Will your company still be compliant once new changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) come into effect on July 1, 2016? These changes will directly affect most businesses in Ontario, so it is a good idea to examine your accessibility policies and procedures now to ensure that they stay in line with the changes to the legislation.
To help you make the necessary changes as of July 1, 2016, HRdownloads has created an easy three-step AODA Compliance Plan. Download it for free!
But before you dive in to making changes to your policies and procedures, it is a good idea to understand a little bit about the changes to the legislation.
The most obvious change is that the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, which was formerly a separate regulation under the AODA, will now be included in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). Going forward, you will need to refer to Part IV.2 of the IASR for accessible customer service requirements.
Changes to the legislation that may affect your organization affect training requirements, the requirement to have written accessible customer service policies, the types of medical professionals who can provide documentation of the need for a service animal, and how organizations must handle situations where a support person is required to accompany a person with a disability. The changes do not affect existing reporting requirements.
AODA Changes Quick Reference Guide
Before July 1, 2016
After July 1, 2016
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service was a distinct regulation under the AODA
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service is now part of the IASR
Organizations had to provide training on accessible customer service only to employees and volunteers who dealt with members of the public or other third parties, and every person who was responsible for developing the employer’s policies, practices, and procedures
All employees and volunteers, as well as everyone who provides goods or services on behalf of the organization, regardless of whether or not they interact with the public, must receive training on providing customer service to persons with disabilities
Only physicians and nurses could confirm that a person required a service animal for reasons related to their disability
The list of regulated healthcare professionals who can confirm that a person requires a service animal for reasons related to their disability has been expanded
If a person with a disability required a support person to accompany them, a business had to notify the person upfront about any admission charges for the support person
Businesses may not charge admission for support persons who are required to accompany a person with a disability
Organizations could require a person with a disability to be accompanied by their support person when on the premises, but only for health and safety reasons
In addition, organizations must also consult with the person with a disability on the requirement to be accompanied by their support person and must consider all reasonable accommodation options
Organizations with 20 or more employees were required to have written documentation of their accessible customer service policies and procedures
Organizations with 20–49 employees are no longer required to have written documentation of their accessible customer service policies and procedures
Refer to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation for the full text of the changes.
Many employers in Ontario must update their accessible customer service training, policies, procedures, and other documentation. By following the three easy steps laid out in HRdownloads' AODA Compliance Plan, you can uphold your responsibilities under the AODA and play a role in bringing the province closer to its ultimate goal of a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.
Don't know where to start? Request a free trial with HRdownloads and we will help you to get on track with any required AODA updates.
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