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Employment Accessibility Training in Ontario and Manitoba

The Employment Standards under the AODA and the Accessible Employment Standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act both require organizations to make employment processes and practices accessible to workers with disabilities. Moreover, both standards require many of the same processes and practices to ensure accessibility. However, there are many important differences between the standards. The third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should coordinate with other provinces and the federal government to ensure that accessibility laws are consistent across Canada. Therefore, requirements in the AODA may one day change to align with mandates under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. In this article, we will explore employment accessibility training in Ontario and Manitoba.

Employment Accessibility Training in Ontario and Manitoba

Under the Accessible Employment Standard of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), all organizations must have employment accessibility training. Employees who should receive this training include personnel responsible for:

  • Recruiting or hiring
  • Training colleagues
  • Supervising
  • Managing
  • Coordinating
  • Promoting and redeploying colleagues
  • Terminating
  • Creating and implementing their organizations’ employment policies

This training must teach all these workers how to:

  • Make job opportunities accessible to citizens with disabilities
  • Communicate and interact with people who have disabilities, including people who use:
    • Assistive devices
    • Service animals
    • Support persons

Moreover, training must also include overviews of the:

  • Human Rights Code
  • Accessibility for Manitobans Act
  • Accessible Employment Standard

Employees must receive this training as soon as possible after they start their new positions. In addition, all these workers should receive updated training whenever their organization changes policies, practices, or measures for accessible employment. Finally, all public-sector organizations, and large private-sector organizations, must have written policies for employment accessibility training. These policies should outline the content of training, as well as when training should take place.

Improvements to Employment Accessibility Training

Ontario’s Employment Standards do not currently require organizations to train employees in management positions about accommodation or other accessible employment practices. However, this training is somewhat comparable to training on accessible customer service, required in both Ontario and Manitoba. For instance, AODA customer service training also teaches employees and policy-makers about interacting with people who use:

Likewise, workers and volunteers learn about their provinces’ laws governing accessibility and human rights.

However, since most workers should already have this knowledge through basic customer service training, more training on this content seems redundant. Furthermore, according to the Third Review of the AODA, the requirements for AODA customer service training need many improvements. One of these improvements is the need for training about specific barriers that customers with disabilities face. Therefore, employment accessibility training could benefit from similar improvement. Reduced focus on content that employees should already know about will allow them to learn more about barriers to employment, and how to remove them.

Standards development committees in Ontario and Manitoba may one day work together to align their provinces’ standards for accessible employment. Coordinating these standards would give both regions the opportunity to create strong mandates for employment accessibility training.