Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Presented byMaureen T. McKay, B.A., LL.B. October 22, 2012 Girl Geeks Toronto
The Legislative Intent: Why Do We Have the AODA?Bede Vanderhorst Melissa Graham
What Constitutes a Disability?Technical Definition:•Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that iscaused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality ofthe foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree ofparalysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment,deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physicalreliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedialappliance or device,•A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,•A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved inunderstanding or using symbols or spoken language,•A mental disorder, or•An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under theinsurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997;(“handicap”)
AODA -The Core Principles• The goods or services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.• The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others must be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary.• Persons with disabilities must be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.
Communicate with the Public• The legislation is drafted in a broad manner whichfocuses on the core principles of independence,dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.• The intent is to foster communication betweenservice providers and those who they might serve.• Given the variety of organizations and the varyingneeds of disabled persons, the legislation focuses onprinciples, procedures and interaction betweenservice providers, clientele and the public at large.
Requirements – Develop a PolicyDevelop a policy for:• Providing goods and services to the disabled• Allowing assistive devices where required• Allowing the use of service animals and support persons• Providing alternative means of communication for persons whose disability impacts their ability to communicate• Providing notice of any service interruption, along with how and when it will be remedied• Having a process through which customers can provide feedback• Providing for the training of all staff, including non-employees• Dealing with the availability and format of documents• Reviewing processes and policies on a regular basis
Staff Training•Ensure that those individuals in your organizationresponsible for developing and enforcing policies,practices and procedures dealing with accessibilitymatters are educated about the AODA’s requirements.•Train all staff, volunteers, contractors and anyone dealswith the public or third parties (i.e. business to businessservice providers) to follow your Accessibility Policy.
Feedback ProcessEvery provider of goods or services shall establish a process forreceiving and responding to feedback about the manner in which itprovides goods or services to persons with disabilities and shall makeinformation about the process readily available to the public.The feedback process must permit persons to provide their feedbackin person, by telephone, in writing, or by delivering an electronic textby email or on diskette or otherwise. It should address the nature ofthe disabilities which may impede communication when deciding onthe nature of the feedback process.The feedback process must specify the actions that the provider ofgoods or services will to take if a complaint is received.
Special RequirementsDesignated public sector organizations and other serviceproviders with 20 or more employees (including part-time andseasonal workers, but not volunteers) must:• Document in writing all of their policies, practices and procedures for providing accessible customer service and meet other document requirements set out in the standard.• Give public notice that documents required under the customer service standard are available upon request.• When giving documents required under the customer service standard to a person with a disability, provide the information in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.
Special ReportingDesignated public sector organizations andother service providers with 20 or moreemployees must also file an accessibilityreport annually or as otherwise directed bythe Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration,and make the report available to the public.
Monitoring and EnforcementOne or more directors appointed under the AODA will beable to issue orders for compliance with the Act. Therewill be an appeal process to the Licence Appeal Tribunal.A director may also issue administrative penalties of up to$15,000. Employers who do not comply with an order willalso be subject to court prosecution and fines of up to$100,000 per day. A person who furnishes false ormisleading information (e.g., a false report) can be finedup to $50,000.
Penalties• A person who commits an offence under the Act is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues to occur; or• If the person is a corporation, to a fine of not more than $100,000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues to occur.