Accessibility requirements under AODA

If you have not already complied with the requirements, now is the time to do so

Accessibility requirements under AODA
Nadia Zaman

Did you know that employers must comply with various requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and its regulations?

For example, employers are obligated to train not only their employees and those who develop the organization's policies, but also volunteers and anyone who provides goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization.

And did you know that many of the compliance deadlines have already passed?

This means if you have not already complied with the requirements, now is the time to do so.


The AODA aims to create a more accessible Ontario by identifying and, to the extent possible, preventing and eliminating barriers experienced by people with disabilities on or before Jan. 1, 2025.

The Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation (IASR) has been enacted under the AODA to establish certain general requirements along with five accessibility standards under the headings of:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Design of Public Spaces.

The requirements vary in large part based on the size of the organization.

These regulations should inform your company’s approach to accessibility and help ensure that your workspaces and practices accommodate for employees of varying needs and abilities.

Accessibility policy: The IASR requires every obligated organization to develop, implement and maintain policies governing how the organization achieves or will achieve accessibility through meeting its requirements referred to in the regulation.

Other than small organizations (that is, organizations with fewer than 50 employees in Ontario), every obligated organization must:

  1. have a written accessibility policy
  2. include in its policy a statement of organizational commitment to meet the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner
  3. make the policy publicly available
  4. provide the policy in an accessible format, upon request.

Multi-year accessibility plan: Large organizations, defined as organizations with at least 50 employees in Ontario, are required to:

  1. establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan, which outlines the organization’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meets its requirements under the IASR
  2. post the accessibility plan on their website, if any, and provide the plan in an accessible format upon request
  3. review and update the accessibility plan at least once every five years.

Large as well as small organizations are required to “have regard” to accessibility for persons with disabilities when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks.

Training personnel and other persons: Every obligated organization must ensure that training is provided on the requirements of the accessibility standards and on the Ontario Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities. The training must be provided to:

  • employees
  • volunteers
  • those who help develop the organization’s policies
  • all other persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization.

The training must be appropriate to the duties of the employees, volunteers and other persons, and provided as soon as practicable. For any changes to the policies, training must be provided on an ongoing basis.

Large organizations must also keep a record of the training provided. The record must include the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals who are trained.

Reporting obligations: Obligated organizations, except for small organizations, are required to file an AODA report. For businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees, the deadline to file an accessibility compliance report was June 30, 2021. The instructions for completing your accessibility compliance report are available here.

Enforcement process: If an organization answers “no” to any question on their report, they are highlighting an area of the AODA and its standards that they are not yet complying with. In that case, a representative from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) will typically contact the organization to assist them with meeting their requirements and establish a “compliance plan”. This plan is a negotiated due date for when the organization plans to reach full AODA compliance and resubmit a report indicating that they have done so.

Organizations that are either uncooperative in this process or unwilling to comply with their requirements will be escalated to a Compliance Officer who will focus on compliance improvement.

Organizations that remain non-compliant, despite being offered compliance supports, can be referred to an AODA Inspector who will determine if enforcement measures are required. Enforcement measures available to the ADO include:

  • conducting inspections on an organization
  • issuing Director’s Orders to comply and/or pay an administrative monetary penalty

Further, the government may, in certain circumstances, elect to prosecute through the courts for specified offences under the AODA, which may result in, upon conviction, fines of up to $50,000 per day for individuals or $100,000 per day for corporations.


While this may seem like a lot to digest, it is critical that you comply with your obligations under the AODA.

As noted above, many of the compliance deadlines have already passed, which means if you haven't already taken steps to comply, you are currently violating the AODA. We urge you to establish strong policies, procedures and training, in order to protect the company as well as to work towards a more accessible Ontario. And as always, ensure that you have an employment lawyer to assist you through this process.

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