Accessibility Creates Opportunities for EveryoneJune 27, 2019
Accessibility. It is a word that is often tossed around, but what does it mean exactly?
There are four principles of accessibility:
- Dignity: Provide service in a way that allows the person with a disability to maintain self-respect and the respect of other people.
- Independence: Allow a person with a disability to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others.
- Integration: Provide service in a way that allows the person with a disability to access the same products and services in a similar manner, to the extent possible, as other customers.
- Equal opportunity: Ensure that customers with disabilities have the same access to your goods, services, or facilities as other customers.
Put simply, accessibility means giving people of all abilities opportunities to participate in everyday life. One in seven people in Ontario has a disability. That is a whopping 1.65 million Ontarians.
By 2036, that number is anticipated to rise to 1 in 5 as Ontario’s population ages. Businesses that are accessible will be able to better reach this massive segment of Ontario’s consumers.
People with disabilities do not comprise a small segment of the population: more than 15 per cent of Ontarians report having a disability.
That is why the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) passed in 2005 aims to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities (PWD).
The AODA aims to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025 through five standards:
- Customer Service: Focuses on the businesses policies and practices that prevent PWD from obtaining the same level of customer service as their non-disabled counterparts.
- Information and Communications: Increases access to information, including that provided in person, through print, phone and online services.
- Employment: Addresses practices related to employee/employer relationships, including recruitment, hiring and retention policies and processes.
- Transportation: Ensures accessible transportation for PWD, including buses and trains.
- Design of Public Spaces: Addresses accessibility within buildings and outdoor spaces, including issues such as counter height, aisle and door width and parking.
The AODA standards will be phased in over a 20-year period. These standards affect every business and organization with one or more employees and require regular compliance reporting.
So what can you do to ensure that your business is meeting it’s requirements? Simple. Sign up for an Accessibility Works Enabling Change Workshop.
Presented by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Accessibility Works EnAbling Change Workshops help Ontario’s businesses and not-for-profit organizations to understand and comply with their obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
In collaboration with your local chamber of commerce or board of trade, we can help your business develop a plan to ensure that you are meeting your requirements in two ways:
- We can work with you to schedule a workshop. We will come to your community and provide a one-hour workshop with everything that you need to know about your accessibility requirements.
- We can also work with you to deliver a webinar. This one-hour, online interactive session is your chance to learn what you need to know about Ontario’s accessibility laws.
Beyond compliance, there are enormous benefits of making your business more accessible and inclusive.
- Creating better access to your business, whether by installing a ramp to your store or allowing for accessible options on your website, opens up your market. Learn more about the $55 billion PWD market in Canada.
- Creating inclusive hiring and recruitment practices means vastly growing your pool of candidates – allowing you to hire the very best. Learn more about how PWDs are often a business’ best employees.
Learn more about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and how your business can comply.
Start connecting with amazing talent now at https://discoverability.network/.
 Source: https://discoverability.network/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/19187_AccessibilityGuide_EN.pdf