Improving AODA Compliance in Information and Communications

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 information and communications.

Improving AODA Compliance in Information and Communications

Even if businesses are fully compliant with the information and communications standards, they can still make changes to their policies and services to enhance accessibility. For instance, the standards require them to create, produce, or acquire information in accessible formats and with communication supports:

  • Upon request
  • In a timely manner

However, businesses can be more proactive and prepare formats and supports ahead of time. For instance, instead of converting inaccessible web content, businesses can make their online presence accessible from the start, by:

  • Designing new websites to work well with hardware and software that supports accessibility
  • Uploading documents in accessible formats
  • Including captions in all audio and video content

Similarly, businesses can make arrangements in advance to offer formats and supports that customers, clients, or workers might need. For example, businesses can:

  • Develop ways to prepare supports and formats in advance, such as:
    • Having assistive listening devices available on loan for clients while on the premises
    • Photo-copying large-print versions of hard-copy documents
  • Work with third parties to arrange supports or formats in advance, such as:
    • Sign language interpretation for live events
    • Documents in hard-copy Braille

When staff have formats and supports ready ahead of time, they can ensure instant access to their products and services. Alternatively, if staff know in advance how to arrange formats and supports, customers who need them can receive them quickly.

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