There are new standards on the horizon which, if passed into law, will impact employers in Ontario. The new standards are made pursuant to the Accessibility for Ontarions with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“Act”). The purpse of the Act is to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards that will apply to public, private and non-profit sectors. Standards under this Act are currently being developed in five important areas, one of which is employment.
The Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee, whose members include representatives from Ontario’s disability and business communities, began meeting in the fall of 2007 to develop and draft proposed Employment Accessibility standards (“Standards”) to help employers create equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. If passed into law, these Standards would impose new obligations on employers. The Standards, as submitted for consideration to the Minister of Community and Social Services would apply to all organizations in Ontario that have at least one paid employee. In order to promote the purpose of the Act without unduly burdening employers, the Committee’s proposed Standards include suggested timelines for organizations to comply with the Standards. Generally speaking, the Standards will require compliance within two to four years, depending on the size of the organization and whether it is in the public or private sector. Further, the Committee suggests exemptions from many of the Standards for private sector organizations with 49 or fewer employees.
The Standards, as proposed, relate to accessible employment policies and training, recruitment, assessment, selection and hiring, employee retention, accessible information and communications, and indicators of progress. Specifically, the Standards include, in part, the following recommendations:
For more information on the Employment Accessibility Final Proposed Standard and to prepare your workplace to become fully accessible to people with disabilities, please consult one of our lawyers. See also: