Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA) Legislation Do you have your head in the sand with respect to the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)? If you are ignoring the deadline, individuals risk fines of up to $50,000 (corporations up to $100,000) for each day that the requirements have not been met! It’s interesting that many businesses haven’t heard about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the need to become compliant. Others have heard about it but seem to be ignoring it thinking it doesn’t apply to them. Some know about it but don’t know how to get started. People have a tendency to procrastinate on getting started early in order to meet the requirements for AODA legislation.
What do organizations have to do?
Organizations will have to implement policies, practices and procedures to guide the provisioning of goods and services to persons with disabilities, including training staff, and volunteers. The policies, practices and procedures must comply with specific principles such as, but not limited to, respect and dignity.
What organizations have to comply?
The legislation applies to Business to Consumer and Business to Business organizations. It applies to public, private and not-for-profit sectors. It covers any organization that provides goods and services to customers. Any organization in Ontario that has one or more employees must comply with the AODA standards. However private organizations with fewer than 20 employees do not need to prepare written documents. (Note that public sector organizations with one or more employees must meet all documentation and filing requirements). Organizations with 20 or more employees must also prepare and file annual accessibility reports with the government.
What if we don’t do anything?
It depends on if you prefer the carrot or the stick.
The Carrot: It makes good business sense to comply because according to the Royal Bank of Canada, persons with disabilities have an estimated spending power of about $25 billion each year in Canada. It good business to make your products and services accessible.
The Stick: For individuals, the fines up to $50,000 for each day that the requirements have not been met. For corporations, the fines are up to $100,000 for each day that the requirements have not been met.
It makes sense to be proactive and learn what you need to do to meet the deadlines. Attend the Business 4 Breakfast event on June 22!