If you're an Ontario business with 50 employees or more, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)'s Integrated Accessibility Standard imposes four requirements with a January 1, 2014 compliance deadline. If your business has less than 50 employees, you have until January 1, 2015.
AODA aims to eliminate barriers for people with disabilities so that they can fully participate in and contribute to society. The act will achieve this through five standards, each having its own requirements and compliance dates.
Here's a summary of what the standard requires of these workplaces:
develop, implement and be prepared to maintain written policies on how your business will meet its obligations under the AODA. Accessibility policies must be posted on your website and be reviewed at least once every five years.
develop, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan outlining how the business will prevent and remove barriers, and comply with the standard. The plan must be posted on your website, provided to any person who requests a copy, and reviewed regularly. This requirement does not apply to businesses with less than 50 employees.
incorporate accessibility features when designing, procuring or acquiring self-serve kiosks.
ensure any new internet websites and web content on these sites conforms with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ("WCAG") 2.0 Level A, an internationally accepted standard for internet accessibility that contains guidelines regarding content and accessible formats. This requirement does not apply to businesses with less than 50 employees.
How WSPS can help
WSPS offers a range of services to help businesses meet their AODA obligations. Examples include:
on-site assistance in meeting Customer Service Standard compliance requirements, including policy development and training
on-site assistance in meeting compliance requirements for all five accessibility standards
To learn more about these offerings, call or email WSPS's Customer Care Centre: 1-877-494-WSPS (9777), firstname.lastname@example.org
Also in the works: WSPS workshops on AODA compliance taking place in early 2014. Watch for more information in future issues of WSPS Network News and on the WSPS website.