Did you know that there have been recent changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the changes to standards and compliance come into effect on July 1, 2016? Is your organization compliant and/or do you know what is required in order to become compliant?
The purpose of the AODA is to ensure that, by the year 2025, the Province of Ontario is totally accessible and barrier free for persons with disabilities. AODA compliance is mandatory for all government, non-profits, and private sector businesses in Ontario that employ one or more persons. These are important changes for all Ontario organizations to understand, as monetary penalties may be applied by the government to enforce compliance. Here are some of the changes to the Accessible Customer Service Standards that matter to your organization and come into effect on July 1,2016:
- All members of your organization, not just those who work with customers or create policy, must be trained on accessible customer service.
- Your Accessible Customer Service Policy needs to be updated, and process implemented, to reflect changes relevant to collecting feedback from customers with disabilities and identifying the need for support persons and service animals.
- If your organization has 20 plus employees there are requirements to file an accessibility compliance report. The deadline to report compliance with changes is December 2017.
- Businesses or non-profits with 50 or more employees must put their Accessible Customer Service Policy in writing, making it available upon request in an accessible format. You may want to include it on your website or post it publicly.
Salopek & Associates recommends that you understand the changes to AODA that are effective July 1, 2016 and that you have a plan to ensure your organization is compliant. We are currently working with a number of organizations in Ontario to ensure they are well prepared to meet the required changes under the Act and to prepare them for reporting requirements. We can support your organization with understanding AODA changes and requirements, implementing training, updating your Accessible Customer Service Policy and developing process to ensure compliance. Call Salopek & Associates today, with consultants in Ottawa and Toronto, to understand what is required and obtain support in meeting AODA requirements in a timely and efficient manner.