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.
January 1, 2012, is the date to complete all actions required under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and emergency preparedness requirements in the Integrated Accessibility Standards. The good news is, if your organization is obligated to report, you do not have to file with the government until December 31, 2012.
The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service require employers to provide accessible customer service to persons with disabilities. In order to comply with the legislation, all businesses and organizations providing goods or services to the public with at least one employee in Ontario must meet several requirements by January 1, 2012. What we gathered at our most recent AODA seminar is that employers are very concerned about the training aspect of the customer service obligations.
The tribunal that decided the case of alleged discrimination against a part-time paramedic with multiple sclerosis who was shifted to a part-time ambulance driver position (at the paramedic’s pay rate) left some loose ends, according to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The Court sent the case back to the tribunal to decide if the employer reasonably accommodated the employee, even though he was not able to perform important paramedic duties.
Generally, disruptions to all of your services, such as during a power outage or during a labour dispute, do not require this special notice. However, if the disruption has a significant impact on people with disabilities, you should provide notice of the disruption of service. In Ontario, under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, as of January 1, 2012, organizations are required to publicly notify customers of temporary disruptions of services or facilities or if they are expected to be temporarily unavailable in the near future, including the steps to take to access alternative methods.