Accessibility rules for public sector organizations
Learn about the rules that public sector organizations must follow to meet accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
Deadline to file an accessibility compliance report is December 31, 2021
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The AODA is the law that sets out a process for developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards that government, businesses, non-profits and public sector organizations must follow to become more accessible. These laws and standards are intended to make Ontario open to everyone by helping to reduce and remove barriers.
Accessibility Standards Checklist
Use our interactive self-assessment checklist to easily identify the AODA requirements that apply to your organization. Follow these steps to download and open the checklist PDF:
- Go to the Accessibility Standards Checklist page on the Ontario Forms Repository.
- Right-click on the “Accessibility Standards Checklist” PDF icon and select “Save link as” and save the file to your computer.
- Open the PDF file on your computer using Adobe Reader version 10 or later. Do not open the file in your browser.
About designated public sector organizations
Designated public sector organizations are defined by Ontario Regulation 191/11 of the AODA.
If you are a designated public sector organization, you are required to do the following to comply with the AODA.
File an accessibility compliance report every two years
You must file an accessibility compliance report every two years to confirm your organization has met its current accessibility requirements under the AODA.
Deadline to file an accessibility compliance report is December 31, 2021
Create accessibility policies and a multi-year plan
You are required to create accessible policies and a multi-year accessibility plan to help you achieve your accessibility goals.
Using this sample accessibility policy can help you develop accessibility policies that are right for your organization.
You must also:
- tell your employees and customers about your policies
- notify the public about the availability of your policies (for example, a notice on your website, at reception, etc.)
- provide your policies in an accessible format upon request
Multi-year accessibility plan
Create a multi-year plan to help you reach your accessibility goals.
- consult with people with disabilities and with an accessibility advisory committee (if you have established one) while establishing, reviewing and updating your plan
- post the plan on your website
- provide it in an accessible format, upon request
- review and update your plan at least once every five years
Using the multi-year plan template can help when writing your organization’s plan.
Accessibility status report
Each year, you must:
- prepare a status report on your progress in implementing your multi-year plan and the steps taken to comply with Ontario Regulation 191/11
- post this status report on your website
The public sector and multi-year accessibility plans template has advice on how to establish and review your multi-year accessibility plans and includes a status report template.
Train your staff and volunteers
You are required to train all your employees and volunteers on:
- the Ontario Human Rights Code
- accessible customer service
- any other accessibility requirements that apply to their job duties and your organization
If you are a school board or an educational or training organization, you must also provide your educators with training on accessibility awareness and accessible course delivery.
You must keep written training records that include how many people were trained and the dates the training was provided.
Find free educational modules to help you meet the training requirements under Ontario’s accessibility laws.
Buy accessible goods, services and facilities
Where possible, include accessibility design, criteria and features when purchasing new goods, services or facilities for your organization so that they are accessible to people with disabilities. When this is not possible, you must explain why, upon request.
Plan for accessible self-service kiosks if applicable
Incorporate accessibility features if you are purchasing or designing self-service kiosks. This includes interactive electronic terminals that people use to pay parking fees, validate tickets, buy groceries and renew licenses.
Provide accessible customer service
Your organization must provide customer service to people with disabilities that allows them to access your goods, services or facilities. This includes:
- communicating in a manner that takes a person’s disability into account and upon request, provide accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities
- allowing assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, etc.
- welcoming service animals and support persons
- providing notice of temporary disruptions
- creating accessible ways (for example, accessible comment cards or surveys) for people to provide feedback about how you provide goods, services or facilities to people with disabilities
- upon request, providing documents in an accessible format, such as large print or braille
Implement accessible employment practices
- making your recruitment process accessible
- informing your employees of supports
- offering accessible formats and communication supports for employees
- providing individualized accessible workplace emergency response information
- documenting individual accommodation plans
- creating a return to work process and plan for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability
- considering the needs of employees with disabilities if you have performance management or career development or re-deployment processes
Use the accessible recruitment tool to help make your hiring process more accessible.
Learn how to make your workplace accessible and get tips for accommodating employees with disabilities.
Provide accessible information
You must let the public and your employees know that you will make written information and other forms of communication accessible, upon request. You can meet this requirement by:
- including a note on your website or promotional materials
- creating a sign
- posting a notice on a bulletin board
If a person with a disability asks for accessible information or requires communication supports, work with them to figure out how to meet their needs. You don’t have to have accessible formats on hand, but you need to provide the information in a timely manner.
You cannot charge more for accessible formats than you do for other formats.
The requirement to provide accessible information applies to:
- emergency and public safety information
- feedback processes for employees and the public
- information for employees
- other public information, such as menus, order forms and information provided to the public in print, on websites or handheld devices
Learn more about how to make information accessible for people with disabilities.
Learn about graphic design and digital accessibility.
Education and training
You must provide information, training materials and other resources in an accessible format if you are:
- a library
- a training organization
- an educational organization
Read the Accessible Educational and Training Resources and Materials Checklist for more information.
By law, you must make all public websites accessible.
The organization that controls the website must meet the accessibility requirements.
Provide accessible transportation services
If you provide transportation services, you must make them accessible.
Consult with municipal accessibility advisory committees on bus stops and shelters.
If you license taxicabs, ensure that drivers:
- display vehicle registration and identification information on the taxi’s rear bumper
- provide this information in accessible formats for passengers with disabilities
- do not charge people with disabilities extra for a trip or for storing mobility aids in their cabs
Create accessible public spaces
Ontario’s Design of Public Spaces accessibility standards establish a baseline level of accessibility for outdoor spaces, including:
- parking lots and sidewalks
- service counters
- fixed waiting lines
- waiting areas with fixed seating
- recreational trails and beach access routes
- public eating areas
The standards only apply to new construction and renovated existing public spaces.
Learn about how to make public spaces accessible.
Discover practical and easy tips to help make your building, spaces and events more accessible.
Read the Illustrated Technical Guide to the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces for detailed information about the standards and how to comply.
The aim and purpose of this webpage is to help individuals and businesses with information related to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its associated regulation OReg 191/11. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.
In case of discrepancy between website content and relevant Ontario legislation and regulations, the official version of Ontario Acts and Regulations as published by the Queen's Printer for Ontario will prevail.
The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and the Government of Ontario do not endorse or recommend any accessibility consultant(s), their advice, opinions or recommendations.