EMPLawyers’ Update has kept its readers informed about the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), which creates obligations for employers in the areas of customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation and the built environment on an ongoing basis.
January 1st, 2016 will mark the deadline for private sector employers with 50 or more employees to fulfill certain obligations under the accessibility standard for employment, including the following:
- informing the public and their employees about the availability of accommodations during the recruitment process, providing suitable accommodations if requested, and informing successful applicants of the employer’s accommodation policies;
- informing existing and new staff about the employer’s disability and accommodation policies, and providing updated information as the policies are amended;
- providing information to employees in an accessible format;
- implementing written processes for the development of individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities;
- developing return to work processes for employees who are absent from work due to disability; and
- considering the accessibility needs of employees and any accommodation plans during performance management, career development and job changes.
Also beginning January 1st, 2016, private sector employers with one to 49 employees must:
- provide appropriate and up-to-date training to all employees and volunteers regarding the accessibility standards and the Human Rights Code; and
- ensure that they have in place accessible means of receiving and responding to feedback from persons with disabilities.
Finally, small designated public sector organizations and private sector organizations with 50 or more employees must, upon request, provide accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities in a timely and affordable manner. They must also notify the public of the availability of such formats and supports.
Failure to comply with the Regulations may expose organizations to administrative penalties, which range between $500 to $15,000.