Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation
Accessibility Standards for Employment, Information and Communications, and Transportation
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, Ont. Reg. 191/11 (“Regulation”), became law on June 3, 2011. It was amended to include the Design of Public Spaces under Ontario Regulation 413/12 in October 2012. It covers accessibility standards in information and communication, employment, transportation and built environment. There is a phased-in approach to compliance, with deadline dates for each standard being based upon organization type and size, primarily ranging between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2017.
Most organizations will not have any requirements under the Accessible Transportation Standards, so this overview only describes the Information and Communication standards the Employment standards, and Design of Public Spaces, as well as compliance information.
Call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-263-9648 x242 to find out what your organization has to do and by what deadline.
The Regulation applies to:
- Government of Ontario
- Legislative Assembly
- Every designated public sector organization
- Every other person or organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or other third parties in Ontario and has at least one employee in Ontario (Private Sector and Not-for-Profit Sector)
The regulation also identifies organizations as:
- Large: An obligated organization with 50 or more employees in Ontario, other than the Government of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly or a designated public sector organization.
- Small: An obligated organization with at least one but fewer than 50 employees in Ontario, other than the Government of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly or a designated public sector organization.
These distinctions are also applied to large and small designated public sector organizations.
The Regulation requires that all but small organizations:
- establish, implement and maintain accessibility policies
- establish, implement and maintain a multi-year accessibility plan outlining the organization’s strategy to meet the requirements set under the Regulation
- formally document their policies and then make these documents publicly available (in an accessible format upon request)
- post their accessibility plan on their website, provide the plan in an accessible format upon request, and review and update the accessibility plan at least once every five years
In addition, the Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations are asked to prepare an annual status report to measure the progress of their plan and to post it on their website (in an accessible format upon request).
Small organizations are only required to develop, implement and maintain accessibility policies; but are under no obligation to create documents for the public.
In the Regulation “accessible formats” may include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, Braille, and other formats usable by persons with disabilities.
All organizations are also required to provide training on the requirements of the accessibility standards to all employees, volunteers, persons who participate in developing the organization’s policies, and anyone else who provides goods and services on behalf of the organization. The training must be ongoing and appropriate to the duties of the person and should be administered as soon as possible. All but small organizations are required to keep training records.
Information and Communication Standards
Exempt from these standards are:
- products and product labels, except where specified
- unconvertible formats of information and communication
- information that the obligated organization does not control directly or indirectly through a contractual relationship, except as required under sections 15 and 18
- All organizations are obligated to ensure that processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible to persons with disabilities. These processes must therefore be available in accessible formats or use communication supports, upon request. These provisions must be arranged in a timely manner, taking into consideration the nature of the person’s disability, at no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
- All organizations are also required to make any existing emergency procedures, plans or public safety information available in an accessible format with appropriate communication supports upon request.
Websites and Web Content
- All Large and Public Sector organizations are required to make their Internet and intranet websites and web content conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
- Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA while public sector and large organizations are able to first conform to Level A and increase to Level AA in accordance to the schedule set out in the Regulation.
Requirements for Specific Organizations
Education and Training Institutions
- If notification of need is given, every obligated organization is required to provide education or training resources in an accessible format.
School Boards, Education or Training Institutions
- must provide educators with accessibility awareness training related to accessible program or course delivery and instruction
- Producers of Education and/or Training Materials must make accessible or conversion ready versions of textbooks available upon request, including print materials if applicable
- Libraries of Education and Training Institutions must provide, procure or acquire by other means accessible or conversion ready format of print, digital or multimedia resources or materials for a person with a disability, upon request (excludes special collections, archival materials, rare books and donations)
- Must provide access to or arrange for the provision of access to accessible materials where they exist and inform the public of the existence of the accessible materials in an accessible format
• Volunteers and other unpaid individuals are exempt from this section
• Written processes are not required for small organizations
- every employer must inform applicants that accommodations will be provided for those with disabilities, including accommodation related to materials or processes used during recruitment upon request
- all successful applicants and employees must be notified of accommodation policies as soon as practicable after they begin employment and receive updated information whenever the policies are changed
For all information generally available to employees and needed for an employee’s job, an employer must provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports at the request of an employee with disability.
Where required, and if the employer is aware of the disability, employers must provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees with a disability based on the nature of the disability. These individualized emergency response plans must be reviewed by the employer:
- when the employee moves to a different location in the organization
- when the employee’s overall accommodations needs or plans are reviewed
- when the employer reviews its general emergency response policies
These individualized emergency response plans must be documented.
Employers must develop and document individual accommodation plans which include:
- information regarding accessible formats and communication supports provided, if requested
- individualized workplace emergency response information, if required
- any other accommodation to be provided
- elements involved in the process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans included in the Regulation (pages 17-18)
Employers must develop, document and have in place a return to work process for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require accommodations in order to return to work.
In respect of employees with disabilities, employers must take into account accessibility needs and individual accommodation plans during career development and advancement, redeployment, and performance management processes.
Design of Public Spaces
This Standard applies to public spaces that are newly constructed or redeveloped on and after the dates set out in the schedule and includes:
- Recreational Trails and Beach Access Routes
- Outdoor Public Use Eating Areas
- Outdoor Play Spaces
- Exterior Paths of Travel
- Accessible Parking
- Obtaining Services (service counters, queuing guides, waiting areas)
Compliance and Enforcement
An Administrative Penalty will be determined by a director based upon:
- the severity of impact of the contravention (i.e. minor, moderate or major)
- the contravention history of the person or organization over the current two reporting-cycles period
- the status of the person or organization (i.e. corporation, individual or unincorporated organization)
Severity of Impact:
- Minor Contravention: involves the contravention of an administrative requirement
- Moderate Contravention: involves the contravention of a requirement for organizational preparedness
- Major Contravention: involves the contravention of a priority requirement that includes, but is not limited to, a contravention that may pose a health or safety risk to persons with disabilities
- Minor: where there has been no more than one previous contravention within the current two reporting cycles period
- Moderate: where there has been between two and five previous contraventions within the current two reporting cycles period
- Major: where there have been six or more previous contraventions within the current two reporting cycles period
Current 2 Reporting Cycles:
- a reporting cycle is the cycle within which a person or organization must file an accessibility report, beginning on the first day the report must be filed and ending on the last day before the next report must be filed
- the current 2 reporting cycles begins the first day of a reporting cycle and ends on the last day of the next reporting cycle
- for persons or organization that are exempted from reporting requirements, the current 2 reporting cycles consist of 2 consecutive 12 month periods
Review of an Order:
- must be made in writing with an explanation of why the review is being sought no later than 30 days after the order was made
- the director of the review cannot be the same director who made the order
- penalty amount can only be decreased by the director of the review
Payment of Penalty:
- must be made within 30 days of the order unless a longer period is specified
- if a review or appeal is sought, payment must be made within 30 days after the order is dealt with in the review or appeal, unless a different period is specified
- where an organization or person seeks both a review and an appeal, payment must be made within 30 days after the order of the Tribunal, unless otherwise specified by the Tribunal