How does the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation affect Our Business?
On June 3rd, 2011, the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards became law. This set of standards includes three of the five that are part of the Government of Ontario’s plan to remove barriers and create a province that is accessible for all residents.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards barriers in the areas of Employment, Information and Communication, and Transportation. The three new standards will require organizations to develop accessibility policies and plans, train employees and meet specific requirements for each of the Employment, Information and Communication, and Transportation Standards.
The first requirement took effect July 1, 2011 and applies to conventional public transportation providers.
Requirements under these standards vary by organization size (threshold is 50 employees) and sector (public or private / not-for-profit).
General requirements include creating accessibility policies and plans, and providing for accessibility as part of procurement and in self-service kiosks.
The Information and Communication Standards require that websites and web content comply with web accessibility guidelines; accessible formats and communication supports are provided; emergency procedure, plans and public safety information be provided in an accessible format; and educational and training material providers and libraries address accessibility of information.
The Employment Standards require that organizations provide equal opportunity throughout the employment lifecycle. Recruitment, assessment, selection, information sharing, accessible formats, communication supports and workplace emergency response information, accommodation plans, return to work process, performance management, career development and advancement and redeployment are addressed.
The Transportation Standards affect conventional and specialized transportation providers from fares to seating to announcements. It also affects other transportation services, such as school transportation and ferries, and outlines duties of municipalities and taxicabs.
When does OUr business need to comply with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation?
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has published a calendar (PDF). Timelines for compliance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation are detailed by sector.
How does the Built Environment Standard affect Our Business?
The final standards are out for Public Consultation until March 1st 2013 re. the updating of the Built Environment 2006. They will apply to all new construction of buildings and facilities as well as renovation projects. These will be integrated with the Ontario Building Code.
These standards will not apply to private homes altho the concept of Ageing in Place will become more visible over time. Currently the province of Ontario will reimburse up to $1500.00 for homes which are renovated with accessible design elements.
The Built Environment Standards will become law January 2014!
Does Our business Need to comply?
If your organization has at least one employee with a phone on their desk, or who interacts with people who don’t work for your organization, you must comply.
The accessibility standard for customer service applies to every designated public sector organization and to every other person or organization that provides goods or services to members of the public or other third parties and that has at least one employee in Ontario. Organizations with 20 or more employees are required to report compliance annually.