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  • AODA Update

    The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was instated in 2005 with the intention of creating a barrier-free Ontario by 2025. The AODA regulates accessibility standards across government, public, and private sectors, with requirements affecting five different areas of business: customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and design of public spaces.

    The AODA standards aim to eliminate obstacles for people with disabilities in public and private life. Note that 1 in 7 Ontarians has a disability, a number that is expected to rise to 1 in 5 by 2036.

    AODA Update: January 2016 Deadlines

    With such a giant overhaul to enact by 2025, the AODA has set a series of phases toward full compliance. Each phase brings another class of organizations under the law.

    The next deadline is coming up on January 1, 2016. By this date, large private companies in Ontario must comply with AODA standards.

    Public entities are already required to comply fully with the AODA. Small private organizations — defined as less than 50 employees — can look forward to a full compliance deadline of January 1, 2017, but must reach certain milestones with the upcoming deadline.

    AODA Compliance Requirements for the January 1, 2016 Deadline

    • Small private organizations must train all employees and volunteers on the accessibility standards set forth in the Human Rights Code and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation.
    • Small businesses must make fully accessible any polls, surveys, or other methods of feedback for the organization. The public must be made aware of the availability of accessible formats for communication.
    • Large private organizations much accommodate requests for accessible forms of communication in a timely manner. Accessible format should not cost more than versions supplied to other members of the public. The public must be made aware of the availability of accessible formats for communication.
    • Large organizations much adhere to AODA Part III, Employment Standards. These standards outline updated HR processes for making current or prospective employees aware of the accessibility resources available to them. If a request for accommodations is made, the organization must document the plan for such accommodations.

    The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services has created a compliance wizard to help you determine what your organization must do to comply with the AODA. You will receive a personalized summary of your obligations.

    What the 2016 AODA Requirements Mean for Online Video

    If your Ontario-based organization uses online video at all, it must be made accessible. For video to be fully accessible to individual with disabilities, it must have closed captioning for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers and video description for blind or low-vision users.

    Non-visual audio content must be accompanied with a transcript.

    Make sure your media player is keyboard accessible, meaning a user can navigate the controls without using a mouse.

    Note that all websites and web content published after January 1, 2012, with minor exceptions, will be required to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA by January 1, 2021. All websites and web content from The Government of Ontario and the Legislative Assembly must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA by January 1, 2016.

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