The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005. Under this landmark legislation, the government of Ontario has developed mandatory accessibility standards that identifies, removes, and prevents barriers for people with disabilities.

Why Does Ontario Need this Act?

When we think of disabilities, we tend to think of people in wheelchairs and physical disabilities – disabilities that are visible and apparent. But disabilities can also be non-visible. We can’t always tell who has a disability. The broad range of disabilities also includes vision disabilities, deafness or being hard of hearing, intellectual or developmental, learning, and mental health disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) uses the same definition of “disability” as the Ontario Human Rights Code, which includes both visible and non-visible disabilities.
Disability impacts the lives of many Ontarians, and the numbers of people with disabilities is increasing. Today, 15.5% of Ontario’s population has a disability and this number will continue to grow as the population ages.
Improving accessibility is the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do. According to the Royal Bank of Canada, people with disabilities have an estimated spending power of about $25 billion annually across Canada. People with disabilities also represent a large pool of untapped employment potential. When we make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities, everyone benefits.

Who is Affected?

The AODA applies to all levels of government, non-profits, and private sector businesses across Ontario who have one or more staff.
The AODA gives government authority to set monetary penalties to enforce compliance with accessibility standards.

What is Required?

The Accessible Customer Service Standard was the first standard to come into effect and all of Ontario’s non-profits and businesses were to be compliant as of January 1, 2012. For more information on the compliance deadlines of the five AODA Standards, Accessibility Ontario has put together a summary: At A Glance: AODA Deadlines (PDF).

Compliance Reporting Requirements

In 2014, organizations with 20+ employees needed to file a second report with the government confirming their continued compliance with the Customer Service Standard.  Gateway CHC falls into the 20+ employee category with less than 50 employees.

Links to Gateway's Policies and compliance documents:

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (139Kb PDF)