Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law in 2005 with the stated purpose of “recognizing the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario” and to “achieve accessibility in goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises” by 2025. To achieve this objective, a series of standards have been developed which organizations must comply with.
As of June 2017, businesses and non-profit organizations with 1-19 employees (such as midwifery practice groups) are required to:
- Provide “accessible customer service”.
- Create policies on accessibility (which need not be in writing), which are consistent with the principles set forth (e.g., dignity, independence, integration, equal opportunity) and welcome service animals, support persons, and assistive devices. The Ontario government has a template policy that practices could adapt if they wished to develop a written policy.
- Train workers on Ontario’s accessibility laws, the practice’s policies on accessibility and on providing accessible service, including all of the required elements of such training.
- Upon request, provide the following to clients and workers in a format that is accessible to them:
- Emergency information (e.g., evacuation plans, fire alarms);
- Feedback processes (e.g., quality of care evaluations);
- Public information (e.g., intake forms, website information); and
- Information that a worker needs to do their job and about the workplace generally (e.g., practice protocols).
- Make worker practices accessible, including in recruitment, workplace information, feedback processes, and by communicating accessibility policies.
- Consider accessibility if purchasing or designing self-service kiosks (e.g., electronic terminals to pay for parking).
- Additionally, as of January 2018, businesses and non-profit organizations with 1-19 employees (such as midwifery practice groups) are required to make new or redeveloped public spaces accessible (e.g., parking, waiting areas and service counters).
- Organizations with 20 or more employees must adhere to additional requirements.