AODA compliance deadlines for small business

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If you are a business owner in Ontario then you should be aware of the AODA compliance deadlines. AODA is an acronym for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act. The AODA became law in 2005 and ensures accessibility standards for all Ontarians and applies to all governments, nonprofits and businesses. While the ultimate deadline for the province is 2025, there are a number of deadlines along the way that you should pay attention to. Some have already passed, and additional deadlines are coming up that you should be aware of.

Disabilities is a broad definition that goes beyond the physical disabilities we commonly think about like a person with a physical disability who may use a wheelchair. This definition includes both visible and non-visible disabilities such as vision disabilities, hearing impairment, intellectual, developmental, learning and mental health disabilities. Using this definition the government of Ontario says 15.5% of people in the province may have a disability.

If you are a small business and have 1 to 49 employees then you are considered a small business

AODA compliance deadlines for small businesses:

By Jan 1, 2012 Accessible Customer Service

Create an accessibility policy for customers, volunteers and employees

Train all safe and volunteers on policy

Create an emergency plan and public safety information that is accessible for employees

By Dec 31, 2014 Accessibility Compliance Report

File accessibility compliance report with the government of Ontario

By Jan 1, 2015 Accessibility Policies

Create policies for accessibility goals

Update electronic terminals and kiosks to be fully accessible

By Jan 1, 2016 Accessibilities Law and Training

Training staff and volunteers on accessibility laws and their obligations

Create surveys or methods of communication so people with disabilities can provide feedback

By Jan 1, 2017 Accessible Public Information

Make your public information available in accessible formats

Make your employment and career development information available in accessible formats

By Jan 1, 2018 Accessible Public Spaces

Ensure parking lots, service counters, queues and seating areas are accessible

By Dec 31, 2020 Accessibility Compliance Report

File accessibility compliance report with the government of Ontario

By Dec 31, 2023 Accessibility Compliance Report

File accessibility compliance report with the government of Ontario

Additionally, small businesses with less than 20 employees do not need to file compliance accessibility reports, but are still required to meet the standards set out by the deadlines above.

How this affects your business

If your business is found to be non-compliant with AODA standards you face the possibility of fines of up to $100,000 per day. More importantly, as a small business, you typically interact with customers on a direct level more often than larger businesses do. Ensuring all forms of accessibility and understanding the needs of your employees and customers alike, is ultimately good for your business. Be proactive and put the right policies, training and materials in place before the deadline.

For more information on AODA compliance deadlines please visit the following sites:

Government of Ontario

Health & Safety Ontario

Ontario Human Rights Commission

Osler AODA Compliance Checklist

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