Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and Accessibility Standards
On June 13, 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) sometimes referred to as Bill 118 received Royal Assent. This legislation requires businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to people in Ontario to meet accessibility standards in five areas:
- Customer Service
- Information and Communications
- Built Environment
The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation, O. Reg. 429/07, became law on January 1, 2008 and applies to designated public sector organizations on and after January 1, 2010 and to other providers of goods and services on and after January 1, 2012.
What is an Accessibility Standard?
An accessibility standard is a rule that persons and organizations are required to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers. By definition, a standard is an agreed way of doing something. It may be voluntary or regulated by law, and it can be local or international in scope.
Standards Development Committees (SDCs)
Under the Act, standards set out the rules that will help make Ontario more accessible. All proposed accessibility standards will be developed and recommended to the Minister of Community and Social Services by SDCs that are made up of members of the community, business, broader public sector, affected provincial ministries, people with disabilities and their representatives.
The public is given an opportunity to review and make comments on the standards proposed by SDCs during the required public review period. Following this period, the Minister decides what proposed standards will be recommended to become a regulation. Once a standard has been adopted as a regulation, all affected persons and organizations, including municipalities, are required to comply with the standard within the time frames provided in the regulations. To ensure compliance, the Director can order the affected person or organization to pay a fine, file a report or comply with the Director’s recommendations. Penalties shall apply to those who are convicted of an offence under the Act.
The AODA was passed by the Ontario Legislature with the goal of creating standards to improve accessibility across the province by 2025. The AODA includes five standards which will become law over a number of years in the province of Ontario.
As a customer-focused organization Peel is working diligently to implement Regulation 429/07 and to become fully accessible to persons with disabilities by the Provincial deadline of 2025.
** Above information was obtained from the Ministry of Community and Social Services website.
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