Ontario’s AODA progress

Report suggests Ontario employers are making good progress towards compliance with accessibility legislation, but how it will be enforced is still uncertain
By Pamela Chan Ebejer
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/13/2017

The accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has been in effect for more than five years now, with certain parts for less. HR lawyer Pamela Chan Ebejer looks at how well Ontario employers have adapted and what questions still remain.

When the first wave of compliance requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), came into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, many employers feared an overwhelming set of new compliance requirements to meet. Employers were kept on their toes with the staggered deadlines year after year, as well as the comprehensive accessibility standards that spanned five areas including customer service, information and communications, employment, and the design of public spaces. At the same time, the AODA has faced questions and criticisms about how the legislation would be enforced given that it lacks an individual complaint mechanism.

While the accessibility standards under the AODA have required many organizations to alter or reconsider how they interact with, provide information to and accommodate customers, employees and the public, organizations appear to have adjusted well to the new requirements. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario released its Accessibility compliance and enforcement report 2016 in July 2017, which outlined the results of its audit and enforcement activities that occurred throughout 2016. The results of compliance were positive, with the report concluding that “overall, many organizations are incorporating accessibility into their daily business practices.”