The AODA has different requirements for different kinds of workplaces, depending on whether they are public or private and how many workers they have. Here we outline the AODA requirements for private businesses and non-profits with 20-49 workers.
How to Count Workers
First, to find out which set of rules your private or non-profit business needs to comply with, you need to know how to count your workers. You must count every worker who is:
Do not count:
- Workers from outside Ontario
- Independent contractors
Although you should not count these workers, you must still ensure that their work complies with AODA standards.
AODA Requirements for Private Businesses and Non-Profits with 20-49 Workers
Below we outline the AODA requirements for private businesses and non-profits with 20-49 workers.
Since January 1st, 2012, businesses have been required to provide accessible customer service. This involves:
- Training all staff and volunteers to serve customers with a variety of disabilities
- Welcoming service animals and support persons
- Providing accessible ways for customers to offer feedback
- Creating an accessibility policy
Since January 1st, 2015, businesses have been required to create accessibility policies. This process involves identifying barriers that need to be prevented or removed to make a business fully accessible. Employers must inform staff about the content of policies so that workers can implement them.
Businesses must also consider how accessible self-service kiosks are when they are buying or designing new ones. This includes interactive electronic terminals where customers can:
- Purchase groceries
- Pay parking fees
- Validate tickets
- Renew licences
Since January 1st, 2016, all workers and volunteers must be trained to understand all accessibility laws that affect their work. In addition, there must be processes in place so that people with disabilities can provide feedback in accessible formats.
Accessible Information and Communication
Since January 1st, 2012, businesses must make emergency and public safety information, such as brochures or evacuation plans, available in accessible formats upon request. In addition, businesses must provide individualized emergency evacuation plans for all workers who require them.
Since December 31st, 2014, businesses have needed to file accessibility compliance reports confirming that they have fulfilled all accessibility requirements under the AODA. Businesses must fill out and submit a government form every three years.
Since January 1st, 2017, all information available to the public must be offered in an accessible format whenever someone asks. Businesses should consult with the person making the request to find out how to provide the information in a way the person can access.
Since January 1st, 2017, employment practices, such as hiring, retaining workers, and career development, must be accessible.
Accessible Design of Public Spaces
Since January 1st, 2018, all new or significantly renovated public spaces must be accessible. Public spaces include:
- Recreational trails and beach access routes
- Accessible parking
- Service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas
If your private business or non-profit employs 20-49 workers, these are the standards your business must follow in order to comply with the AODA. These standards affect your physical workspace, your workers, and customers or clients. If you implement these standards, you will be obeying the law. You will also open your business to a growing market of workers and customers with disabilities.