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 AODA Accessibility Guide


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Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

Creating Inclusive Experiences and Events for Travelers with Disabilities

Tourism is a key driver to a successful economy and can bring people from all parts of the world into your place of business. By learning how to serve people with disabilities, businesses can attract more customers, build customer loyalty and improve their services for everyone. To get your business ready for any patron to access your facility or services regardless of their ability, accessibility needs to be at the forefront. Here are things to consider as a first step to creating an inclusive experience for travelers with disabilities:


1. Put the customer first

Develop policies that requires all staff and volunteers to be trained on accessibility to know what’s expected of them when they communicate with customers with disabilities – that’s the training piece. For example, if someone approaches a service counter and is having difficulty hearing the person behind the counter, that service provider might pull out of a pad of paper and a pencil and begin communicating with the customer by writing.
 
For free online accessibility training, visit accessforward.ca.

2. Learn about existing barriers
A good way to learn about barriers that exist in your workplace is to collect comments from your customers with disabilities. Invite customers to give feedback on how you provide accessible customer service and let them know how to do this. Part of this is ensuring your feedback process is accessible by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports on request. For example, after hosting an event, invite attendees to rate their experience through an online feature on your website.

Planning Accessible Events: So Everyone Feels Welcome is a guide that you can use to integrate accessibility when planning an event.

3. Use your website as a communication tool for accessibility
In today’s day and age, your website is really the first thing many tourists actually visit. How many people go on a trip without researching things to do first? If your website isn’t accessible for a person with a disability, they may think your business won’t be either. Having information available to visitors before they come into your place of business lets them know what level of accessibility to expect. For example, pre-visit information could describe the distance from the parking lot to the main entrance.
 
Use the achecker.ca tool to assess your website accessibility, or click here to go to the Registered Graphic Designers website for various online resources on web accessibility.

» Accessibility Reporting 

Ontario is a world leader in ensuring we are a more accessible place for all and where every resident or visitor can participate more fully in their community. Organizations like yours are a growing part of this success.

We can be proud Ontario was one of the first jurisdictions to create broad-based accessibility legislation (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005) and take active steps to make our province more accessible for people with disabilities.

Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for Customer Service came into effect on January 1, 2012 for all businesses and not-for-profits in the province. This is a major step towards achieving the vision of an accessible province by 2025.

The law applies to all organizations in Ontario that:

  • provide goods or services, and
  • have at least one employee

 
Accessible customer service is about understanding that people with disabilities may have different needs. It takes a few simple steps – like modifying your customer service policy and training your staff – to meet the standard and make your organization more welcoming to people with disabilities.

If your organization has 20 or more employees, you will also need to file an online compliance report with the Ontario government. The report is due December 31, 2017.  File your report today and show your commitment to providing accessible service to all your customers

Visit ontario.ca/AccessON or www.orhma.com to learn how the standard affects you, download free tools and file your online report.  

You can also follow Ontario’s accessibility journey by email, on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The first accessibility standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is now law.  Businesses will have to comply with the Accessible Customer Service Standard as of January 1, 2012. To meet this date, businesses should start building accessibility into business plans and corporate cultures now.

In 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law. Under this legislation, the Ontario government is developing mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living.  The standards will apply to public and private sectors across Ontario.

The goal is to make incremental improvements to achieve an accessible Ontario by 2025. 

On January 1, 2012 all restaurants, hotels, motels and tourism establishments must be in compliance with the Accessible Customer Service Standard.


» Accessible Customer Service Standard

 * Quick Reference Guide - Updates to Standard * 

The Accessible Customer Service Standard applies to all organizations that have one or more employees in Ontario and that provide goods or services to the public or another organization. 

One of the requirements of the Accessible Customer Service Standard is that you develop customer service policies, practices and procedures for serving people with disabilities.

There are two Ontario regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 that pertain to the Accessible Customer Service Standard:

 
» Accessibility Standards

The following accessibility standards are still in development:

  • Information and Communications
  • Transportation
  • Built Environment 

  » Tools From ORHMA

 

 

Keep Checking Here for more resources from ORHMA to help you comply with the Accessible Customer Standard!

Industry Case Studies:

ORHMA has developed 9 hospitality industry related case studies that showcase accessible customer service practices.  We spoke to many of our members and appreciate the support of the following establishments who shared with us their stories and acknowledge them as Accessible Ambassadors. 


ORHMA/TIAO Partnership

Click on the link below to view more information and resources. 



Tools from The Government of Ontario 

The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario offers free resources to help organizations understand and comply with the Accessible Customer Service Standard including: 

  
Read reports from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) accessibility within the hospitality industry:

 
Accessible Tourism Around The World 



  

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