Tuesday, 18 April 2017

New AODA Requirements Effective January, 2017: What You Need to Know

New standards for 2017 are in place under the Accessibility of Ontarians with a Disability Act (AODA) for small-to-medium sized businesses, and they have the potential to impact nearly any business in the Province. Are your properties and processes properly updated to ensure accessibility for workers and customers?

While businesses may want to consult with qualified legal professionals for information on how the new regulations apply to them specifically, the most important changes are discussed below.

Key Points in The New AODA Regulations

Hiring Processes:

Businesses must inform applicants of existing disability accommodations in the hiring process, as well as taking reasonable steps to accommodate disabilities if requested by an applicant. Once an applicant is accepted, they must be informed of the accommodations they will have access to.

Employee Notifications:

Employees must be appraised of all accommodations in place, as well as the business disability accommodation policies. They must also receive notification if accommodations or policies change.

Communication Accessibility:

When requested by an employee with a disability, an employer must provide suitable methods of communication which can accommodate their disability. This extends to both communications necessary for job performance, as well as internal communications within or about the company.

Performance Evaluation and Employee Development:

Companies utilizing procedures or metrics to evaluate employee success or encourage growth must take individual disabilities under consideration when making these evaluations. Likewise, decisions regarding career advancement, promotion, or further training must also be considered and implemented with respect to individual disabilities.

Redeployments:

Should an employee be "redeployed" or laterally-shifted within an organization as an alternative to layoffs, their individual disabilities must be considered and accommodated when assigning new roles. Any accommodation plans in place in their previous placement should be replicated as best as possible in their new role.

If Your Business Has 20+ Employees:

Medium-size or larger operations now have to file an Accessibility Compliance Report with the Ontario government every two years detailing the steps they have taken to ensure AODA compliance. Small businesses with less than twenty employees are exempt from this requirement.

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