Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Employment & Labour

Ignorance of law no defence under Ontario's accessibility law

Failure to comply with accessibility laws could result in fines for employers, even though in some cases, non-compliance is a result of not knowing such rules exist, Toronto employment lawyer Doug MacLeod says in Canadian HR Reporter.

Last year, MacLeod, principal of MacLeod Law Firm, received a phone call from a client who had been notified by the Ontario government that it was not in compliance with the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the report says.

“They’d never heard of the legislation before, despite the fact it was quite a large employer,” MacLeod says in the article, noting the company quickly complied.

“So that was kind of a good news story, from my perspective. But not all employers react that way,” MacLeod says in HR Reporter.

“As of November 2013, about 70 per cent of eligible businesses in the province still hadn’t complied with the Customer Service Accessibility Standard under AODA,” the article says.

“That standard came into force on Dec. 31, 2012, and required employers with 20 or more employees to submit a plan to the government detailing the organization’s strategies for accommodating customers with disabilities, training staff and receiving feedback from customers.”

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