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Tel: 416-487-5824 Fax: 866-570-5430

Email: goldfried@goldfriedlaw.com

 

 

The Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA)

Background

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 barriers:   

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 continuum.