Toward an accessible Ontario

Complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the act) came into force in 2005 and sets out a clear goal and timeframe to make Ontario accessible by 2025.

One in seven people in Ontario has a disability and that number is anticipated to rise as our population ages.

Ontario is the first jurisdiction in the world to enact specific legislation establishing a goal and time-frame for accessibility. Ontario is also the first jurisdiction to make accessibility reporting the law and has established standards so people living with disabilities can enjoy increased participation in their communities. To date, these include:

  • Accessible customer service to ensure organizations provide goods, services or facilities in ways that take the needs of people with disabilities into account.
  • Accessible transportation to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel to work and enjoy recreational, shopping and entertainment venues.
  • Accessible information and communications to allow people with disabilities to access information that many of us rely on every day, including web sites, textbooks and business information.
  • Accessible public spaces to remove barriers for people with disabilities when accessing recreational trails, service counters, parking lots and outdoor play spaces.
  • Accessible employment to help organizations make accessibility a regular part of recruiting and supporting employees with disabilities.

Every organization with one or more employees is required to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and all of its applicable standards, including customer service, transportation, information and communications, the design of public spaces and employment. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (the Directorate) is committed to the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and helping organizations comply with the standards by providing free tools and resources and offering support through a dedicated help desk.

2014 is a reporting year for the private and non-profit sectors. Organizations with 20 or more employees must self-report on all applicable standards by the end of 2014 by submitting an online report advising the government that they have met all of their accessibility requirements.

Organizations that do not comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act are in contravention of the law and the Directorate will use all available enforcement measures if organizations are not in compliance. These measures include financial penalties, court enforcement and prosecution.

Getting to compliance

Raising awareness

  • Launching a province-wide campaign to drive awareness, and to help organizations learn about their compliance requirements.
  • Engaging in outreach to businesses, associations, the broader public sector and other key groups so that organizations know their obligations under the act.
  • Letting organizations know when they need to file an accessibility report.

Helping organizations comply

  • Supporting organizations by providing them with free web-based tools and resources, including guides, toolkits and checklists to help organizations understand and meet their requirements.
  • Offering a help desk to provide assistance to organizations and the public about the act and its regulations.
  • Auditing organizations to confirm they are in compliance with the act.
  • Working directly with organizations that are non-compliant, to help them comply.

Taking action

  • Following up when organizations do not file reports or comply with the act, which includes:
    • Conducting inspections.
    • Issuing Notices of Proposed Order (NOPOs) advising why the organization is not in compliance with the law, and what it must do to comply and to avoid a penalty.
    • Issuing Director’s Orders stating the organization must comply, including possible financial penalties.
    • Court enforcement.
    • Prosecution, which could include fines.

Enforcement to date

  • The Directorate uses all of the provisions available to enforce the act.
  • Starting in November 2013, Notices of Proposed Order were sent to private/non-profit sector organizations that did not submit a 2012 accessibility compliance report.
  • In January 2014, where warranted, the Directorate began sending out Director’s Orders, including financial penalties.
  • By October 2014, approximately 95% of such cases had been resolved.

2014 goals

To reach our goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025 we will set and meet annual milestones. For 2014, we will:

  • Improve compliance reporting from the private/non-profit sectors.
  • By year end, conduct up to 2,000 audits on organizations in the private/non-profit and broader public sectors to verify compliance with applicable accessibility standards.
  • For the broader public sector, achieve 100% compliance with 2013 reporting requirements.

We will publicly report on our results by February 2015.

Planned 2014 compliance activities

  • Launch province-wide campaign focused on compliance awareness.

    • Targeted strategy to increase awareness of accessibility and promote compliance using multiple channels, including email, direct mail, radio and online.

    Result: Increased compliance reporting awareness (email, direct mail, radio and online).

  • Public education and outreach strategies.

    • Driving compliance with the act by reaching out to businesses, associations, the broader public sector and other key groups to ensure organizations know their obligations and when they need to file an accessibility report. Outreach activities include webcasts, workshops, conferences, presentations and trade shows.

    Result: Contribute towards improvement in compliance reporting from the private/non-profit sectors by year-end.

  • Pursue outstanding broader public sector organizations to ensure they are meeting the 2013 reporting requirements under the act.

    • Compliance support and enforcement of broader public sector organizations.

    Result: Maintain the high-level of reporting from broader public sector organizations on all applicable standards.

  • Audit up to 2,000 organizations.

    • Organizations will be selected for audits to ensure that they are in compliance with the act.
    • Continue to follow up when necessary with NOPOs, Director’s Orders, fines and prosecution.

    Result: Maintain confidence in the assurance framework.

  • Partner with other ministries to conduct compliance activities on our behalf.

    • Extend the Directorate’s compliance reach by engaging partner ministries:
      • Ministry of Transportation
        • Pilot project (with up to 50 organizations) to help improve compliance for private transportation organizations.
      • Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
        • Pilot project (with up to 400 organizations to help improve compliance reporting.
      • Ministry of Labour
        • Pilot Project (with up to 50 organizations) to help improve compliance.

    Result: Increased compliance and reporting rates in the private/non-profit sectors.


For more detailed information visit: