National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to highlight the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and inclusive workplaces. Learn more about:

Accessibility improves business

Identifying, preventing and removing barriers for people with disabilities creates an Ontario that is built for everyone - whether you’re pushing a stroller, making a delivery, or using a walker or a wheelchair.

People with disabilities will choose a business where they feel welcomed, and where they can easily get the products and services they want.

People with disabilities and older adults are a large and growing group of consumers.

There are 2.6 million people in Ontario with a disability; more than 40% of this population is over the age of 65. As the population ages, this number will grow.

Businesses can attract more customers and employees by removing as many barriers to access as possible, making Ontario open for business and open for jobs for everyone.

How can we help you?

AODA Toolbox

The toolbox provides information updates, success stories and tips to help your organization understand the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and become more accessible and inclusive.

Subscribe

Stay accessible during COVID-19

While COVID-19 has created challenges for many businesses and organizations, creating a society and economy that is accessible and inclusive for everyone remains a priority. Modifying your operations during this time can offer you an opportunity to consider changes to make your goods, services or facilities more accessible.

Being accessible is good for business and is also required by law. Ontario’s accessibility standards help to identify and remove barriers to improve accessibility in five areas, including customer service and employment.

Learn about changes to government programs and available supports as your business recovers from COVID-19.

Tips

Businesses and organizations can avoid creating unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities. Here are simple steps you can take:

  • Place hand sanitizers and other disinfectant stations at a height that everyone can access, including people using mobility devices
  • Ensure policies that restrict the number of people in an establishment (for example, a restaurant, store) take into account the needs of people with disabilities who rely on support persons. Allow a support person to accompany a person with a disability or ensure that staff provide comparable support
  • Do not require customers to show product barcodes which is impossible for those who are blind or have low vision
  • Offer and post menus, signs, warnings and COVID-19 requirements in alternative formats, in addition to a Quick Response (QR) code
  • Use large font on signs to ensure that people with low vision can view the information
  • Ensure your website meets accessibility requirements
  • Let people with disabilities know that they can ask for appropriate accommodations
  • Set aside enough space in waiting areas (including public transit areas) for someone using a mobility device, assistive devices or a service animal
  • Maintain areas used for line-ups so they do not have obstacles or poor sidewalk conditions
  • Use wayfinding directional arrows to direct foot traffic, where possible. Using tactile indicators for example, on paths, stairs to guide blind and low vision customers

Make accommodations

Other ways to help improve accessibility involve offering accommodations:

  • Allow staff to touch products or bags, since those with poor vision or limited dexterity may need help from staff
  • Understand that wearing masks and personal protective equipment may not be possible for some people with a disability or illness.
  • Allow those who cannot wear a mask or face covering access to the same goods and services. This could mean allowing people to place orders, make purchases and wait in designated safe areas, either inside or outside.

Guides and resources

It is critical for businesses and organizations to have trusted resources on accessibility. Whether you’re a business owner who wants to make physical changes to your store or an employer who wants to help an employee, it’s important to have clear tips and resources.

The guides below are full of easy yet effective ways to remove barriers. footnote 1


Find and keep skilled talent

Learn about programs and resources that help connect employers with the skilled yet often untapped talent pool of people with disabilities.

Hiring people with disabilities can help increase productivity and innovation footnote 2 , while lowering turnover and workplace injuries. 77% of small business owners who have hired people with a disability said these employees either met or exceeded their expectations footnote 3 . Virtual technologies adopted during covid 19 can open doors for more Ontarians than ever to participate in the workforce footnote 4 .




Case studies

Read examples of how businesses, big and small, recognize the benefits of hiring people with disabilities:


Stay in touch


Footnotes

Updated: September 24, 2021
Published: May 22, 2019