In 2005, the Ontario Public Service passed The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), making AODA training required for all employers and workers in Ontario.
This Act made Ontario the first province to take action to increase accessibility for people who live with disabilities. For over 10 years, AODA training has been required in Ontario. However, some employers and workers are still unfamiliar with the terms accessibility and disability. Furthermore, many organizations fail to provide AODA training to their workers and/or volunteers.
When organizations fail to provide accessibility and disability training they violate the Act. Organizations also fail their workers by not giving them the knowledge on how to properly interact with disabled individuals. AODA training provides organizations and workers with the knowledge of the AODA and the Human Rights Code; in addition, workers will learn how to interact with people with various types of disabilities.
What are the AODA Training Requirements?
Training content must cover:
- Workplace-specific training that relates to responsibilities in any of the following areas of the accessibility standards:
- Information and communications
- Design of public spaces
- Customer service standards
- The Ontario Human Rights Code (relating accessibility and disability)
- Accessibility policy
Why do we Need AODA Training?
AODA training gives employees the basic knowledge about accessibility, and how it influences people with disabilities. We often think of disabilities as either physical or visible. However, AODA includes all disabilities: physical, visible, and non-visible disabilities, such as learning and mental health disabilities.
Employees who take AODA-specific training on customer service learn how to provide excellent customer service to people of all abilities. For example, when interacting with an individual with vision impairment always identify yourself when you approach them. Also speak directly to them, not their service animal or guide. If you need to leave, let the person know. Whereas, if an individual has a mobility disability, you don’t necessarily have to identify yourself, but you should never touch their equipment without permission.
Who Needs AODA Training?
AODA training is required if you:
- Are a paid worker
- Are an existing or new worker
- Provide goods, services, or facilities on behalf of your organization
- Develop an organization’s policies (e.g., board member)
- Make changes to your organization’s accessibility policies
- Are an existing worker and start a new position
Keep track of training records
All organizations have to keep track of their worker’s training records, which must include:
- Name of worker
- Date of completion
- Training topics included
Make sure your workers are trained on AODA. Not only is it law, but it provides many benefits to your organization and workers. AODA training provides knowledge, skills, and confidence to workers when interacting with people with disabilities. AODA trained sets up your organization with Ontario’s goal of being fully accessible by 2025.