The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005, in Ontario. The AODA was enacted to achieve accessibility for all Ontarians with disabilities by 2025. It allows the government to develop and enforce accessibility standards with the help of persons with disabilities and industry representatives.
The Province of Ontario’s goal is to make an accessible and inclusive province for everyone. Ontario is the first province and one of the first jurisdictions in the world to enact specific legislation establishing a goal and time-frame for accessibility. (“About accessibility laws” 2015)
The 5 Accessibility Standards
The standards below are the five categories into which accessibility requirements are sorted. They define the five key areas of daily life that help organizations identify and remove barriers for persons with disabilities. Each standard has been listed, along with a direct link to the standard within AODA legislation.
- Customer Service Standard
- Design of Public Spaces Standard
- Employment Standard
- Information and Communications Standard
- Transportation Standard
On this website we have focused on the Information and Communications Standard, which states that as of January 1, 2021, all public websites that meet the required criteria must be made accessible. Our Web Accessibility training series articles, written with web content creators in mind, explain how to meet AODA through the guidelines and criteria that are relevant to them.
The AODA defines specific requirements that must be met across the 5 standards. Examples of requirements for your business or organization could include:
- Development of an accessibility plan
- Considering accessibility when procuring goods and services
- Accessibility training for employees
- Notifying visitors of disruptions to certain services (ex. elevator service in a building)
- Providing documents in alternative formats, when required
- Providing accessible customer service in your place of business and ensuring public spaces are accessible
- Accommodating service animals and support persons
- Appropriate accommodations during the hiring process
- Ensuring your website is accessible
- Submission of compliance reports by specific deadlines
Specific requirements and reporting deadlines depend on the type and size of your business or organization. Requirements will vary depending on if you are a business or non-profit with 20 or more employees, with 20 to 49 employees, with over 49 employees, or whether you are a public sector organization.
- Accessibility Requirements for Businesses and Non-Profits
- Accessibility Requirements for Public Sector Organizations
Use the self-assessment tool to determine what requirements your business or organization needs to meet.Access the AODA Self-Assessment Tool
Enforcement and Penalties
The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario oversees compliance with the AODA through building awareness; encouraging compliance through education and outreach; and verifying and enforcing compliance through inspections and audits.
You can learn more about accessibility compliance and enforcement on ontario.ca.
As per aoda.ca, the maximum penalties under the AODA are severe.
- A person and unincorporated organizations that are guilty of a major offence under this Act can be fined up to $50,000 dollars for each day the violation continues.
- A corporation that is guilty can be fined up to $100,000 per day.
- Directors and officers of a corporation with fiduciary responsibility who are guilty are liable to a fine of up to $50,000 a day.
Additional information about the AODA administrative monetary penalties scheme can be found on the aoda.ca website.
Explore the Hub
It is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which inspired us to develop the Niagara College Accessibility Hub website. We want to empower you with the practical knowledge needed to create accessible content and environments. Students with disabilities face significant challenges in postsecondary education. We believe that these challenges can be addressed in part through accessible document and web content design, which are an essential role in student learning.
While the learning resources on this website focus primarily on educating postsecondary faculty and staff, the material is applicable to anyone who wants to develop accessible digital and other types of content.