The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a legislation passed in 2005 with the aim of making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. As part of this goal, the AODA sets out specific requirements for businesses and organizations in Ontario to follow when hiring and onboarding new employees. In this article, we will discuss some best practices for meeting these requirements and creating an inclusive and accessible workplace.
Understand your obligations under the AODA
As an employer in Ontario, it is important to understand your obligations under the AODA and how they relate to the hiring and onboarding process. This includes making sure that job advertisements and the application process are accessible to people with disabilities, providing appropriate accommodations during the interview and assessment process, and ensuring that new employees have access to the same opportunities and support as their colleagues.
Make the application process accessible
One of the key obligations under the AODA is to make the job application process accessible to people with disabilities. This includes ensuring that job advertisements are accessible and providing options for alternative formats, such as large print or electronic versions, for individuals who require them. It is also important to provide appropriate accommodations during the application and assessment process, such as providing sign language interpretation or allowing for additional time to complete written assessments.
Provide accessible onboarding materials and support
Once a new employee has been hired, it is important to provide them with accessible onboarding materials and support. This may include providing alternative formats for documents, such as electronic versions or large print, as well as ensuring that any training materials or information sessions are accessible. It is also important to provide support and accommodations, such as sign language interpretation or assistive technology, to ensure that the new employee can fully participate in the onboarding process.
Create an inclusive and accessible workplace
Creating an inclusive and accessible workplace goes beyond meeting the requirements of the AODA. It is important to foster a culture of inclusion and accessibility, and to make sure that all employees, including those with disabilities, feel valued and supported. This can be achieved through regular communication and feedback, as well as providing ongoing support and accommodations as needed.
Train managers and employees
Providing training for managers and employees on the AODA and accessibility issues is an important part of creating an inclusive and accessible workplace. This training can include information on the requirements of the AODA, as well as best practices for working with and supporting individuals with disabilities. It is also important to provide regular updates and refresher training to ensure that everyone is aware of their obligations and is able to support the inclusion and accessibility of the workplace.
Review and update policies and procedures
To ensure that your hiring and onboarding processes are fully compliant with the AODA, it is important to regularly review and update your policies and procedures. This may include updating job advertisements and application forms to make sure that they are accessible, as well as reviewing your onboarding materials and support to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible. By regularly reviewing and updating your policies and procedures, you can ensure that you are meeting your obligations under the AODA and providing an inclusive and accessible workplace for all employees.
Seek feedback and support
Seeking feedback from employees, including those with disabilities, is an important part of ensuring that your hiring and onboarding processes are inclusive and accessible. This can include conducting surveys or focus groups, as well as providing opportunities for employees to share their feedback and suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of the workplace. It is also important to seek support from organizations and agencies that specialize in accessibility and inclusion, as they can provide valuable guidance and resources to help you meet your obligations
Monitor and report on progress
In addition to regularly reviewing and updating your policies and procedures, it is important to monitor your progress towards meeting the requirements of the AODA and creating an inclusive and accessible workplace. This can include tracking the number of accommodations provided, as well as monitoring the satisfaction and engagement of employees with disabilities. By regularly monitoring and reporting on your progress, you can identify areas for improvement and take action to address any gaps or challenges.
Following best practices for hiring and onboarding new employees under the AODA is essential for creating an inclusive and accessible workplace. This includes understanding your obligations under the legislation, making the application process accessible, providing accessible onboarding materials and support, creating an inclusive culture, providing training, reviewing and updating policies and procedures, seeking feedback, and monitoring and reporting on progress. By following these best practices, you can ensure that you are meeting your obligations under the AODA and providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees.