Important Compliance Deadline under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, SO 2005, c 11 (AODA).
All Ontario businesses or non – profit organizations with 20 or more employees and designated public sector organizations must file an Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2023. Filing a compliance report is a legal obligation under AODA.
The compliance report confirms that you have met your current accessibility requirements under AODA.
The information required to complete the AODA compliance report is comprehensive. We recommend starting the process well before the filing deadline to ensure it is completed in time.
If you don’t complete your Accessibility Compliance Report, you could face enforcement measures which can include financial penalties.
The compliance report form is available to be downloaded from: htpps://forms.mgcs.gov.on.ca/en/dataset/on00468
Additional information is available from the Ontario government on completing an Accessibility Compliance Report at: htpps://www.ontario.ca/page/comple4ng-your-accessibility-compliance-report
After this initial deadline, Accessibility Compliance Reports must be filed every 3 years. Additionally, notifications in changes in address, primary contact information, number of employees, and status must be also submitted to ensure information is kept up to date.
OVERVIEW of AODA Requirements
All businesses and non- profit organizations with 1 or more employees
All designated public sector, businesses and non-profit organizations with 1 or more employees must provide training to:
• all employees and volunteers (paid and unpaid, full-time, part-time and contract positions)
• anyone involved in developing your organization’s policies (including managers, senior leaders, directors, board members and owners
• anyone who provides goods, services, or facilities to customers on your organization’s behalf (such as external contact centres or facilities management companies)
Organizations are not required to train employees working outside of Ontario. You must provide the training as soon as possible after an employee or volunteer joins your organization. Training must include:
- accessible customer service
- work related accessibility training that is relevant to your employees’ responsibilities
- the Ontario Human Rights Code (as it relates to people with disabili4es)
- changes to your accessibility policiesFree training modules that meet the training requirements of businesses and non-profit organiza4ons under AODA are available at: https://accessforward.ca/Organizations with fewer than 50 employeesIf you are a business or non-profit organization with fewer than 50 employees, you are required to:
• create accessibility policies & maintain your policies (you are encouraged to update them periodically). Note, you are not required to document these policies (though doing so may help you with other requirements, including training employees), and
• create a multi-year accessibility plan
A sample accessibility policy is available at: Accessibility Policy Sample – Forms – Central Forms Repository (CFR) (gov.on.ca)
A sample multi-year accessibility plan is available at: https://forms.mgcs.gov.on.ca/en/dataset/on00091
Organizations with 50 or more employees
If you are a business or non-profit organization with 50 or more employees, or a designated public sector organization, you must develop:
- a statement of commitment to accessibility and make it publicly available
- written accessibility policies and make them publicly available
- a written multi-year accessibility plan, update it at least once every five years and post it on your website (if you have one)
- if asked, you must provide your organiza4on’s statement of commitment, accessibility polices and plan in an accessible format, and;
- maintain training records including when AODA training conducted, who attended and how many people took the training
Website Accessibility Requirements under AODA
As of January 1, 2021, the AODA requires businesses or non-profit organiza4ons to make all public
websites accessible if you are either:
- a business or non-profit organization with 50 or more employees, or
- a designated public sector organizationThe organization that controls the website (either directly or through a contractual relationship) must meet the accessibility requirements. These requirements only apply to websites and web content published on a website after January 1, 2012.Websites and web content published on or after January 1, 2012, must meet WCAG 2.0 level AA. At a high level, this includes:
- Distinguishable content
- Navigable content
- Readable text content
- Predictable web pages
- Input assistance
- Internal websites (intranet or extranet) do not have to meet WCAG 2.0 levels A/AA.However, if an individual asks the organization to make content available to them in an alternate accessible format (such as large print or braille), the organization must work with the individual to meet their needs.The Ontario government has developed Accessibility Standards Checklist which is a self – assessment tool to help your business identify the requirements that apply to your organization under AODA and the applicable regulations. The checklist can be downloaded at: https://forms.mgcs.gov.on.ca/en/dataset/on00125
Lakhani Campea LLP is available to assist if you have any questions regarding these AODA compliance requirements.