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How accessible is your Ontario business?

July 13, 2011 - Tags: Regulations

Istock 000007950231xsmallCreating an accessible environment is good for the community and it makes good business sense. Many people in Ontario today have a disability, and over the next 20 years, that number may rise as the baby boomer generation ages.

When you think about creating accessibility at the workplace and in your business, you may think of physical changes such as ramps, elevators or automatic door openers. But in a broader sense, making your business accessible requires understanding that people with disabilities have specific needs. You should also consider other ways to improve your business to allow people of all abilities to participate.

In order to improve accessibility, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was enacted in 2005. By 2025, your business will need to meet accessibility standards for:

  • Customer service
  • Transportation
  • Information and communications
  • Employment
  • The built environment

The standard for customer service is already law. If you are a business owner, you need to create an accessibility plan by January 1, 2012 that:

  • Considers a person's disability when communicating with them
  • Allows assistive devices in your workplace, like wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks
  • Allows service animals
  • Welcomes support persons
  • Lets customers know when accessible services aren't available
  • Invites customers to provide feedback

You will be required to use this plan to train staff on accessible customer service.

In addition to the standard requirements, if you have 20 or more employees, you are also required to:

Put your plan in writing:

  • Let customers know how to find your plan (e.g., on your website)
  • Offer your plan in accessible formats, such as large print, if requested

Report your progress online

Find out how to get started if your business has:

For more information on making your business accessible, visit our Accessibility section.

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