Ontario Accessibility Law (AODA)

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act of 2005 has 5 Standards; three of which (Information and Communication, Employment, and Transportation) are combined and referred to as the Integrated Accessibility Standard. The (combined) Integrated Accessibility Standard became law as of July 1, 2011.

Please Note:

1. Our focus at POW Hearing Solutions is on Accessible Communications – which include communications with your customers, clients and employees; thus it is advisable that your Ontario business review the AODA Employment Standard, as well as the Information and Communications Standard – because everyone requires accessible business practices, on both sides of the business counter.

2. The following information relates to general AODA information, with a focus on Communications and Information. For more information on the AODA Employment Standard, and it’s relevance to Making Life Hearing Friendly within your organization, please see the Workplaces User Group category, on our Solutions page.

The Information and Communications Standard

  • Focuses on accessible Information and Communication when providing business goods and services
  • Seeks to make more accessible the ways that information and communication is sent and received
  • Has phased in compliance timelines across private and public sectors
  • Affects (small) organizations with 1-49 employees, and (large) organizations with 50+ employees
  • Requires a written “Statement of Commitment”, as of Jan 1, 2014, for large organizations
  • Requires written Accessibility policies, by Jan 1, 2014 for large organizations, and by Jan 1, 2015 for small organizations (not written)
  • Requires a written Multi-year accessibility plan by Jan 1, 2014 for large organizations
  • Requires Training for all employees of large organizations by Jan 1, 2015, and small organizations by Jan 1, 2016
  • Requires that large organizations report on their accessibility measures and plans every 2-3 years

Compliance Provisions for ALL AODA Standards include:

  • Being governed by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
  • Being subject to government audits and inspections
  • Fines for non-compliance and offences up to $100,000 per day
  • A License Appeal Tribunal mechanism (for organizations)
  • A Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario mechanism (for individuals)

Best Practices of an Accessibility Plan include:

  • Conducting business/workplace audits, holding focus groups with persons who have disabilities, researching public Accessibility policies
  • A written plan, for relaying and implementing a consistent message across the whole organization
  • A Statement of Objectives
  • Processes for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers
  • A review of efforts made to date to remove existing barriers, and to prevent future barriers
  • The policies, procedures and practices your organization will take to identify, remove and prevent barriers
  • A description of how your organization will make the accessibility plan available to the public – including TTY/TTD numbers

For information on TTY/TTDs and Bell Relay operator services, Click Here

Best Practices in Audio Accessibility for Events include:

  • Include the following statement in all of you event announcements: “The ____________ (business name) is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Please contact us if you have any particular accessibility requirements” (include contact telephone number, TTY/TTD or cell/text number, and email address)
  • Advertise your event – and your desire to make it accessible – well in advance, to arrange for access
  • Allow enough time to deal with most eventualities; such as: having the person with access needs contact you with their requirements; securing an ASL/English (sign language) interpreter or captioning transcriber(s); or captioning of video materials – which may require up to three (3) weeks advance notice.
  • Train the event access person/contact, on next steps to finding a service vendor, and access implementation
  • Create and maintain a detailed preferred vendors list of caption transcriber(s) and ASL practitioners.
  • Enter into Vendor of Record agreements for various goods and services with a company providing Transcription, Interpretation and American Sign Language (ASL) for events and meetings.
  • Familiarize the access implementation person with vendor / service provider payment policies & timelines
  • Have event presenters provide materials in advance, conversion-ready for creating acccessible formats.
  • Book rooms and locations which allow for use of large screens for displaying captioning, and a small table for a transcriber to sit at with a laptop computer, to produce captions of audio events.

View some Historical Information and the 2014 20th Anniversary of Ontario’s Campaign for a Strong AODA here

References:
1. AODA Era Part III: Information and Communication Standard, Read More

2. Magdar, Melissa. Dir of Diversity, HR and Cross Cultural Training. AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards Overview of the Regulation. Powerpoint presentation. ProLearning Innovations www.prolearningonline.com

3. ProLearning Innovations. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) – DEMO Powerpoint, Integrated Accessibility Standards Training Program for Employees. Read More

4. Queens University. Accessible Event Planning

5. Queens University. Accessible Event Planning Check List

6. Queens University. AODA Training, Plan Language Guide