Accessibility is good business: what you need to know about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
When we think of people living with disabilities, well-known Canadians like Rick Hansen and Terry Fox often come to mind. But in fact, one in seven people in Ontario have a disability; and over the next 20 years that number will rise to 1 in 5 as the population ages.
Studies show that when businesses hire people with disabilities, the pool of potential employees becomes larger, absenteeism decreases, and staff retention is 72 per cent higher among persons with disabilities.
This adds up to millions of dollars
every year in hiring and training costs.
Organizations have a big role to play in helping to make sure that accessibility for persons with disabilities (development/intellectual, hearing, learning, mental health, physical/mobility and visual) is a normal part of their operations. It’s also legislated. Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and its Employment Standard, persons with disabilities must be provided with equal opportunities for employment with respect to recruitment, retention and accommodation.
Accessibility is not simply about ramps or automatic door openers; it’s about understanding that people with disabilities may have different needs. The Employment Standard mandates that every organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or to other organizations, and has one or more employee, must:
• Develop and document individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities
• Recruit, assess and select and inform employees of supports
• Provide accessible formats and communication supports
• Develop and communicate workplace emergency response information
• Facilitate return to work
• Ensure performance management, redeployment and career development and advancement
The dates to meet the Employment Standard requirements differ between large and small organizations, but all organizations must have workplace emergency response information in place starting January 1, 2012.
To help provide more details and training on how to comply with the Employment Standard, the Human Resources Professionals Association, as part of an EnAbling Change partnership with the Government of Ontario, developed six video shorts that each deals with one of the requirement of
HRPATV CHANNELS is a companion piece to the videos that provides information about the Employment Standard, and that employers can use to build awareness of the Standard with their managers and other staff.
To learn more about the AODA and its Employment Standard and view the EnAbling Change video series and CHANNELS guide, visit www.hrpa.ca/aoda.