The deadline for Ontario’s private sector to comply with the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service (under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) is just around the corner. Is your organization compliant?
If your organization has more than 20 employees, there are essentially four steps to comply with the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service by the January 1, 2012 deadline:
- Develop an “Accessibility Plan” that sets out your organization’s commitment to assisting and accommodating people with disabilities, and includes a commitment to access for support persons, service animals and assistive devices, ensures that communication to customers considers the needs of individuals with disabilities and notifies the public if goods or services for individuals with disabilities are temporarily unavailable.
- Train staff who deal with third parties on behalf of your organization or who develop policies regarding the provision of goods / services to third parties on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and how to assist people with disabilities. A training log should be kept.
- Put the Accessibility Plan in writing, and make it available to third parties / customers upon request. The Ministry of Community and Social Services has developed resources helpful for employers.
- Report your Organization’s compliance online. The tool for reporting is not yet available, but organizations can sign up on the Ministry’s website to be informed when it is.
Under the Integrated Accessibility Standard, organizations are also required to do the following by the January 1, 2012 deadline:
- Provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees with disabilities (if necessary). With the employee’s consent, this information should be provided to a person designated by your organization to assist the employee. This information must be reviewed (a) when the employee moves to a different location in the organization; (b) when the employee’s overall accommodations needs or plans are reviewed; and (c) when the employer reviews its general emergency response policies.
- If your organization prepares an emergency procedure or plan that it makes available to the public, this procedure, upon request, must be provided to the public in an accessible manner, as soon as practicable.
Ask your Heenan Blaikie lawyer about the policy and training tools that we have developed for our clients.