The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) is to benefit Ontarians by enforcing accessibility standards to help those with disabilities. The Act was passed in 2005; it has a progressive implementation plan that affects companies and organizations depending on their size and status.
On January 1st, 2016, companies in the private sector with 50 employees or more were required to have these provisions in place. The AODA will extend these requirements to private sector companies with 1 to 49 employees by January 2017.
How this affects hourly employers
The AODA requires Ontario employers to accommodate persons with disability during the following processes:
- Hiring process
- Communication of workplace information
- Talent and performance management
- Communication of accessibility policies
- Accommodation planning
- The return to work process
As an RPO solution, we will focus on impacts the AODA has specifically on the hiring process. The AODA defines the hiring process as 1) recruitment, 2) selection, and 3) notification to applicants. Essentially employers must clearly inform job seekers and the public that accommodations can be made in the hiring process for those with disabilities. Every Ontario job seeker must be able to request accommodations for a disability for each assessment or selection process during the hiring process. If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, employers must provide or arrange for suitable accommodations. (For types of accessible formats and communication support, and tools to make information accessible, click here.)
Mindfield’s course of action
At Mindfield, our mission is to create powerful hourly workforces by finding best-fit employees for our clients. To ensure compliance for January 1st, 2016, Mindfield incorporated AODA notification text on behalf of our clients who conduct any operations in Ontario. Guidance on how to incorporate this text into the hiring process was not overly prescriptive, so we decided to make sure all applicants are exposed to the accessibility text at the key stages of our application process. Job seekers in Ontario are notified that they can request for accommodations in all job postings, careers sites, and in our ‘Thank You’ email notifications.
Our Full-Cycle Recruitment Solution includes candidate phone screening and we offer interview scheduling for our customers. To support our notification text, our team also verbally states in the phone screen that accommodations during the hiring process can be made for candidates with disabilities. We then ask if candidates need accommodations. If answered yes, we capture the appropriate information and notify the hiring manager at the store location to offer a better candidate experience. This provides the hiring managers the necessary information so that accommodation needs can be fully understood prior to the interview.
The goal of the AODA is for Ontario to become accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. As mentioned, private companies with 1 to 49 employees must comply by January 1st, 2017. Similar legislation is in the consultation or planning stages in other provinces. Make sure you know your obligations as an employer and be prepared for potential operational changes. Improving accessibility and providing appropriate accommodations is recommended as part of a long-term workforce strategy.
To learn more about how Mindfield can help you with your recruitment and ensure AODA compliance, click here.
For more information on the AODA, click here.