The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is the first of its kind in Canada and sets out a number of Standards for public and private sector compliance within prescribed timelines.
Ontario Businesses and organizations providing goods and services will have to meet certain accessibility standards in five important areas:
This legislation recognizes the need to be more accessible to people with disabilities. It acknowledges that with our aging population, in 20 years, 20% of the people living in the province are likely to have a disability. Removing barriers to allow people with disabilities to fully participate in society is a benefit for all Ontarians, socially and economically.
The AODA applies to both the public and the private sectors. The public sector is required to comply earlier than the private sector but both sectors must work towards a barrier free Ontario by 2025.
The AODA uses the Ontario Human Right Code's definition of "disability." This definition includes physical, mental health, developmental and learning disabilities. A disability may be visible or not visible.
A barrier is anything that keeps someone with a disability from participating fully in society because of his or her disability. A barrier can be visible, like a building with steps but no ramp or invisible, such as a policy that sets a time limit for completing an employment test.
An accessibility standard is a rule that persons and organizations have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers.
The Ontario government works with people with disabilities, and representatives from different industries and sectors as part of Standards Development Committees. The Committees recommend accessibility standards to the Ontario government.
The committees set goals to more toward a barrier free Ontario within a prescribed timetable. There is some flexibility in the proposed timelines for different kinds of organizations. Cost is a major factor in determining timelines.
The Minister responsible for the AODA reviews the proposed accessibility standards and determines whether to recommend making the proposed standard a regulation ("rules to follow") under the AODA.
The complete AODA is available through the link at the top of this page - Contact the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario for more information or to receive this document in an alternate format
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
777 Bay Street,
6th Floor - Suite 601
Toronto, ON M7A 2J4
Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA) Contact Centre:
(SERVICEONTARIO) Toll free: 1.866.515.2025
TTY: 416.325.3408 / toll free 1.800.268.7095