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AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Purpose: 

The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is to ensure that all Ontarians have fair and equitable access to programs and services and to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Act will eventually cover all of these areas:

  • Customer Service Standards
  • Information and Communication
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Built Environment

Important Terms

  • Barrier: A barrier is a circumstance or obstacle that keeps people apart. For people with disabilities, barriers can take many forms including attitudinal, communication, physical, policy, programmatic, social, and transportation.
  • Barrier: A barrier is a circumstance or obstacle that keeps people apart. For people with disabilities, barriers can take many forms including attitudinal, communication, physical, policy, programmatic, social, and transportation.
  • Disability: A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. The AODA uses the same definition of disability as the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Organization: Any organization in the public or private sector
  • Large Organization: 50 or more employees
  • Small Organization: 1- 49 employees
  • Redeveloped: Planned significant alterations to public spaces, but does not include maintenance activities, environmental mitigation or environmental restoration
  • Service Animal: An identifiable, working animals, typically wearing a vest or harness, that assists a person with a disability
  • Support Person: Someone who accompanies a person with a disability to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods, services or facilities

AODA includes all disabilities: physical, visible and invisible disabilities, such as learning and mental health disabilities


IASR (Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation)

The IASR includes five standards in the areas of:

  1. Information and communication
  2. Employment
  3. Transportation
  4. Design of public spaces
  5. Customer service

What is the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation? – Information and Communications Standard

The standard outlines requirements for organizations to create, provide and receive information and communications that are accessible to people with disabilities. For example, organizations must provide information and communications in an accessible format to people with disabilities upon request and on time.

What is the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation? – Employment Standard

The standard requires that employers must make their workplace and employment practices accessible to potential or current employees with disabilities. For example, employers that make an offer of employment to a successful job applicant must inform the applicant of their organization’s policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.

What is the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation? – Transportation Standard

The transportation standard sets out the requirements for transportation service providers. Particularly, features and equipment on vehicles, routes, and services offered must be accessible to people with disabilities. For example, no conventional or specialized transportation service is permitted to charge a fare to a support person who is accompanying a person with a disability.

What is the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation? – Design of Public Spaces Standard

The design of public spaces standard outlines the need for newly constructed or redeveloped public spaces to be accessible for people with disabilities. For example, organizations must provide accessible parking for people with disabilities when building new or redeveloping existing parking spaces.

What is the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation? – Customer Service Standard

The standard outlines requirements for removing barriers for people with disabilities so they can access goods, services, and/or facilities. For example, a person who requires the use of a service animal must be permitted to enter the premises. They also must be allowed to keep the service animal with them, unless excluded by law.

Furthermore, the IASR includes general information and requirements that apply to all the standards.

The IASR requirements are not a replacement for the Human Rights Code requirements and they do not limit obligations under any other legislation. Therefore, if two laws conflict with one another, the law that provides the higher level of accessibility is the law that must be followed.

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