Mark Your Calendar: AODA Compliance Report Deadline Approaching on December 31, 2023
There are important legislative compliance deadlines that Ontario employers should be preparing towards.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) establishes accessibility standards in the province and imposes accessibility deadlines based on the size and nature of organizations through its Integrated Accessibility Standards. Under the AODA, all businesses operating within Ontario with 20 or more employees must file an Accessibility Compliance Reporting Form (“Compliance Report”) every three years. The next Compliance Report is due by December 31, 2023. (*Employers with less than 20 employees still have AODA obligations. Filing a report simply isn’t among them.) We recommend employers download the Compliance Report – available here – to assess if their organization has any compliance gaps. Most gaps can be resolved with thoughtful planning over the coming months, but the time to take the initiative is now.
One important obligation for “large organizations” (50-plus employees in Ontario) is in respect of online accessibility. Such organizations have been required to satisfy Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (“WCAG”) since January 1, 2021. This includes Level AA of the WCAG, except for some of the more onerous requirements involving closed captioning (s. 1.2.4 of WCAG) and audio descriptions (s. 1.2.5 of WCAG). We anticipate there will be little regulatory sympathy for employers who have failed to satisfy their web accessibility obligations three years following the initial deadline. Another obligation for large employers to be mindful of is the development of a multi-year accessibility plan.
The Compliance Report includes a statement certifying that all the required information provided is accurate. It must be executed by a member of management, although another designate can serve as the point of contact with the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility. We recommend a director of human resources or other such executive lead the completion of the Compliance Report and the resolution of outstanding compliance gaps.
If you have any questions regarding
the AODA or Compliance Reports, please contact a member of the Workplace
Law Group. In addition, our 2023 Workplace Law Summit will be held November
14 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This in-person event will provide clear and
succinct guidance on issues facing employers. Click
here for full details and to register.