The countdown to the holiday season is now on, and while many of us may be preoccupied with finishing (or starting) our shopping, there is another important deadline looming. By December 31, 2012, all organizations with 20 or more employees must file a Compliance Report with the Ministry of Community and Social Services, confirming that the organization has met the Customer Service Standard issued under the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”).
The Customer Service Standard requires that all Ontario businesses and organizations with one or more employee create and implement an accessibility policy that:
- Focuses on principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity;
- Allows for assistive devices;
- Takes disability into account in terms of communication;
- Welcomes support persons, guide dogs and other service animals; and
- Provides notice when accessible services are not available.
Pursuant to the Customer Service Standard, employees must be appropriately trained with respect to accessible customer service, and records relating to this training should be kept. Organizations are further required to: ensure their policy is in writing; communicate where the written policy can be found; and ensure that the policy is available in accessible formats.
The Compliance Report confirming that the above steps have been taken can be filed online through ServiceOntario’s ONe-Source for Business. A list of questions that will be asked when completing the Compliance Report can be found at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/customerService/report_questions.aspx