The Dean of the law school I attended, Mayo Moran (University of Toronto Faculty of Law), has been appointed to carry out a review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). I think she’s a great choice.
The AODA is legislation aimed at making Ontario accessible to people with disabilities. It does this in a somewhat unusual way: the main thing that the AODA does is to provide for committees to be created, and it is the committees who create the actual regulations (called “accessibility standards”) which organizations will have to follow. The committees must include representatives of disabled persons, industry, and government.
Although the legislation was passed in 2005, the first standard (relating to Customer Service) only came into force in 2010 for the public sector, and 2012 for the private sector. Three other standards have been drafted (Employment, Information/Communication, and Transportation), but only very small parts of them are currently in force. The rest of the standards are going to gradually take effect between 2014 and 2017, though, so companies should be reading up now on their responsibilities, and planning how they will comply.
It will be interesting to see what Dean Moran concludes about how the system so far has been working, and how those conclusions will affect the implementation of the existing standards or the development of new ones. I’ll try to check back in once she releases her report.
As a final note, I’ve actually just agreed to provide AODA training to a construction association in November. I did something similar for a different association about a year ago. Looking forward to it!