We’ve taken a number of important steps to build compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

These include:

How we build awareness

We contacted businesses and organizations in Ontario throughout 2014 with reminders about their accessibility compliance reporting requirements.

A marketing campaign launched in November 2014 helped increase awareness about the need to comply with the province’s accessibility law and standards. The online, radio and social media campaign helped drive over 74,000 visits to our accessibility page. This site offers free tools and resources to help organizations understand and meet their compliance requirements.

As a result of these efforts we’ve more than doubled compliance rates for private sector reporting. Compliance rates went from 16 per cent in December 2012 to 38 per cent in December 2014.

The increased reporting rates show that more businesses are aware of the legal requirements surrounding accessibility. While more work needs to be done, the province is making progress in making Ontario accessible.

How we encourage compliance

In 2014, Ontario reached out to businesses, non-profit organizations, associations, the broader public sector and other key groups to build awareness of accessibility compliance reporting requirements and to help them comply.

Outreach activities included:

  • over 146,000 mailed compliance reminder notices
  • over 54,000 accessibility compliance reporting reminder e-mails
  • over 86,000 print reminder notices sent through the Ministry of Finance’s monthly mailings
  • 210 outreach events, including speaking opportunities
  • distribution of accessibility information at community fairs, trade shows and business events across the province
  • bi-monthly newsletters outlining current and future compliance requirements with free resources to help organizations comply
  • 12 online compliance sessions reaching over 1,800 participants
  • phone calls to many organizations to offer assistance with compliance reporting, including more than 300 proactive calls to private sector organizations with 500+ employees

With the help of these activities 100% of the broader public sector met their 2013 reporting requirements.

How we enforce compliance

In 2014, to ensure organizations were compliant with Ontario’s accessibility laws, we:

  • audited 2,000 organizations (including both compliant and non-compliant organizations)
  • resolved 1,800 notice of proposed orders that informed non-compliant organizations of the penalties they could face
  • issued and closed 332 director’s orders that informed non-compliant organizations of associated financial penalties
  • partnered with the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Labour on pilot projects. These pilot projects aimed to increase AODA compliance oversight among private transportation organizations, career colleges and small businesses

Accessibility in the future

By helping organizations understand and meet their legal requirements, we can reach our goal of building an accessible province by 2025.

In 2015 we will continue to increase awareness and compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The province will provide outreach and education to those in the private and non-profit sectors to help them meet their accessibility requirements.

Future outreach activities include:

  • webinars
  • bi-monthly newsletters
  • targeted stakeholder partnerships to reach specific sectors.

We will also be reminding organizations of the free online tools and resources available on Ontario’s accessibility page to help them identify and complete their filing requirements.

Ontario will be conducting over 1,200 compliance activities in 2015. These focus on large public, private and non-profit organizations across Ontario with 500 or more employees. Specifically, we will:

  • connect with organizations that have never filed a compliance report
  • reach out to organizations that aren’t meeting their requirements under the law and bring them into compliance
  • follow up with organizations that filed an accessibility compliance report in 2012 but not in 2014
  • audit organizations that filed a report indicating they are in full compliance with the law

Non-compliant organizations could be subject to:

  • inspections
  • notices of order
  • director’s orders
  • prosecution

The broader public sector must report their compliance again in 2015 and we will reach out to help support this sector with their filing requirements.