The Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA)
The AODA became law in 2005. The goal of the AODA 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. The AODA applies
to organizations in both the public and private sectors. It sets standards that require
organizations to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities
in key areas of daily living.
Barriers prevent persons with disabilities from being able to fully engage in all
aspects of society because of their disability. The AODA outlines the following
Architectural barriers refer to the design of buildings and areas near buildings
(shape of a room, size of a doorway, stairs or lack of elevators, landscaping etc.)
Physical barriers refer to objects that are added to an environment, such as doors,
windows, elevators, furniture, bathroom hardware, etc.
Information and communication barriers refer to difficulties in sending or receiving
information or communications. Examples include: small print, confusing designs,
ambiguous language, unclear signage etc.
Attitude barriers refer to an inability to communicate or interact with persons with
disabilities either because of a lack of understanding about the disability or because
of discrimination. For example, avoiding persons with disabilities, or helping them
when they have not asked for help, or speaking to an adult with a disability as if
he or she is a child are all forms of attitude barriers.
Technology, or lack of it, can prevent people from accessing information. Everyday
tools such as computers, telephones and other aids can all present barriers if they
are not set up or designed with accessibility in mind.
Policies, practices and procedures can also prevent access for persons with disabilities.
For example, a clothing store that has a “no refund” policy and has no way for someone
in a scooter to enter their change rooms, prevents full access to goods for individuals
with mobility disabilities.
The Accessibility Standards
The AODA outlines a variety of Standards that set out requirements for organizations.
1. Built Environment Standard is intended to make buildings, structures and premises
accessible to all Ontarians. The Standard may be regarded as a supplement or an add-on
to Ontario’s Building Code Act.
2. Customer Service Standard (Ontario Regulation 429/07) requires organizations to
provide goods and services to customers in an accessible manner. .
3. The Information and Communications Standard requires organizations to provide
information and communications to people with disabilities in a way that accommodates
their disability and, as well the standard requires organizations to make their websites
accessible to persons with disabilities.
4. The Transportation Standard’s goal is to make it easier for people with disabilities
to travel in Ontario on buses, trains, subways, streetcars, ferries and taxis.
5. The Employment Standard is intended to make it easier for people with disabilities
to work in the general population. It addresses access issues across the employment