Creating an Accessible Office Work Space
2025 is a critical year for all commercial business owners, whether big, small, local or franchised.
Why? This is when the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, better known by AODA, becomes law.
While 2025 sounds like a far time off into the future, it will be here sooner than you think, considering that 12 years has already passed since its introduction.
The AODA was first introduced on June 13, 2005. Its mandate is to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for all persons with disabilities from goods, services, employment, accommodations, facilities, buildings, structures and premises. In Toronto & Mississauga alone, over 17% of the population (2.4 million residents) have some sort of physical disability.
When persons with disabilities are often thought of, those in wheelchairs and with visible physical disabilities come to mind. The reality is that a person with a disability cannot be identified just by looking at him or her. Disabilities are also non-visible, and are more broad than most think. They range from vision, hearing, intellectual or developmental, learning, and mental health disabilities. The AODA will act and law will help create a more inclusive society in Ontario where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and contribute, regardless of having a disability or not.
How Does AODA Impact a Commercial Business Owner?
For a commercial business owner this means the following (just to name a few):
- They must create accessibility policies for their business
- Staff must be trained to serve customers of all abilities
- Service animals must be welcomed on your business premises
- Handicap door operators must be in place and fully operational
Commercial businesses that are found to be non-complaint with AODA requirements may face steep financial penalties – even more reason to begin planning now.
Here are some possible barriers that a business may need to be addressed:
- Entrances and exits to the premise
- Storage rooms
- Aisles or shopping areas
- Loading docks
- Parking lots
- Handicap door operators
- Wheelchair ramps
- Wider doors and frames
- Implementing or updating waiting areas with fixed or accessible seating
- In place of doorknobs, Installing easy push and pull door handles or levers
How to create an Accessible Commercial Office?
If you’re a commercial business owner ready to plan, or not quite sure where or how to start to make your office accessible consider working with a turkey interior design company like Sensyst.
We can help take the pressure off this aspect of AODA compliance. You can trust that we will fully take care of your interior office renovation from start to finish so that you can focus on training staff, creating policies and ensuring that other aspects of the business are accessible and compliant, while of course you continue to run your business.
We’d be happy to speak with you, and answer your questions, so give us a call.