Building Accessibility Compliance

AODA deadline is 2025. Confused about what you need to do before 2025 for the AODA deadline? Here is what you need to know.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was created to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. These are requirements for a barrier-free design for Ontarians.

There is only one standard under the AODA that affects buildings and properties, namely the Design of Public Spaces (entrance ways and elevators etc).

The Design of Public Spaces Standard applies to new construction and planned redevelopment of existing elements only. Under this standard, there are only two things you need to remember for your buildings:

1) NO CHANGES have to be made by 2025 if the building you are in has no renovations or structural changes to do; the building is “grandfathered”.

2) CHANGES HAVE TO BE MADE by 2025 if you build new or substantially renovate a space or building. All accessibility elements are then required to be to code under the Ontario Building Code (OBC).

You are not forced to meet the AODA standard by 2025 if you are not doing anything to your building. It is only that the intent is to do so when a major renovation or new build is required.

If you are presently renovating your lobby or installing new elevators, they must become accessible compliant under the OBC by 2025.

If you are doing a minor renovation to your building; you should refer to your local municipal department on their definition of substantial renovation to determine if all accessibility elements are then required.

Once you set up accessible areas, you need to also remember to maintain all accessibility features. For example, you may have a good accessible elevator; however, if someone in a wheelchair cannot get to the call button because of a garbage can in the way, or you have a perfectly good ramp to your entrance, but it is not regularly cleared of snow, you need to ensure that your areas are continuously accessible.

There may be other reasons for accessibility improvements beyond the OBC. For example, The Human Rights Code of Ontario plays another role in establishing our “duty to accommodate” persons with disabilities. Say an employee needed an accessible washroom in their work area, a renovation may be needed to provide it, or maybe that employee has to be located to work in another area that has an accessible washroom.

2025 Accessibility Compliances are attainable and not too overwhelming if you plan ahead; read the regulations, create an accessibility policy for your company, train staff, and listen to any feedback from your customers with disabilities to make your building more accessible.

For further information or additional resources on all the above please go to:

AODA for the latest information on Accessibility Compliance

• The Ontario Human Rights Commission for their Policies, Guidelines

• Your local Municipality’s Planning Department, if you have questions about how to make your building more accessible.

#asktheexpert #accessibility #aoda

Written by:

Marcia O’Connor

President AMFM Consulting Ltd.