Most accessibility standards requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) are now in effect for large and small organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors across Ontario. And this year, for the first time, organizations in all sectors will be reporting compliance with all five AODA accessibility standards.
What are accessibility standards under the AODA?
Accessibility standards are laws that government, businesses, non-profits and public sector organizations must follow to become more accessible by 2025.
The AODA accessibility standards help organizations identify and remove barriers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in five areas of daily life:
- Customer service: To help remove barriers for people with disabilities so they can access goods, services or facilities.
- Information and Communication: To help organizations make their information accessible to people with disabilities.
- Employment: To help make hiring and employee support practices more accessible.
- Transportation: To make it easier for everyone to travel in the province.
- Built environment: Design of public Spaces: To help organizations make new and redeveloped outdoor public areas accessible.
AODA accessibility standards compliance reporting
Organizations must submit accessibility compliance reports by December 31, 2017, and every three years thereafter (every two years for a public-sector organization).
Small organizations with 1–49 employees are exempt from filing accessibility reports under the AODA (different rules apply for the customer service standard, 20 or more employees). These organizations, however, may be required to submit compliance-related information or other reports, and they may be subjected to compliance audits or inspections.
The compliance report confirms that you have met your current accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
Failure to file may result in enforcement action being taken against your organization, which can include inspections, Director’s Orders and administrative monetary penalties.
As explained in Accessibility Standards PolicyPro (not a subscriber, take a free trial), to complete your reporting obligation, you must fill out the Accessibility Directorate prescribed online form. ONe-key (previous reporting service) has been replaced by a simpler form, which was made available in early 2017. This form can be completed without a log-in process. This form is simplified, and easy to complete. The form generates a series of customized ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions depending on the information you enter regarding the nature and size of your organization. Your objective is to be in a position to answer ‘yes’ to all relevant questions to indicate that you are compliant.
To complete the form, a member of your organization who can legally bind the organization must certify that the information in the report is accurate.
The government provides a step-by-step guide for private and non-profit organizations on how to file your online report. You can access the new form here. For best practices on how to complete the form and when, make sure to consult Accessibility Standards PolicyPro (not a subscriber, take a free trial).