there are 1.85 million people with disabilities living in Ontario, which breaks down to 15% of the total population, and 40% of those over the age of 65. Many more come to visit, as the province is home to North America’s fourth-largest city, Toronto, a cultural and business centre; and to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, another top tourist destination.

It’s estimated that a more accessible province will increase the gross domestic product by as much as $600 a year per capita. On an annual basis, it’s estimated that people with disabilities spend $25 billion throughout Canada.

The AODA compliance dates and time frames depend on the individual accessibility standards.

AODA training importance

AODA training gives employees basic knowledge about accessibility and how it impacts people with disabilities. AODA training is required if you are a paid worker, a volunteer, or a new worker. You need to take AODA training if you:

  • Provide goods, services, or facilities on behalf of your organization.
  • Develop an organization’s policies (for example, a board member).
  • Make changes to your organization’s accessibility policies.
  • Are an existing worker and start a new position.

AODA training gives employees basic knowledge about accessibility, and how it influences people with disabilities. We often think of disabilities as either physical or visible. However, AODA includes all disabilities: physical, visible, and non-visible disabilities, such as learning and mental health disabilities.

Employees who take AODA-specific training on customer service learn how to provide excellent customer service to people of all abilities. For example, when interacting with an individual with vision impairment always identify yourself when you approach them. Also speak directly to them, not their service animal or guide. If you need to leave, let the person know.  Whereas, if an individual has a mobility disability, you don’t necessarily have to identify yourself, but you should never touch their equipment without permission.

eSafetyFirst AODA training program has been developed in accordance with provincial legislation as safety training for workplaces across Canada.
This course consists of 6 modules and tests. Once you pass all the tests, you may print your certificate of completion (wallet & wall-sized).
Training may be paused or resumed at any time, is fully narrated, and includes interactive exercises to ensure understanding of course content.

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