Today’s post is all about hearing from you! Questions arise as to how organizations are dealing with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance requirements in Ontario. I want to hear from you about the good, the bad and the ugly! Allow me to share your expertise or stories with the rest of the province. Of course, the idea is to help others meet compliance and use the lessons you’ve learned to encourage others. As for your bad ideas that turned ugly, organizations can really use that information to avoid similar pitfalls.
Let us know where you stand on compliance and what hurdles you encountered or are still encountering. If it is a lack of funds, then which creative ideas have you chosen as alternatives? If the issue is not funding, but all the barriers you’ve identified that need a remedy, then share those thoughts too. If you have a good secret, let it out. The broader the discussion, the better the solutions we’ll come up with.
My blog posts have all been about educating organizations about the needs of people with disabilities, focusing on the accessibility standards under the AODA. Whenever possible, I’ve tried to help organizations cope with changes, comply with the law and at the same time provide guidance on sensible alternatives.
Lately, people have asked, how is everyone else doing with the AODA? I have to honestly state, I only know about organizations I directly deal with. Statistics maybe coming, but I have not seen any numbers that really capture the answer to this question. Let me redirect the question: how are you doing? And if you can, please share your stories.
The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services also wants to hear from you, and may showcase your organization in a YouTube video. We’d love to hear if you’ve won an accessibility award through an organization, charity or government. Let us hear about the changes you have seen in your organization when enforcing compliance. If you are embracing the notion of making your organization accessible, are you seeing positive outcomes from the changes?
While I am inviting you to grouch, remember I am completely positive the AODA is underrated. I do believe the AODA is an excellent win-win initiative that will strengthen our economy and support people with disabilities. Your organization may not directly see financial benefits in enacting compliance but every individual will see benefits, if people with disabilities are working, able to shop everywhere including the Internet and travel.
As I continue to contribute to the Accessibility Standards PolicyPro publication from First Reference, let me know if you have any stories or wisdom—negative or positive—to share that might benefit your peers. Feel free to talk about specific standards or generalize.
I do have one question in particular I would like to hear about. In training staff, volunteers and decision-makers about the AODA, do you feel the organization is going through the motions of compliance, or do you see value in the training? Perhaps training began as something you just had to do, and attitudes changed when staff and volunteers understood the lessons. A good number of responses will give us a pulse on whether organizations are seeing a positive or negative change in attitude toward people with disabilities.
You can respond by leaving a comment below. How have you managed to navigate and implement the standards? Talk to me and I will talk to the rest of the province through this blog and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro.
I believe we can all learn something new from each other every day. Tell us about the good, the bad and the ugly you’ve encountered when meeting compliance with the AODA. We are all moving in this direction together.
Suzanne Cohen Share, M.A., CEO
Access (SCS) Consulting Services o/b 623921 Ont. Ltd.