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Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005 with the goal of creating an accessible Ontario by 2025. This legislation is unique because it:

  • Applies to both public and private organizations
  • Requires obliged organizations to be proactive in identifying, preventing and removing barriers to accessibility
  • Shifts the focus from the individual who requires an accommodation to the obligation of organizations to remove barriers

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, S.O. 2005, c.11. is implemented on an ongoing basis through Accessibility Standards that have been developed to designate areas, create rules, and provide timelines around enhancing accessibility for persons with disabilities in Ontario. The five Standards under the AODA are the Customer Service Standard and the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (IASR), which is comprised of four integrated Standards. These include:

  • Information & Communications Standard
  • Employment Standard
  • Transportation Standard
  • Design of Public Spaces (Built Environment) Standard

The AODA requires that the Province review the standards every five years. The aim of this review is to determine if the standards need to be updated.

McMaster University is obligated to keep a public record of its plans for complying with the AODA. Learn more about the University’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.

Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

The General section of the Integrated Accessibility Standards sets the tone and layout of the subsequent Standards. This section also governs several areas of accessibility compliance for Ontario institutions, businesses, and organizations, including:

  • Establishment of accessibility policies
  • Accessibility plans
  • Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities
  • Self service kiosks and
  • Training

The Customer Service Regulation into came into effect on January 1, 2010 for public sector organizations such as McMaster University. It currently makes up 1 of 6 standards in the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, S.O. 2005, c.11.

In order to comply with this standard, McMaster established policies, practices and procedures that outline the provision of its goods and services to persons with disabilities. These policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the four core principles:

  • Independence – Recognizing when a person is able to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others.
  • Dignity – Providing service in a way that allows the individual to maintain self-respect and the respect of other persons.
  • Integration – Providing service in a way that allows the individual to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar way as other students, employees, visitors, unless an alternate measure is necessary.
  • Equality of Opportunity – Providing service to individuals in such a way that they have an opportunity to access goods or services equal to that given to others.

Areas covered within this Standard include:

  • The establishment of accessibility policies
  • The use of Service Animals and Support Persons
  • Notice of temporary disruptions
  • AODA training for staff
  • Feedback processes and
  • Format of documents

The Information and Communication Standard is a part of the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation. This Standard contains the terminology, processes and guidelines that institutions, organizations and businesses in Ontario must follow in order to create, provide, and receive communication and information that is accessible to all people in Ontario, and in particular, persons with disabilities.

This Standard is comprehensive and encompasses areas of:

The Employment Standard exists within the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation to provide employers of Ontario institutions, businesses and organizations terminology, processes and guidelines around accessible employee recruitment and communication, interviewing, hiring and employment practices.

Areas within the Employment Standard include:

  • Recruitment, assessment or selection processes
  • Notice to successful applicants
  • Informing employees of supports
  • Accessible formats and communication supports for employees
  • Workplace emergency response information
  • Documented individual accommodation plans
  • Return to work process
  • Performance management
  • Career development and advancement and
  • Redeployment

The Transportation Standard is a comprehensive Standard within the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation that covers the accessible provision of conventional and specialized transportation services, as well as the duties of municipalities and taxicabs. For the purposes of McMaster University,  areas that are especially applicable include:

  • School transportation and;
  • Public sector organizations

The Accessibility Standard for the Built Environment will help remove barriers in buildings and outdoor spaces for people with disabilities. The Standard will apply only to new construction and extensive renovation and covers areas of outdoor recreation / use, including:

  • Recreational trails
  • Beach access routes
  • Parking
  • Audible pedestrian signals
  • Intersections from a pedestrian perspective
  • Sidewalks
  • Playground equipment for children and youth
  • The maintenance of these spaces

Please visit the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation for the most recent updates to the Design of Public Spaces Standard.