Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer # 1685
Employees with disabilitiesRegion: Ontario Answer # 1685
Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) sets out a process for developing accessibility standards in the workplace. Employers are now legally required to make their employment practices accessible to meet the needs of both current employees and job applicants with disabilities.
Who do the AODA standards apply to and when?
Which rules a business must follow depend on the size and type of the organization. Generally, however, the standards apply to all businesses, including non-profits (except where stipulated), which employ full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract workers.
Volunteers and independent contractors should not be counted when determining a business’s number of employees, however, these individuals must still be covered under the new accessibility standards.
Self-employed people who do not have employees are exempt from the new rules.
To meet the Accessible Employment Standard requirements, employers must comply in the following main areas.
For all employees:
- Hiring. Employees and the public must be notified in the hiring process that the needs of people with disabilities will be accommodated.
- Workplace information. Any information an employee needs to perform their job, and any general information available to all employees must be in an accessible format (i.e. braille, audio, large print) if an employee requests it, including information about emergency workplace procedures.
- Talent and performance management. The needs of employees with disabilities must be considered in all performance management or career development processes, such as performance reviews and job promotions.
- Communicate accessibility policies. Current and new employees must be told about the business’s policies to support people with disabilities.
Employers with 50 or more employees:
In addition to the above requirements, employers with 50 or more employees must comply with the following:
- Accommodation plans. A process for creating accommodation plans for employees with disabilities must be developed and put in writing.
- Return to work process. A return to work process to support employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations must be developed and put in writing. Note that this requirement does not apply if an employee’s injury or illness is covered by the return to work provision under another law.
Further requirements come into effect in 2020, 2021, and 2023. For more information on the accessibility rules and deadlines, visit Ontario.ca.
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