Under the AODA, private or non-profit businesses with twenty to forty-nine (20-49) workers, or fifty (50) or more workers, must complete accessibility reports every three years. The next accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses were due on December 31st, 2020. However, the Ontario government has extended this deadline. This extended deadline for accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses is June 30th, 2021. Nonetheless, businesses should use this extra time to assess how compliant they are with AODA standards. Moreover, businesses should also improve their compliance by changing the services they offer so that their businesses are more accessible. In this article, we will outline ways to improve AODA compliance in employment.
Improving AODA Compliance in Employment
Even if businesses are fully compliant with the employment standards, they can still make changes to their policies and services to enhance accessibility. For instance, they can provide AODA training for their staff that focuses on making employment accessible. Staff who oversee other workers, such as supervisors and human resources personnel, could receive this training and learn:
- About harmful myths that limit the opportunities of workers with disabilities
- That workers with disabilities can be productive and independent, once accommodations are in place
- How to interact comfortably with colleagues who have disabilities, including colleagues who use:
- How to provide some of the accommodations workers may ask for, including:
This training could create a workplace culture that welcomes potential colleagues with disabilities, the contributions they make, and the diversity they bring.
Furthermore, businesses can also choose to proactively recruit job applicants with disabilities. They can do so by partnering with organizations that support job-seekers with disabilities. In addition, they can expand their policy statements on accommodation. Under the employment standards, businesses must have policies that state their willingness to accommodate workers with disabilities. However, businesses can make these policies more thorough and specific. Moreover, they can offer examples of accommodations they are prepared to provide. These details will show potential applicants with disabilities that the business’s staff is:
- Knowledgeable about some types of accommodations
- Aware that applicants with disabilities can be valuable colleagues
When businesses show that they believe in the potential of workers with disabilities and are willing to accommodate, job-seekers with disabilities will be eager to work with them.
Moreover, when employers openly welcome workers with disabilities, workers who develop disabilities during their careers may feel more comfortable disclosing their needs for workplace accommodations. As a result, these workers will remain productive, while businesses have the chance to retain workers who are loyal and eager to contribute.