TORONTO STAR ARTICLE RE. ACCESSIBILITY & SMALL BUSINESS BEING PENALIZED

“AODA and Small business: Severe penalties for lack of accessibility for the disabled”

AODA is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Many business owners are unaware of the law that requires the filing of compliance reports. They are also unaware of the onerous penalty for non-compliance.

By: Rona Birenbaum Special to The Star, Published on Wed May 15 2013

The AODA’s deadline for providers of goods and services with 20 or more employees to file a Customer Service Accessibility Compliance Report was December 31, 2012.

AODA stands for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Many business owners are unaware of the law that requires the filing of a compliance report. They are also unaware of the onerous penalty for non-compliance.

Employment lawyer Doug MacLeod tells the story of a client of his that received a non-compliance letter from the Ontario government. Her organization was given 15 business days to comply with AODA. Thereafter, the organization would be subject to a fine of $50,000 for each day the organization did not comply with AODA.

“The government has provided fairly user friendly tools to assist employers fulfill their obligations under the act” MacLeod says. There is a detailed package that provides directions on compliance reporting. MacLeod suggests not waiting until you receive a letter from the government to develop an accessibility policy and file the compliance report. “It appears that employers are being given very short deadlines for compliance. It is prudent to file the report now, even though the deadline has passed.”

Businesses with fewer than 20 employees don’t need to file the compliance report, but they are still have obligations under the Customer Standard of AODA. Such obligations include: establishing policies, practices and procedures on providing goods or services to people with disabilities; providing people with disabilities with notice of a temporary disruption in facilities or services; and providing training to certain persons about the provision of its goods or services to persons with disabilities.

Optimal Performance Consultants who have been providing expertise in this area for over 21 years can provide a range of resources to help business owners fulfill their obligations under the Act.

• For every provider of goods and services (except sole proprietors) there is a an accessible customer service policy.

• For every provider of goods and services there are 30-40-minute online training courses by OPC Inc for employees.

• For every provider of goods and services with 20 or more employees OPC Inc provides compliance reporting.

Contact us for an initial strategic meeting with one of our Sr AODA experts at Optimal Performance. We can ensure this process is strategic in approach and long term in its outcomes.  AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca

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