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Did You Know...

Individuals with hearing impairments often use some combination of lip-reading, sign language, and amplification to understand spoken information. People who are deaf from birth generally have more difficulty speaking and understanding the structure of language than those who lost their hearing later in life. In a job setting, everyday noises -- fans and lights -- that are not a bother to hearing people, may have a profound effect on the ability of people with hearing impairments.

Information on Accessibility

It's Time to be Accessible!

DREN envisions a community where employment is accessible to all! Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to develop mandatory, province-wide accessibility standards. Following you will find the rules and deadlines businesses and non-profits must follow to meet accessibility standards in Ontario. These standards will help your business attract new customers and increase the talent pool to recruit new employees.

Accessibility rules for businesses and non-profits (Source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-rules-businesses-and-non-profits)

The rules you need to follow depend on the type and size of your organization. You are exempt if you are self-employed and do not have employees.

How to count your employees

Count all full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract workers. With most employees, you

  • pay wages or a salary
  • have control over the work assigned
  • have a right to control the details of the work

Do not count employees outside Ontario. Do not count volunteers or independent contractors, but you are responsible for ensuring that the services they provide on your behalf follow the rules of Ontario’s accessibility standards. You may need to ensure these individuals are trained to meet the requirements.

1-19 employees

By January 1, 2012, you need to:
Provide accessible customer service (link to Ontario Government website)

  • train your staff and volunteers to serve customers of all abilities
  • welcome service animals and support persons
  • create accessible ways for people to provide feedback
  • put an accessibility policy in place so employees, volunteers and customers can know what to expect

Provide accessible emergency and public safety information (link to Ontario Government website)

When asked, provide publicly available emergency information, like evacuation plans or brochures, in an accessible format.

Provide accessible emergency information to staff (link to Ontario Government website)

When necessary, provide accessible and customized emergency information. You should provide this information as soon as an employee asks for it or when you become aware an employee may need accommodation in an emergency.

By January 1, 2015, you need to:
Create accessibility policies (link to Ontario Government website)

  • this will help you achieve your accessibility goals
  • tell your employees and customers about your policies

Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing self-service kiosks (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes interactive electronic terminals that people use to pay parking fees, validate tickets, buy groceries and renew licences.

By January 1, 2016, you need to:
Train your staff on Ontario’s accessibility laws (link to Ontario Government website)

Train all your employees and volunteers on the accessibility requirements that apply to their job duties and your organization.

Make it easy for people with disabilities to provide feedback when asked (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes surveys or comment cards.

By January 1, 2017, you need to:
Make your public information accessible when asked (link to Ontario Government website)

Work with the person to figure out how to meet their needs as soon as possible.

Make your employment practices accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes how you hire, retain and provide career development opportunities to all your employees.

By January 1, 2018, you need to:
Make new or redeveloped public spaces accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

This applies to:

  • recreational trails and beach access routes
  • parking lots
  • service counters
  • fixed queuing guides
  • waiting areas with fixed seating

20-49 employees

By January 1, 2012, you need to:
Provide accessible customer service (link to Ontario Government website)

  • train your staff and volunteers to serve customers of all abilities
  • welcome service animals and support persons
  • create accessible ways for people to provide feedback
  • put an accessibility policy in place, so your employees, volunteers and customers can know what to expect

Provide accessible emergency and public safety information (link to Ontario Government website)

When asked, provide publicly available emergency information, like evacuation plans or brochures, in an accessible format.

Provide accessible emergency information to staff (link to Ontario Government website)

When necessary, provide accessible and customized emergency information. You should provide this information as soon as an employee asks for it or when you become aware an employee may need accommodation in an emergency.

By December 31, 2014, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By January 1, 2015, you need to:
Create accessibility policies (link to Ontario Government website)

  • create policies to help you achieve your accessibility goals
  • tell your employees and customers about your policies

Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing self-service kiosks (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes interactive electronic terminals that people use to pay parking fees, validate tickets, buy groceries and renew licences.

By January 1, 2016, you need to:
Train your staff on Ontario’s accessibility laws (link to Ontario Government website)

Train all your employees and volunteers on the accessibility requirements that apply to their job duties and organization.

Make it easy for people with disabilities to provide feedback when asked (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes surveys or comment cards.

By January 1, 2017, you need to:
Make your public information accessible when asked (link to Ontario Government website)

Work with the person to figure out how to meet their needs as soon as possible.

Make your employment practices accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes how you hire, retain and provide career development opportunities to all your employees.

By December 31, 2017, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By January 1, 2018, you need to:
Make new or redeveloped public spaces accessible  (link to Ontario Government website)

This applies to:

  • recreational trails and beach access routes
  • parking lots
  • service counters
  • fixed waiting lines
  • waiting areas with fixed seating

By December 31, 2020, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By December 31, 2023, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

50+ employees

By January 1, 2012, you need to:
Provide accessible customer service (link to Ontario Government website)

  • train your staff and volunteers to serve customers of all abilities
  • keep a written record of the training
  • welcome service animals and support persons
  • create accessible ways for people to provide feedback
  • put an accessibility policy in place so your employees, volunteers and customers can know what to expect

Provide accessible emergency and public safety information (link to Ontario Government website)

When asked, provide publicly available emergency information, like evacuation plans or brochures, in an accessible format. 

Provide accessible emergency information to staff (link to Ontario Government website)

When necessary, provide accessible and customized emergency information. You should provide this information as soon as an employee asks for it or when you become aware an employee may need accommodation in an emergency.

By January 1, 2014, you need to:
Create accessibility policies and a multi-year plan (link to Ontario Government website)

  • create policies and a multi-year accessibility plan to help you achieve your accessibility goals
  • tell your employees and customers about your policies
  • post the multi-year plan  on your website in an accessible format

Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing self-service kiosks (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes interactive electronic terminals that people use to pay parking fees, validate tickets, buy groceries and renew licences.

Make websites accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes only new websites and old websites you significantly update and new web content you create.

By December 31, 2014, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By January 1, 2015, you need to:
Train your staff on Ontario’s accessibility laws (link to Ontario Government website)

Train all your employees and volunteers on the accessibility requirements that apply to their job duties and your organization. 

Make it easy for people with disabilities to provide feedback (link to Ontario Government website)

This includes surveys or comment cards.

By January 1, 2016, you need to:
Make your public information accessible when asked (link to Ontario Government website)

Work with the person to figure out how to meet their needs as soon as possible.

Make your employment practices accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

  • make how you hire, retain and provide career development opportunities accessible
  • document your processes for developing individual accommodation plan and return-to-work plans

By January 1, 2017, you need to:
Make new or redeveloped public spaces accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

  • recreational trails and beach access routes
  • outdoor public use eating areas
  • outdoor play spaces
  • public outdoor paths of travel
  • parking lots
  • service counters
  • fixed waiting lines
  • waiting areas with fixed seating

By December 31, 2017, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By December 31, 2020, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

By January 1, 2021, you need to:
Make all websites and web content accessible (link to Ontario Government website)

By December 31, 2023, you need to:
File an Accessibility Compliance Report (link to Ontario Government website)

Source: Accessibility rules for businesses and non-profits, Ontario Government, https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-rules-businesses-and-non-profits Accessed January 6, 2017