Accessibility requirements

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is the law that sets out a process for developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards. Government, businesses, non-profits and public sector organizations must follow the standards.

Accessibility laws and standards help to reduce and remove barriers and make Ontario more inclusive for everyone.

How to count your employees

Employees can work full-time, part-time, seasonal or on contract. With most employees, you:

  • pay wages or a salary
  • have control over the work assigned
  • have a right to control the details of the work

Do not count volunteers and independent contractors as employees. However, you are responsible for ensuring that the services they provide on your behalf follow the rules of Ontario’s accessibility standards. You may need to ensure these individuals are trained to meet the requirements as outlined in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).

If you have 1 to 49 employees

If you are a business or non-profit organization with 1 to 49 employees, you must complete 5 requirements of the AODA employment standards in your workplace:

Accessible Employment Standard for small businesses

Descriptive transcript: Accessible Employment Standard for Small Businesses

If you have more than 50 employees

If you are a designated public sector, business or non-profit organization that has 50 or more employees, you must complete 7 requirements of the AODA employment standards in your workplace:

Requirements under the employment standards


Make your job postings accessible and notify employees and the public that you will accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in your hiring process.

You can:

  • post the information on your website
  • include it in job postings

Use the accessible recruitment process checklist to help you accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in your hiring process.

Communicate accessibility policies

You must tell your employees about your policies to support people with disabilities. Tell new employees when they are hired, and tell all your employees if you change the policies.

To get this information out, you can use:

  • newsletters
  • emails
  • memos
  • websites
  • bulletin boards
  • staff meetings
  • one-on-one conversations

Providing accessible workplace information

You must provide workplace information in an accessible format if an employee asks for it. This includes:

  • any information employees need to perform their jobs (for example, job descriptions and manuals)
  • general information that is available to all employees at work (for example, company newsletters, organization-wide memos and bulletins about company policies and health and safety information)

Talk to your employees with disabilities about how they need to receive information.

Providing individualized workplace emergency response information

As an employer, you want to keep your employees safe, especially in emergencies. This includes making your emergency information accessible and developing a plan to help an employee with a disability during an emergency.

If you know an employee might need help in an emergency due to a permanent or temporary disability, you must:

  • Provide individualized emergency response information to the employee. For example, how an employee:
    • who uses a wheelchair can safely exit a building in the event of a fire
    • with a hearing disability, who cannot hear an alarm, will be notified in the event of an emergency
    • with a visual disability will identify and navigate emergency escape routes
    • with an invisible disability, such as a heart condition that prevents them from using stairs, will evacuate a building during an emergency
  • Get the employee’s consent, then share this information with the people designated to help them in an emergency.
  • Review the employee’s emergency response information when:
    • the employee changes work locations
    • you review the employee’s overall accommodation needs
    • you review your organization’s general emergency response policies

Use the Employer’s Toolkit to obtain a sample memo, templates and worksheets along with the providing accessible emergency information to staff checklist for providing accessible emergency information to staff.

Managing performance, career development and re-deployment

If you have performance management or career development processes, you must consider the needs of an employee with disabilities when you:

  • hold formal or informal performance reviews
  • promote or move them to a new job

Examples include:

  • making documents available in accessible formats (for example, large print for people with low vision)
  • providing feedback and coaching in a way that is accessible to them (for example, allowing someone with a learning disability to record the conversation)
  • providing the accommodations they need to successfully learn new skills or take on more responsibilities

If you do not have a formal or informal performance management program, you do not have to create one.

Accommodation plans

You must develop and write a process for creating accommodation plans for employees with disabilities. This process must be documented and should include:

  • how an employee participates in the development of their individual accommodation plan
  • how an employee is assessed on an individual basis
  • how a unionized employee can ask for a representative from their bargaining agent to participate in the development of the accommodation plan
  • how a non-unionized employee can ask for a representative from the workplace to participate in the development of the accommodation plan
  • how you, as an employer, can request assistance from an outside expert, at your expense
  • the steps you will take to protect the privacy of the employee’s personal information
  • how and when you will provide the employee with their personalized accommodation plan
  • the schedule for when and how the plan will be reviewed and updated
  • how you will tell an employee that their individual accommodation plan has not been accepted
  • how you will provide the plan in an accessible format

The plan must be documented and include:

  • how you will provide workplace information in an accessible format, if requested
  • how you will provide accessible emergency information, if needed
  • any other accommodation that is to be provided

You and the employee with a disability will determine and implement appropriate accommodation measures.

Use the sample individual accommodation plan and process template.

Return-to-work process

This requirement does not replace or override any other return-to-work process made under any other law.

You must develop and write a process to support employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations to return to work.

Use the sample return-to-work process and plan template.


The aim and purpose of this webpage is to help individuals and organizations with information related to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its associated Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation O. Reg. 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 provide official advice and should not be relied upon or treated as official advice. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.

In case of discrepancy between website content and Ontario legislation and regulations, the official version of Ontario Acts and Regulations as published by the King’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.