First Reference Talks is proud to announce that we are collaborating with McCarthy Tétrault Employer Advisor blog so that once a month we can present one of their excellent posts.
Today, May 9, 2013, is the second year for Global Accessibility Awareness Day! This day is meant to “get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities”
Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.
In the recent decision Fair and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal provides a useful guide for employers to follow in determining how to return an employee to the workplace after an extended absence.
Recently, some of our clients received a notice from the government reminding them to file an Accessibility Report. This was an eye opener to employers who have let the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Customer Service compliance deadlines slip through the cracks. Some simply forgot to file. However, others were reminded they have not yet implemented all the Customer Service Standard requirements.
Integrating the psychological health and safety standard into existing organizational policies and processes
On January 16, 2013, the Standards Council of Canada (CSA) published a new national standard dealing with psychological health and safety in the workplace. Although not a mandatory standard at this time, it is foreseeable that legislators, health and safety officers and inspectors, adjudicators and tribunals will be influenced by the standard when dealing with psychological and mental health issues in the workplace. In addition, such standards may be absorbed into the employer’s general duty to protect workers from harm in the workplace, which exists in all jurisdictions in Canada. Employers should also scrutinize their workplace operations, policies, procedures and processes under the auspices of the psychological health and safety system recommended in the standard.
In January, I wrote about how large organizations in Ontario must prepare multi-year accessibility plans to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (by 2014). Well, those organizations (50+ employees) have also got to develop and implement relevant policies by 2014 as well, and that’s going to arrive sooner than you think. Small organizations (1–49 employees) have until 2015 to prepare policies.
The Accessibility Standard for Employment will help Ontario businesses and organizations make accessibility a regular part of finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
The government, through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, is holding a two-month public consultation to develop updated accessibility requirements for the Building Code.
We are repeating this December 21 blog post to ensure employers, human resources professionals, payroll specialists, legal advisors, managers and supervisors among others start 2013 on the right foot.
The team at First Reference Inc. and First Reference Talks blog wishes everyone a very Happy Holiday Season and all the best for the New Year!/L’Équipe de La Référence et du billet First Reference Talks vous souhaite de belles fêtes et une bonne et heureuse année.