The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
2016 AODA Full Multi-Year Plan Accessible Word Version
2016 AODA Full Multi-Year Plan Accessible PDF Version
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The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) came into effect in Ontario in 2005. The AODA applies to both the public and private sectors and its goal is to ensure that all Ontarians with disabilities have full access to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, building structures and premises by January 1, 2025. This goal is being achieved through the development, implementation and enforcement of provincially-set accessibility standards:
- Customer Service Standard
- Information and Communications Standard
- Employment Standard
- Transportation Standard
- Design of Public Spaces Standard
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR)
The IASR establishes accessibility standards for four (4) of the five (5) standards, including information and communications, employment, transportation and design of public spaces. The IASR also establishes a compliance framework for organizations which is outlined largely in the general requirements of the regulation.
The general requirements section of the IASR include requirements related to the establishment of accessibility policies and plans as well as establishing requirements for the procurement of goods, services and facilities. The general requirements also address self-serve kiosks and training. Exemptions for filing accessibility reports are also covered here.
Relevant Links and Documents related to General Requirements:
Finally, it’s important to note that the IASR or any other part of the AODA does not replace or impact obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or other laws relating to accommodation of disability. This may mean that there are additional measures or measures that are different from the AODA that are required in meeting accessibility or accommodation needs of persons with disabilities.
Summary of Standards and Requirements of the AODA
1. Customer Service Standard
The Customer Service Standard was the first AODA standard to be passed into law. It came to effect on January 1, 2008. This standard aims to ensure that those offering services to the public do so in ways that take into account the needs of persons with disabilities. Thus a range of initiatives are required under this standard including development of policies related to accessible customer service practice, and training on provision of accessible customer service. Similar to the other portions of the AODA, dates for compliance with various requirements in the standard vary depending on size and type of the organization. As a large public sector organization, with more than 20 people, Trent University was required to comply with requirements in this standard by January 1, 2010.
Relevant Links and Documents related to Customer Service Standard:
2. Information and Communications Standard
This standard establishes requirements for organizations to create, provide and receive information and communications in ways which are accessible for persons with disabilities. The standard establishes requirements for the following areas:
- Accessible formats and communication supports
- Emergency procedures, plans and public safety information
- Accessible websites and web content
- Educational and training resources and materials
- Training for educators
- Producers of educational and training material
- Libraries of educational and training institutions; and
- Public libraries
Relevant Links and Documents related to the Information and Communication Standard:
3. Employment Standard
The Employment Standard requires that employers provide for accessibility across the entire employment cycle. This standard aims to address barriers so that employees can reach their full potential. Issues addressed through this standard include notification of the availability of accommodation throughout the employment cycle and the need for development of policies and procedures related to written individual accommodation plans, and individual emergency response information.
Trent has developed policies and practices to bring the organization into compliance with this standard including development of a template and process to respond to individuals who may require accommodation during emergency situations. Issues related to accommodation in the employment process have been addressed in the new Accommodation Policy for Employees with Disabilities (2014).
Relevant Links and Documents related to the Employment Standard:
4. Transportation Standard
This standard applies to transportation providers including municipalities, universities, colleges, hospitals and school boards. The aim is to make services accessible to persons with disabilities in order to support them in living, working and participating in their communities. Accessible transportation will also benefit seniors, families with strollers and those who visit Ontario. This standard is extensive and covers multiple aspects of accessible transportation from policies and procedures to service and technical aspects related to accessible features and equipment.
5. Design of Public Spaces Standard (formerly the Built Environment Standard)
This standard was the last standard to come into effect. It became law as of January 1, 2013. The aim is to improve the accessibility of public spaces through implementation of design features to the built environment. This standard works in conjunction with the Ontario Building Code by regulation aspects not covered in this code. Largely this means introduction of requirements for outdoor spaces; however, this standard also addresses interior space related to the provision of service such as waiting areas, service counters and queuing lines. The additional areas covered by this standard include:
- Recreational Trails and Beach Access Routes
- Outdoor Public Use Eating Areas
- Outdoor Play Spaces
- Exterior Paths of Travel
- Accessible Parking
Relevant Links and Documents related to the Design of Public Spaces Standard: