Being AODA Compliant is the Right Thing to do for Your BusinessJune 6, 2019
It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and you’re out grocery shopping with your son. He’s having a great time, running up and down the aisles and dropping all sorts of treats into your basket.
Suddenly he tugs at your arm and whispers, “Mommy, I need to go to the washroom.” You know you must act fast before he has an accident. You quickly flag down a member of the staff who lets you know that there is a bathroom downstairs.
You think problem solved, except it isn’t.
Your son is in a wheelchair and the only way downstairs is by using two flights of stairs.
That is just one reason why accessibility is important.
Accessibility gives people of all abilities the opportunity to participate in everyday life.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005, with the goal of making Ontario accessible by 2025.
The AODA sets accessibility standards that organizations must meet. These AODA standards apply to all organizations (public, private, and not-for-proft) with one or more employees in Ontario, although requirements depend on an organization’s type and size.
Many people think of disabilities as noticeable physical disabilities—such as using a wheelchair as illustrated in the earlier example. But not all disabilities are visible, and you can’t always tell who has a disability.
Disabilities can include physical limitations and mental health, cognitive or intellectual development, learning, hearing, or vision disabilities. They also can include epilepsy, substance addictions, environmental sensitivities, and workplace injuries.
Small businesses in Ontario must have accessibility policies for employing and providing services for people with disabilities. You have the flexibility to create policies and practices that best ft your existing work culture and business practices, as long as they meet the needs of people with disabilities.
These policies don’t have to be written down, but it’s essential that your policy is clearly defined and communicated to staff, even if it’s not on paper. You must have policies on the accessibility of:
- Customer service
- Information and communications
- Design of public spaces
The law allows for flexibility in how you meet the requirements of the standards as long as they meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Wondering what your next steps are to ensure that your business is accessible? A good starting point is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The AODA aims to identify, remove and prevent barriers for Ontarians with disabilities, with a goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025. The Standards under the Act contain the rules businesses and organizations must follow to identify, prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities. The report can be accessed at: www.ontario.ca/accessibility.
For more information check out the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Enabling Change webinars by here.
If you are interested in hiring persons with disabilities visit: discoverability.network.