On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

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Start off the New Year by ensuring your workplace is ready for 2015. As the unemployment rate continues to go down, workers will have more choices for where they want to work. This year, focus your energy on your employees and create the kind of workplace people want to be a part of.  I’m going to share two items you need to be prepared for.

The Ontario Accessibility with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The AODA employment standard is about making accessibility a regular part of finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Have you designated a person responsible for your organization’s AODA plan?

Do you know everything that the AODA requires and what it doesn’t require?

Have you submitted your customer service report?

Have you met the requirements for 2013 and 2014?

Have you posted your multi-year accessibility plan on your website?

Have you submitted your report to the government in December 2014, including that you’ve met all the requirements?

OADA is not the only legislation in the province. There is also the Ontario Human Rights Code and the concept of “undue hardship.” The code prescribes three considerations in assessing whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship. These are:

  • Cost
  • Outside sources of funding, if any
  • Health and safety requirements, if any.


OADA focuses on planning. Its goal is to create the potential for work for people in Ontario with disability.

The Human Rights Code, on the other hand, is a complaint-based platform which focuses on sanctions.

There are 9 years, 51 weeks, 5 days till a fully Accessible Ontario! Will you be compliant?

Policies on Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment

Everyone should be able to work in a safe and healthy workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out roles and responsibilities for workplace parties with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment, including developing and implementing policies and programs.

Most organizations have policies that prohibit harassment and require employees to treat each other in a respectful manner. As an employer, you must proactively assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work, or the conditions of work. Use the new year to make sure you are educating employees on these policies and ensuring that you have a workplace free of harassment, bullying, and abusive behavior.

Let employees know who they can talk to if these issues come up, and have an open door policy when it comes to complaints so employees do not fear speaking up. Have a process in place for investigating complaints and taking appropriate remedial action.

Our next article will share other important items you need to be prepared for in order to be in 2015 the employer of choice.


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