The deadline for organizations to comply with the accessibility requirements set out in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (“Customer Service Standard”) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) is quickly approaching.
These requirements will apply to all people, businesses and organizations that (i) provide goods or services either to the public or to other businesses or organizations, and (ii) have at least one employee in Ontario.
Is your organization ready? Do you need further information? If so, click here (and see below) to find out more about our upcoming seminar on Complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
By January 1, 2012, the vast majority of private sector organizations will be obligated to:
- Establish policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to individuals with disabilities;
- Take into account an individual’s disability when communicating with him or her;
- Permit individuals with disabilities to make use of personal assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks) while accessing the organization’s goods and services;
- Allow service animals on the organization’s premises;
- Welcome support persons onto the organization’s premises;
- Inform customers when accessible services already provided by the organization become temporarily unavailable;
- Invite customer feedback on the manner that the organization provides goods or services to the public; and
- Provide detailed training on accessible customer service to all employees, volunteers and contractors who interact with the public and/or who are involved in developing the organization’s policies, practices and procedures on the provision of goods or services.
Organizations with 20 or more employees will also be required to:
- Notify customers that the documentation required by the Customer Service Standard is available (in an accessible format) upon request; and
- Report compliance to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
In addition to the requirements under the Customer Service Standard, the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation (“Integrated Standards”), which provides standards for the three areas of Information and Communications, Employment and Transportation, establishes further accessibility requirements for organizations in the private sector operating with 50 or more employees with compliance dates ranging from January 1, 2012 to dates in the year 2021.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT…
- WHO is required to comply with the AODA;
- WHAT steps your organization needs to be take to achieve compliance;
- WHERE you can access helpful materials to assist with compliance;
- WHEN your organization must be compliant with the different requirements;
- HOW your organization can ensure compliance; Or
- WHY your organization is required to comply?
If so, we strongly encourage you to attend our upcoming Managing the Workplace Seminar on Complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act: Who, What, Where, When, How and Why?”, which will take place on January 19, 2012.
Additional information is available here. We look forward to seeing you there.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about the AODA or the fast approaching compliance deadlines, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our Labour & Employment Group.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Heenan Blaikie!