Ontario: Countdown To 2016: AODA Requirements

Ontario: Countdown To 2016: AODA Requirements

Article by Stephanie Young

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The next phase of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the “AODA”) compliance comes into effect on January 1, 2016. Private and not-for-profit organizations, and small and large public organizations will have to comply requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the “Regulation”) beginning in the New Year as follows:

  1. Small organizations (with fewer than 50 employees in Ontario) must ensure training is provided on the requirements of the standards set out in the Regulation and the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities. Training must be provided to all employees, volunteers, all persons who participate in developing the organization’s policies, and all other persons who provide goods and services on behalf of the organization. Training must be appropriate to each individual’s duties, and it must be provided as soon as practicable, and on an ongoing basis as changes are made to the organization’ s accessibility policies.
  2. Small organizations must ensure processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible to persons with disabilities by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports, upon request. Notice must be given to the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.
  3. Small designated public sector organizations and large organizations (with 50 or more employees in Ontario) must provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities, upon request, in a timely manner that takes into account the person’s needs, and at a cost that is no more than the regular cost to other persons. Organizations must consult with the person making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support. Notice must be given to the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.
  4. Large organizations must comply with various Employment Standards set out in the Regulation. There are a number of detailed requirements in this section of the Regulation, including with respect to recruitment; providing information to employees about accommodation; providing accessible formats and communication supports in relation to information needed for an employee’s job, or information generally available in the workplace; documenting individual accommodation plans; developing return to work processes; and considering accessibility needs in performance management, career development and advancement, and redeployment processes/practices.
  5. Large designated public organizations must comply with requirements related to the design of public spaces that are newly constructed or redeveloped.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure has been very active in monitoring compliance with the AODA over the last few months. We are seeing more enforcement efforts in respect of organizations that are not compliant to date, particularly in the form of spot audits, including a “retail blitz”, targeting large retailers over the last month.

In order to get ahead of any enforcement efforts and to ensure timely compliance, Ontario employers should already be thinking about these requirements and they should be taking steps to meet their obligations before the deadline rolls around.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

AODA compliance update: January 1, 2016 requirements

Stikeman Elliott LLP

It’s that time of year again – time to consider whether your organization is compliant with the next set of requirements under Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the AODA).   In addition to those AODA requirements under the Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standards that are already in place, effective January 1, 2016, a number of additional requirements come into force.   This post outlines those requirements as they apply to private and not-for-profit organizations.

Information and Communications Requirements

Organizations must ensure that, upon request and in consultation with the person making the request, publically available information in respect of the organization’s goods, services or facilities is provided in an accessible format and at no greater cost than that normally charged.  The public must be notified about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports provided by the organization.

Employment Requirements

Employers are required to establish a number of internal practices with respect to the recruitment, accommodation and advancement of employees.

Employers must:

  • Provide external and internal notification of the accommodation of persons with disabilities during the recruitment process and subsequent employment, and consult with job applicants who request accommodation to provide effective accommodation measures.
  • Inform employees of the organization’s policies in support of persons with disabilities.
  • Develop and implement a process for the creation of individual accommodation plans  and a documented return to work process for employees that have been absent from work due to a disability.
  • Ensure that the organization takes into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities when implementing performance management, career development, advancement or redeployment processes.

Should your organization require assistance with achieving compliance with the AODA, please reach out to a member of our Employment and Labour Group.

Watch What You Say: Off-Duty Conduct Can Lead To Serious Workplace Repercussions

Article by Gabriel Granatstein

A few people have recently learned that publicly embarassing yourself outside of work can have a serious impact at work. A Hydro One employee was swiftly terminated following offensive statements made to a news reporter. A TC Transcontinental employee was suspended with pay pending an investigation following the public heckling of a female comedian. Does an employer have the right to investigate your off-duty conduct? Where is the line between your private and work life?

As non-unionized employers don’t need “cause” to terminate an employee, much of the case law has come from unionized workplaces. Arbitrators have held that in order for an employer to terminate an employee for off-duty conduct, there should be a connection between the conduct and the workplace. In order to establish this connection, decision makers have applied the “Millhaven Factors” which were outlined in the seminal case of Re Millhaven Fibres Ltd. & Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers I.U. Loc. 9-670, [1967] O.L.A.A. No. 4. The five factors are:

  • The conduct of the employee harms the company’s reputation or product;
  • The employee’s behaviour renders the employee unable to perform his duties satisfactorily;
  • The employee’s behaviour leads to refusal, reluctance or inability of the other employees to work with him;
  • The employee has been guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code and thus rendering his conduct injurious to the general reputation of the company and its employees;
  • Creates difficulty for the company to properly carry out “its function of efficiently managing its works and efficiently directing its working forces.”

These factors have been applied in recent arbitral decisions to determine whether an employer was justified in imposing discipline on an employee for off-duty conduct.

Although only proving one of these factors is required to for an employer to justify termination, arbitrators have emphasized that there can be a high threshold to meet. The interests of the employee in the autonomy of their private affairs must be balanced with the employers desire to protect their reputation and fellow workers. Arbitrators require a thorough investigation to be completed by the employer to substantiate claims under any of these factors.

In the Twitter age, an employee’s off-duty conduct is more likely to be broadcasted, and the continued rise of social media makes it easier for an employee to be connected to their workplace. Recent events serve as a cautionary tale for employees that clocking out from the office doesn’t necessarily disconnect them from certain employment obligations.

This article was written with the assistance of Nicole Buchanan, summer student.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice. We provide the world’s pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3800 lawyers based in over 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Average Employee’s Perception of the Work Experience is Deteriorating

Average Employee’s Perception of the Work Experience is Deteriorating

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., June 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — New research from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), finds that while employee engagement levels have plateaued, employees’ overall work experience is deteriorating―particularly their perceptions about the resources and programs that enable them to grow and perform.

Aon Hewitt’s Trends in Global Employee Engagement study represents the perspectives of more than 9 million employees at over 1,000 companies in 164 countries. According to the report, global employee engagement levels reached 62 percent in 2014, up just 1 percentage point from 2013. Employee engagement across the countries with the world’s 20 largest economies and labor pools remained flat at 61 percent. Despite modest increases in engagement, Aon Hewitt’s study shows that employees’ net satisfaction with their work experience plummeted 28 percentage points in 2014.

“As GDP growth continues, we expect to see organizations make greater investments in people, which could result in an increase in employee engagement,” said Dr. Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt’s global engagement practice leader. “However, any improvements in engagement could be offset by increasing employee dissatisfaction with many of the work-related resources and programs that enable them to effectively do their jobs. Employees who are engaged, but not empowered, are more likely to be frustrated, burned out and become disengaged, which puts organizations at risk of having suboptimal productivity and higher-than-average employee turnover.”

Global Engagement Drivers
Aon Hewitt’s study found that career opportunities—the top driver of engagement—dipped three percentage points. Other top engagement drivers–reputation, pay, employee value proposition and innovation—also show opportunity for improvement, with about half of the global population dissatisfied with these key engagement priorities.

Work experience indicators that saw the most significant decline in employee perception worldwide include:

  • Enabling tools, resources and people programs (-7 percentage points)
  • Employees feeling valued (-6 percentage points)
  • Customer focus and responsiveness to customer needs (-5 percentage points)

Change in Employees’ Perception of Work Experience

Global Drivers

Percent Change

 Senior Leadership


 Brand Alignment








 Work/Life Balance








 Learning and Development


 Managing Performance


 Organization Reputation




 Work Processes


 Physical Work Environment






 Sense of Accomplishment


 Work Tasks




 Career Opportunities




 BU/Division Leadership


 Customer Focus


 People/HR Practices


 Valuing People/People Focus




Net Employee Work Experience:


“There has been significant emphasis on increasing engagement over the last several years, but many organizations are overly focused on diagnostics and not on the holistic solutions that address the specific challenges they are facing,” said Oehler. “The best way to rapidly address low engagement levels is to ‘fix the basics’ in areas like safety or the systems, processes and resources needed to get work done. Beyond these areas, top organizations will create a culture of engagement by focusing on performance, growth and engaging leadership.”

Engagement Levels by Region
Aon Hewitt’s report shows engagement levels vary by region:

  • Latin America continues to be the region with the highest engagement levels, with approximately seven out of 10 employees engaged.
  • The Africa and the Middle East region is seeing the greatest positive trajectory, with engagement rising 14 percentage points since 2012 to 67 percent.
  • In North America, engagement reached near pre-recession levels at 66 percent.
  • The Asia Pacific region has seen a nine percentage point increase in average engagement over the last five years, due in large part to high economic opportunities across many markets in the region.
  • Europe remains flat at 57 percent with many markets continuing to struggle with stalled economic growth.









North America








Asia Pacific




Latin America




Africa/Middle East




Engagement Varies by Job Function
Not surprisingly, Aon Hewitt’s research shows varying level of engagement by job function. Executives’ and senior leaders’ engagement levels are 76 percent, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2012. Middle managers had a slight jump in engagement level, rising two percentage points to 67 percent. Front-line and professional employees stayed flat at 61 and 54 percent, respectively.

“While managers have traditionally been responsible for engaging their people, that paradigm is shifting,” said Oehler. “Senior leaders are now responsible for setting a compelling vision that connects people to purpose. Individual employees are increasingly expected to be responsible for their own engagement, including understanding what impacts their personal engagement and what they need to be optimally engaged. In our experience, leaders that create cultures of engagement create environments that empower individual employees to develop themselves and others.”

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 69,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit: http://aon.mediaroom.com.

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