Under the AODA, private or non-profit businesses with twenty to forty-nine (20-49) workers, or fifty (50) or more workers, must complete accessibility reports every three years. The next accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses were due on December 31st, 2020. However, the Ontario government has extended this deadline. Accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses are now due on June 30th, 2021. In addition, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division (AODT) audits businesses to verify compliance. Accessibility audits for private or non-profit businesses help everyone obey the law.
Accessibility Audits for Private or Nonprofit Businesses
Every year, the AODT inspects businesses to find out whether they are compliant. Moreover, some businesses choose “no” when answering some questions in the accessibility report. When the AODT finds businesses non-compliant, it offers tools and resources to help them learn and obey the law. Moreover, the AODT helps businesses develop new deadlines for full compliance. A new deadline gives workers time to educate themselves and to implement full compliance.
However, some businesses may still not make the effort to change their policies or practices. For instance, a business might refuse to comply with various AODA standards, including:
- Implementing customer service policies that welcome visitors with assistive devices
- Writing emergency response plans for workers with disabilities
- Making their web content accessible for computer users with disabilities
- Allowing service animals on all buses and taxis
- Installing Fixed waiting areas and service counters for visitors with visible and invisible disabilities
When businesses refuse to learn about and obey the law, the AODT will order them to comply. If they do not obey this order, they may be fined or taken to court.
In contrast, businesses can educate themselves about the AODA and how to comply. This knowledge will help businesses serve every customer or client, not just those without disabilities. People with disabilities are part of the public, and their numbers are increasing. Therefore, only by obeying the AODA can businesses truly serve the whole public. Accessibility audits for private or non-profit businesses help ensure that laws for the public good are upheld.