On December 13, 2021, the Accessible Canada Regulations came into force under the Accessible Canada Act. Federal employers and employees should take note as there are several new requirements.
1. The Basics
Under the new rules, employers are obligated to create an accessibility plan, establish and publish an anonymous feedback process and produce progress reports. The accessibility plan must set out:
- How the organization will identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility;
- How employees, clients, members of the public and others can contact the organization to request information or provide feedback; and
- How the organization consulted with persons with disabilities in preparing the accessibility plan.
The rules only apply to federally regulated employers, such as those in the banking or aviation sectors. There are also staggered timelines for implementation:
- Private sector entities with 100 or more employees must publish their initial accessibility plans by June 1, 2023; and
- Private sector entities with 10-99 employees must publish their initial accessibility plans by June 1, 2024.
Subsequent deadlines apply with respect to progress reports and accessibility plan updates.
3. Policy Details
Employment and Social Development Canada has prepared a comprehensive module that provides supplementary information to employers on developing an accessibility plan. In addition to the requirements under the Act and the Regulations, the module recommends that accessibility plans also include the following:
- The organization’s short-term and long-term goals related to accessibility;
- Details regarding what the organization is currently doing, plans to do, and hopes to achieve in improving accessibility;
- A description of the organization’s approach to training on accessibility;
- An explanation of how accessibility fits into the organizational “culture”;
- Information regarding how the organization intends to promote accessibility; and
- Accessibility-related information, such as available resources and the location of accessible entrances and supports.
If you have any questions about the new accessibility requirements, contact us, we would be happy to discuss.