The AODA Experts at Optimal Performance forewarned employers this would happen. Here we go….

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over a year ago the AODA/ADA Consultants at Optimal Performance started to forewarn our clients and attendees at national conferences in which we were speakers that more politically motivated members of the disabled community (which represents a small percentage of the disabled and ageing population) would take employers to task for perceived & real non-compliance with the AODA Standards in Ontario.

Lo and Behold here is the first evidence our team has found which is contained in a Blog entitled;

“ENFORCEMENT”
“Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)”

The Blog which is now up and running and announced by the AODA Group on Linked In goes on as follows below. This will provide your company with a flavour of what your organization will experience on an increasing basis as we as a province move through the CSS Regulation, the Integrated Accessibility Standards, now a Regulation and eventually the Build Code for Accessibility (yet to be Regulated).

“Document Your AODA Violation for All to See”

“If you have been affected by an Accessibility issue that is not being addressed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) then this is the place for you.

Here you can document any violations you have run into from business or other Public sector organizations that are not complying with the AODA because the Government is not enforcing it as they should be.”

To provide you with more background it is the Human Rights Code for Ontario which is the  Code now which oversees any other regulations or standards related to the accommodation of individuals with disabilities. This means it supersedes the AODA Act 2005, the WSIB and employer obligations to accommodate disabled workers, the Employment Standards Act and the Build Code as it is. This means that at any time an employee, visitor, client, supplier who has interacted in your organization in any way but finds their disability was not accommodated can make a formal complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal (changed and updated 2008 which seemed to go unnoticed on the part of many employers in Ontario). In fact as of last year the number one reason -39% of all Human Rights complaints – were related to the non-accommodation of a disability!

It would appear from this new complaints driven Blog that those individuals and communities who believe more strongly in the stick versus the carrot will use both the Human Rights Code and the AODA Act in an effort to push both the provincial government and private companies to move their efforts along in embracing the AODA’s Customer Service Standards, the Integrated Standards and the Build Code (once released).

Our Blog which is written as a resource for employers of all sizes relative to the AODA. With this in mind our recommendations at Optimal Performance include;

1. Read more of the Blogs we have posted over the last 2 years to become more aware of the AODA and the Goals of the AODA (Fully accessible province by 2025). Do not rely on the ADO (Accessibility Directorate of Ontario) or the Ministry of Community and Social Services to inform you about the AODA or what is required to comply with the CSS or IASR.  They have to this point in time done an abysmal job of doing this.

2. Contact us at AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca and speak with one of our AODA Consultants to learn more about the AODA and what needs to be done ASAP for compliance with the CSS (Mandatory reporting of your company’s compliance is December 31 2012)

3. Use bona fide experts in Accessibility and the AODA as there are many imposters in the field hanging shingles from their office doors saying they are experts. Experts are comprised of an experienced team of AODA Strategic and Policy Experts; AODA Design/Human Factors Design experts; AODA Construction/Design/Facility/IT experts who work strategically with your company to deliver the comprehensive Accessibility/Diversity/Inclusion programs needed to bring about real and long lasting change in your organization and your workplace.

4. DO not use a piecemeal approach to the AODA compliance. This will prevent your organization from truly accommodating visitors, clients, customers, vendors and employers irrespective of their abilities and disabilities.  Piecemeal approaches tend to rely solely on HR departments to pull together “something in writing” and to quickly “train people to be more sensitive“. These approaches and the non use of industry experts such as Optimal Performance will leave your organization susceptible to fines, inspections, brand and image damage (see the Blog Above) and most importantly prevent your organization from being a truly healthy and diverse employer in the province.

5. Contact us at 1 888 768-2106 or AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca so we can provide you with our summary of the “Releasing Constraints: Projecting the Economic Impacts of Increased Accessibility in Ontario”.  As well Optimal’s experts, after you have contacted us, will provide a no-cost talk to your Senior level Facility, Design, Real Estate, HR, IT and Purchasing VP’s in your organization about the real, measurable ROI’s of incorporating Accessibility at all levels of the organization.

The solutions are not as challenging as most private businesses think and they do not require vast amounts of capital to bring about an accessible and diverse organization. The experts at Optimal Performance Consultants look forward helping your organization realize the ROI and company Brand/reputation related benefits in moving on this now and into 2013.

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