The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005. Under this landmark legislation, the government of Ontario has developed mandatory accessibility standards that identifies, removes, and prevents barriers for people with disabilities.
Public sector organizations must include accessibility criteria in their processes for buying and acquiring goods, services and facilities. This means considering accessibility, where possible, along with other criteria like the quality and cost of the items as well as incorporating accessible design and features where possible.
Procurement and the AODA
When buying goods, services or facilities, ask these questions to ensure accessibility standards are met:
- Can the product be used by someone:
- in a seated position?
- using one hand, with limited upper body strength?
- with limited fine motor skills?
- with vision loss or low vision?
- with hearing loss?
- Does the product meet ergonomic standards?
- Can the product be customized to meet different needs?
- Are instructions for using the product clear and easy to follow?
- Are support materials (e.g. manuals or training materials) available in accessible formats at no extra charge?
- Does the firm provide accessible customer service?
- Can the service provider accommodate the needs of people of all abilities? For example, when hiring someone to do research, do their surveys and interviews accommodate people with different types of disabilities?
- Will the company use accessible signage, audio and/or print materials? For example, when hiring an event coordinator, will they use high contrast signs for the event?
- Can someone using a mobility aid (e.g. wheelchair or walker) move around the facility?
- Are signs placed at an accessible height?
- Does the facility have emergency procedures to assist people with disabilities?
If you cannot find or use an accessible product, service, or facility, you must be prepared to:
- explain why
- when requested, provide your explanation in an accessible format or with communication supports