A provincial act is quietly changing the way Ontario workplaces and organizations must accommodate the public — in addition to existing human rights legislation.
Every person or organization in the public and private sector will need to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) by 2025.
Under the Act, a “barrier” is anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability. This includes a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.
”Organizations have current and ongoing obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code respecting non-discrimination,” according to the Ministry of Community and Social Services. “The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and the Customer Service Standard do not replace or affect existing legal obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code and other laws in respect to accommodation of people with disabilities. Organizations must comply with both pieces of legislation.”
Cases will be handled through the courts. Organizations can file compliance-related appeals through the Licence Appeal Tribunal.
In the United States, advocates for the disabled have commenced lawsuits over these issues, according to an article by Joe Palazzolo in the Wall Street Journal.
Here are some links to more information on the AODA:
Sample accessibility policy, from WSIAT:
E-learning video from OHRC: