Beginning with the introduction of the Customer Service Standard on January 1, 2010 for public sector organizations and January 1, 2012 for private sector and non-profit organizations, the Ontario government has been quickly moving legislation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
On the heels of the Customer Services Standard, the Integrated Accessibility Standards (the “IAS”) followed with the first compliance dates set for as early as January 1, 2013. In an effort to simplify the implementation process, the Ontario government combined three of the four remaining accessibility standards into the IAS which sets out standards in the areas of: (1) information and communication; (2) transportation; and (3) employment.
The Employment Standard is outlined in Part III of the IAS. According to the Ontario government, the purpose of the Employment Standard is to integrate accessibility into regular workplace process and to ensure that employers provide for accessibility across all stages of the employment life cycle. The Employment Standard applies only with respect to paid employees. This includes, but is not limited to, full- and part-time employees, seasonal employees, and paid apprenticeships. The Employment Standard does not apply to volunteers or other unpaid staff.
It is recommended that employers seek the assistance of counsel with respect to their obligations under the Employment Standard and the IAS generally. The following is a summary of the constituent elements making up the Employment Standard and is intended only as an overview to familiarize employers with the requirements of the Standard:
Recruitment, Assessment, Selection and Hiring
- Notify candidates about the availability of accommodation during recruitment.
- Provide assessment and selection materials in an accessible format.
- Notify successful candidate of the policies for accommodation of employees with disabilities.
- Develop a written process for the development of accommodation plans.
- Provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability.
- Develop a return to work process for employees who have been absent due to disability and require accommodation.
- Consider accessibility when performance managing, providing career development or when redeploying as an alternative to layoff.
- Provide training on the requirements of the accessibility standards to all employees.
Information and Communication
- Provide all employment-related information in accessible formats (e.g. application forms, employee orientation material etc.).
- When requested, provide information that is needed for the employee to perform his or her job that is generally available to employees in an accessible format.
- Develop an organizational accessible employment policy statement.
- Develop, adopt, document and maintain policies that support the implementation of the commitments made in the policy statement.
- Inform employees about these policies.
This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.