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Articles and Publications

March 2012

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act:
How to Comply with the Customer Services Standard

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) came into force in 2005 with the goal of making Ontario completely accessible for persons with disabilities by January 2025. The AODA mandates the creation of standard development committees in five general areas: Customer Service, Transportation, Employment, Information and Communication and Built Environment.

To date, only the Customer Service Standard has been enacted, with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation (CSS) coming into force on January 1, 2008. The CSS sets out the requirements for ensuring that providers of goods and services in Ontario have policies in place that accommodate the needs of customers with disabilities.

Starting on January 1, 2012, almost all businesses operating in Ontario will be required to comply with the CSS. The CSS applies to:

  • Designated public-sector organizations in Ontario; and
  • Every person or organization that provides goods or services to the public or other third parties, that have at least one employee in Ontario (including manufacturers, wholesalers, and providers of professional services).

Any organization subject to the CSS must ensure that any third parties that it contracts with for the purposes of provided goods or services are also compliant with the requirements of the CSS.

Generally speaking, individuals and businesses are required to adopt and implement flexible policies, practice and procedures that be adapted to the needs of individuals with a variety of different disabilities, and that further the principles of independence, dignity, integration, and equality of opportunity.

There are also specific policies that individuals and business must implement, including a policy regarding the use of assistive devices to enable individuals with disabilities to access the goods and services provided, and a policy regarding the development of alternative methods of communication with customers that take into account the needs of individuals with various disabilities.

Inspectors under the AODA may enter premises at any time, without a search warrant, to determine whether an organization is complying with the CSS. Administrative penalties and non-compliance orders may be issued if non-compliance with the CSS is determined. Failure to comply with a compliance order is punishable by a fine of up $50,000 for each day of non-compliance.


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