Presented below is background information on legislation related to accessibility.
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), 2001 was established by the Province of Ontario to improve access and opportunities for people with disabilities across Ontario. The legislation applies to all provincial and municipal governments, school boards, colleges and universities and hospitals. Municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more residents must establish an Accessibility Advisory Committee, prepare an annual Accessibility Plan and provide opportunity for community involvement through the Accessibility Advisory Committee in the identification, removal, and prevention of barriers for persons with disabilities.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was introduced by the Provincial government on October 12, 2004 and was proclaimed on June 13, 2005. The purpose of the Act is to build upon some components of the ODA. The AODA's purpose is to remove all barriers in the Province of Ontario by the year 2025 and create an accessible Ontario. The Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee will remain in place; however, the AODA required the establishment of Accessibility Standards and these standards will apply to both the public sector and private sector businesses. A total of five Standard Development Committees have been established to address the various types of barriers to accessibility. The five Committees include: Customer Service, Transportation, Employment, Built Environment, and Information and Communications.
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
The Province passed the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 on January 1, 2008. It is the first accessibility standard created under the authority of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005. This standard is applicable to both the public and private sectors that provide goods or services to the public. The public sector, which includes the Town of Whitby, had to comply with the standard by January 1, 2010 while the private sector had until January 1, 2012.
The customer service standard outlines a number of different requirements that must be established and documented. These requirements include the development of policies, practices, and procedures on providing goods or services to persons with disabilities, training of staff, volunteers and contractors on how to provide good customer service to persons with disabilities, development of policies and procedures for service animals and support workers, providing proper and accessible notice of service disruptions, and establishing a customer feedback process.
Integrated Accessibility Standard, Ontario Regulation 191/11
On June 3, 2011 the Province of Ontario passed the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11. Ontario's next three accessibility standards will remove barriers in three areas:
- Transportation making it easier for people with disabilities to get to where they need to go
- Employment expanding Ontario's labour pool and welcoming people with disabilities into more workplaces, and
- Information and communications giving people with disabilities access to more of the information we all depend on.
These standards are all part of the new Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11. The regulation sets out the requirements for each of the three standards, as well as general requirements that apply to all, such as:
- developing accessibility policies and plans
- training employees and volunteers
- considering accessibility when purchasing goods or services
The regulation applies to public, private, and not-for-profit businesses and organizations that:
- provide goods, services or facilities either directly to the public or to other businesses or organizations, and
- have at least one employee in Ontario.
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