Will Ontario reach its goal of becoming fully accessible for persons with disabilities by January 2025?
An accessible Ontario has been in the works since the Harris government (a name I haven’t heard for some time). So where are we now? In 2005 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed. Under the act there are five standards,
- Customer Service Standard
- Information and Communications
- Built Environment
The Customer Service Standard became the law in January of 2008. What does the standard entail? A great deal of work and here’s the catch – a fast approaching deadline. For the public sector there is less than a year left to meet all the requirements, January 2010 to be exact. The private sector on the other hand has a little more time since their deadline is January 2012. I’ve been reading the compliance manual that is provided online and I must admit it seems a little daunting from new written policies to training all your staff. What is more alarming is the general lack of concern over the standard. From the discussions I’ve had mainly with the public sector there seems to be a resounding “we haven’t started to think about it”, which worries me a little. There is however exceptions, in fact some agencies have written their policies and trained all their staff.
What if you don’t comply? Failing to meet the requirements carries with it some large fines. So why hasn’t anyone taken this seriously yet? What can I say; I don’t have all the answers.