You must file your Accessibility Compliance Report on or before December 31, 2014. It is not too late! Companies that do not comply with the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) can face penalties. Non-compliance includes failing to file an Accessibility Report.
The AODA sets accessibility standards that organizations must meet. The AODA standards apply to all organizations (public, private, and not-for-profit) with one or more employees in Ontario. Requirements depend on an organization’s type and size and are documented in this comprehensive First Reference AODA guidelines article.
AODA reporting requirements
One of the key AODA requirements that could trigger an audit or follow-up with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) is the failure to report. Here is a list of the reports your organization may be required to file:
- Organizations with 20 or more employees were required to file compliance reports in regards to the AODA Customer Service Standard by December 31, 2012.
- On or before December 31, 2014, organizations with 20 or more employees must file a second report that they are still complying to the Customer Service Standard.
- By December 31, 2014, organizations with 50 or more employees must also file a report that they have Accessibility Policies and that they have developed a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.
- December 31, 2017 – these organizations will have to report again.
- Tip: You can find out what you need to complete and report by completing the AODA online “e-wizard” available at AccessON
How to file an accessiblity compliance report
Private sector and not-for-profit organizations with business numbers can access their accessibility compliance report by registering through a ONe-Source account.
Step one: Register for a ONe-Source account
- Ensure you have your 9 digit company Business Number ready
- Provide full contact information
- Report your highest employee count during the last 12 months
- Tip: register for your ONe-Source account through the link found in the AccessON pages
Step two: Answer questions to determine your organizational requirements
- Answer a series of questions about your organization industry and activities
Step three: Tips on how to answer the questions
- Answer 4-15 yes or no questions indicating whether your organization is complying with its current requirements
- An Administrator can register the company and answer the questions, but a Certifier (a person with signing authority to bind the organization) must certify the final report
- This is a legally binding report – if organizations remain non-compliant they may face Director’s orders to comply and/or pay penalties or in certain circumstances may be prosecuted through the courts for specified offences and upon conviction could face fines of up to $50,000 per day for individuals or up to $100,000 per day for corporations
Some sample questions for organizations with 20-49 employees:
- Does your organization comply with the January 1, 2012 customer service standard?
- Do you ensure that every person (listed below) receives training about providing goods and services to people with disabilities?
- Have you established and documented a process to receive and respond to feedback from the public about how you provide goods and services to people with disabilities?
Some sample questions for organizations with 50 plus employees:
- Do you make your accessibility policies available to the public?
- Have you established, implemented, maintained and posted a multi-year accessibility plan?
- Does your new internet website conform to the SCAG 2.0 Level A?
- Tip: If your organization has a website that is not new in 2014 or has not been significantly upgraded in 2014 you will answer no to this question, and you will be re-directed to a section where you can add the additional information to explain that your organization does not have a new or upgraded website at this time.
If your organization answers no to any of the questions, you are highlighting your non-compliance and you will be contacted by an ADO representative to help you come up with a compliance plan.
- Tip: It is better to ensure that your organization is able to answer yes to all the questions by taking the time to complete the requirements before December 31, 2014.
- Tip: Not filing a report can be an indicator of non-compliance for future reports. It is better to file the report – even if you have to answer no to some of the questions.
- Tip: Organizations with over 50 employees are filing 2 reports December 31, 2014. First they are filing the follow-up report to the Customer Service Standard and second they are filing regarding Accessibility Policies and Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.
- Tip: Your organization’s plan and policies do not have to be submitted with the report, but if audited you must be prepared to provide documentation for all answers to which you reported yes.
Audits will be conducted among organizations that fail to file an accessibility report or that submit a report indicating non-compliance. In select cases, organizations that file a report indicating full compliance may also be audited.
Detailed reporting instructions are available on the government accessibility reporting page at AccessON
The Ontario government faced a significant amount of backlash about its lack of enforcement, compliance and penalties regarding the AODA. You can be assured that in 2015 the ADO will be engaging in significantly more of these types of activity – so if your organization has been lagging behind, now is the time to ensure that your organization becomes committed to providing an accessible environment for all Ontarians with disabilities. It’s the right thing to do and it’s the law
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