New Access Standards Will Impact Ontario Businesses

Businesses required to formulate accessibility plans and deliver staff training 

The Ontario government is about to change the way workplaces in the province operate with sweeping legislation governing accessibility standards for the disabled. The new mandatory changes will impact almost every business in the province, but many aren’t aware of it. And no one is quite sure how much it will all cost.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was introduced as part of a strategy to make Ontario fully accessible for the disabled by 2025. The Customer Service Standard, covering how the disabled will access services in public places, became law for the public sector in January 2010. It will apply to businesses starting in January 2012, and other pieces will follow. The Integrated Accessibility Regulation, which is now in the public feedback phase, will include requirements for information and communications (including web sites), employment and transportation for those with disabilities. The Built Environment Standard, which aims to break down barriers in buildings and other structures for people with disabilities, is still under development.

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