Hiring Policies & AODA
Effective January 1, 2017, employers in Ontario with fewer than 50 employees must comply with certain accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). AODA establishes phased-in compliance deadlines for companies, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that businesses become more accessible and inclusive for peoples with disabilities.
Under the Employment Standard, the new accessibility requirements in place include the following:
- Hiring. Employers have an obligation to notify their employees, the public, and applicants that they will accommodate the needs of people with disabilities throughout the hiring process. If an applicant requests accommodation, employers must provide accommodation that enables the applicant to participate in the hiring process taking their disability into account. When making offers of employment, employers have an obligation to notify successful candidates of their policies pertaining to accommodating employees with disabilities.
- Accessible Support Policies. Employers have an obligation to notify their employees about their policies to support persons with disabilities, which must include the policy on providing job accommodations that take into account employees’ disability-related needs. The obligation to inform is triggered for new employees, as well as for existing employees whenever changes are made to the policies.
- Communication Supports. Upon request by employees, employers have an obligation to provide any information in an accessible format that employees with disabilities need in order to perform their job, as well as to provide communication supports. Employers must also provide in an accessible format any information that is generally available to all employees in the workplace. Examples of essential information include: emergency information, job descriptions, employment handbooks and manuals, and health and safety information.
- Performance Management & Career Development. Employers have an obligation to ensure that any existing processes relating to performance management (i.e. systems designed to improve performance and productivity) or career development (i.e. systems to provide additional responsibilities to existing jobs) are modified to take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.
- Redeployment. Employers who are reassigning employees to other jobs within the organization as an alternative to layoff have an obligation to take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans.
Note that private and not-for-profit organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario were required to meet the above obligations by January 1, 2016.
It is imperative that employers of all sizes meet their obligations under AODA, failing which they could be subjected to fines.
If you would like to discuss your obligations under AODA,
please do not hesitate to contact me.
Nav Bhandal LL.B.
Employment and Labour
This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.