Amendments to the Customer Service Standard Under the AODA Effective July 1

AuthorYosie Saint-Cyr
DateJune 16, 2016

On June 6, 2016, the Ontario government announced that changes to the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will come into force on July 1, 2016, and apply to all organizations providing goods, services or facilities in the province.

Some background

The general purposes of the AODA are to change attitudes and environments in the private and public sectors toward persons with mild to severe disabilities and to relieve the burden of requesting accommodation from persons with disabilities by obligating organizations to provide accommodation pre-emptively on or before January 1, 2025. Under the Act, organizations that provide goods and services and employ Ontarians are required to take proactive steps to eliminate or reduce the need for accommodation requests and remove any barriers, meaning anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society in the same way as a person that is not disabled. These steps include eliminating or reducing physical, architectural, information and communications, attitudinal, technological barriers, as well as policies or practices.

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service came into force for the private and non-profit sectors on January 1, 2012. Public sector organizations in the province of Ontario had to comply with the customer service standard by January 1, 2010.

The AODA customer service standard outlines what businesses and other organizations in Ontario must do to make their goods and services more accessible to people with disabilities. Every person or organization that provides goods and services to members of the public or other third parties, and has at least one employee in Ontario, must comply; this includes law firms.

The AODA requires that each accessibility standard be reviewed five years after it becomes law to determine whether the standard is working as intended and to allow for adjustments to be made as required.

On January 29, 2016, Ontario’s Regulatory Registry posted proposed amendments to the Customer Service Standard as well as resulting revocation of regulations and minor administrative and housekeeping changes to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation for public review for an additional 45 days, until March 14, 2016.

The draft Regulation amends the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (O. Reg. 191/11) and consequently revokes the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service...

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