Under the AODA, public sector organizations must complete accessibility reports every two years. The next accessibility reports for public sector organizations are due on December 31st, 2021. The Ontario government will not give any extensions after December 31st, 2021. In addition, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division (AODT) audits organizations to verify compliance. Accessibility audits for public sector organizations help everyone obey the law.
Accessibility Audits for Public Sector Organizations
Every year, the AODT inspects organizations to find out whether they are compliant. Moreover, some organizations choose “no” when answering some questions in the accessibility report. When the AODT finds organizations non-compliant, it offers tools and resources to help them learn and obey the law. Moreover, the AODT helps organizations develop new deadlines for full compliance. A new deadline gives workers time to educate themselves and to implement full compliance.
However, some organizations may still not make the effort to change their policies or practices. For instance, an organization might refuse to comply with various AODA standards, including:
- Implementing customer service policies that welcome visitors with assistive devices
- Writing accommodation plans for workers with disabilities
- Making their web content accessible for computer users with disabilities
- Allowing service animals on all buses and taxis
- Installing Fixed waiting areas and service counters for visitors with visible and invisible disabilities
When organizations refuse to learn about and obey the law, the AODT will order them to comply. If they do not obey this order, they may be fined or taken to court.
In contrast, organizations can educate themselves about the AODA and how to comply. This knowledge will help organizations serve every client, patient, student, or traveller, not just those without disabilities. People with disabilities are part of the public, and their numbers are increasing. Therefore, only by obeying the AODA can organizations truly serve the whole public. Accessibility audits for public sector organizations help ensure that laws for the public good are upheld.