Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with Alberta’s upcoming minimum wage increase, how excessive absence resulted in culpable absenteeism and a reminder of Ontario AODA compliance requirements due January 1, 2014.
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”
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 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.
Slaw: Recommendations for new Manitoba legislation to remove barriers faced by people with disabilities
Manitoba is the second province in Canada that intends to make their province accessible for persons with disabilities by developing specific standards of accessibility in a number of key areas.
Proposed AODA Built Environment Standard for public spaces released for public consultation and review
The AODA Built Environment Standard (the “Standard”) for public spaces has been released by the Ontario Government for public review and consultation. Human resources professionals will likely be asked to take the lead on compliance in their workplaces. Although the standard is still in draft form, it is expected that much of this now thoroughly-reviewed draft will survive to the final version.
Assistive technology provided by rehabilitation engineers can play a major role in helping to realize the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025.
A photo of a beautifully designed stairway with an integrated accessibility ramp recently caught my eye. It is a fine example of a creative and attractive solution to a problem we are seeing more and more. Unfortunately, I think the stair is actually a hazard for anyone who uses it, not just persons with disabilities!
MasterChef Contestant Christine Ha is legally blind. She navigates the kitchen with the help of a cane and a support person. According to the judges, the dishes she prepares for each challenge are amazing and she is a great cook. It goes to show, despite her disability, Ha is able to compete with contestants with no disabilities, and perform the challenges with above average results.
The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a legally blind woman’s 2010 legal victory over the federal government, ordering the government to make its websites accessible to blind persons. It may not be a case under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, but it does show us how website accessibility matters and has an impact on promoting accessibility for persons with disabilities.
You’ve probably already heard about the Ontario Employment Law Conference coming up on June 13—that’s next Wednesday!—but have you registered yet?