The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) became law in 2005. Its stated goal is the creation of an accessible Ontario by 2025, through the development, implementation, and enforcement of accessibility standards that apply to the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
With the Act, Ontario became the first province in Canada and one of the first jurisdictions in the world to establish a specific law with a goal and timeframe for achieving accessibility. It was also the first jurisdiction to legally require accessibility reporting, and one of the first to establish accessibility standards so that persons with disabilities have increased opportunities to participate in everyday life.
The accessibility standards under the Act are laws that businesses and organizations with one or more employees in Ontario must follow so they can identify, remove and prevent barriers faced by persons with disabilities. These standards are part of the act’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, 0. Reg 191/11.
Recommendations by the Postsecondary Education Standards Development Committee, which, if adopted, are likely to come into effect on or before June 1, 2025, include the following:
Procurement policies must ensure that all purchases made on behalf of the postsecondary institutions are consistent with accessibility requirements. All faculty members and administrative staff must be clearly informed of their responsibilities under the existing Ontario government accessibility laws on procurement.
This means we must consider accessibility, where possible, along with other criteria like the quality and cost of the items. We must also incorporate accessible design and features where possible.