Accessibility for all
Standards that provide accessibility for people with disabilities are now law in Ontario. As an owner of a business in Ontario with at least 1 employee, you need to meet certain requirements under Ontario's accessibility standards. If you run a private or not-for profit business with 20 or more employees, you also need to file a simple 2014 compliance report with the Ontario government confirming you meet these requirements. An easy step by step guide to filing your report is available on the provincial website. You could face fines if you are not compliant.
Ontario's five accessibility standards cover:
- Customer service
- Information and communications
- Design of public spaces
The customer service standards that you need to meet include creating an accessibility policy for employees and customers, welcoming service animals, and training your employees to serve customers with disabilities.
Some of your requirements for employment standards depend on how many employees you have. For example, a business with more than 50 employees creating a new public website or significantly updating an existing public website must make it accessible. Other requirements, such as providing individualized information for handling workplace emergencies to employees with disabilities, will apply no matter how big or small your business is.
You can use the free online guides, tools and templates on the AccessON website to learn about the requirements. Start with the Accessibility Compliance Wizard to get a personalized list of all the accessibility requirements and deadlines that apply specifically to your business.
Compliance deadlines are being phased in over several years to give your business time to make accessibility part of your business plan. For businesses of all sizes, it began in 2012 with the customer service standard; new requirements will continue to roll out until 2021. Why not make a habit of checking in at the AccessON website and stay informed on the changes that apply to you?
If you have questions on how accessibility affects your business, you can contact the ServiceOntario AODA Contact Centre directly.
Learn more about accessibility standards on our Accessibility page.