The standards of the AODA mandate how organizations must remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. The AODA standards govern how organizations can offer services that meet the needs of all Ontarians, including citizens with disabilities.
Each of the AODA standards has rules for different sectors of the economy. The standards govern organizations that:
- Offer goods, services, or facilities
- Employ Ontario workers
- Provide accommodation
- Own or use a building or other premises
- Operate a business
Currently, there are five AODA standards:
- The Information and Communications Standards
- The Employment Standards
- The Transportation Standards
- The Design of Public Spaces Standards
- The Customer Service Standards
In addition, two new AODA standards are being developed:
The standards require organizations to create policies and practices that identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. These barriers may impact how people access their services, buildings, or employment. For instance, the standards require all new sidewalks to be wide. This mandate supports the needs of citizens with physical disabilities to move freely. Moreover, the standards also require organizations to provide accessible formats and Communication supports upon request. This mandate helps all people be aware of any printed or spoken material.
Furthermore, AODA standards require all organizations to have accessible hiring processes. This mandate ensures that hiring personnel remove barriers for applicants with disabilities and improve their chances for employment. In addition, the standards require that new public transit vehicles, such as buses and trains, are accessible. This mandate makes it possible for more people to travel freely around their cities and the province. Finally, the standards require that customer service personnel are trained to communicate with and serve customers with disabilities. This mandate gives all customers access to service that meets their needs while upholding their dignity.
What can an AODA standard include?
A standard specifies the kinds of organizations or sectors of the economy that must follow it. For instance, some standards have rules that apply only to public sector organizations or private businesses with fifty or more workers. In addition, some organizations must obey more than one standard. For instance, a newly-built shopping mall must comply with the Design of Public Spaces Standards and the Customer Service Standards. Standards also provide deadlines for the organizations that must follow them. In other words, they specify how soon a business needs to begin following their rules.
Our next article will outline how standards development committees work to create AODA standards.