As organizations strive to meet Ontario’s goal of being barrier free for persons with disabilities by 2025 through the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), many recognize the value of diversity and inclusivity extends beyond legal obligations and moral responsibility. Numerous studies conclude that businesses who make diversity and inclusion a priority financially outperform their competitors.
Inclusion brings us all opportunities to learn from others and grow. An environment in which everyone has the freedom and comfort to contribute fully can give employees a sense of belonging that will lead to better creativity and participation across the company.
Persons with disabilities face many kinds of physical, communications, attitudinal or systemic barriers every day. The best way to prevent barriers is to design inclusively.
Four Core Accessibility Principles of the AODA
Each person is able to maintain privacy, self-respect and the respect of others and is provided with the same service, quality and convenience as others.
Equity of Outcome
Each person has the same chances, options, benefits and results as others.
Each person is able to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others.
Each person is able to participate in the activities of the organization in the same or similar way as others.
Employers need to make sure their decisions and tools avoid creating new barriers for people with disabilities. Examples of this can include setting up policies, procedures and employee training, planning new facilities, renovating, buying computer systems or other equipment, launching websites, or offering new services.
Accessibility and inclusion also means taking steps to better understand the needs of people with disabilities and prevent “ableism” – attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities –enabling people with disabilities to fully take part in organizational life with respect and dignity.
Article provided by Bromelin HR Consulting
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