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The Ontario Government is introducing five sets of mandatory standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). These standards require public and private sector organizations to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility for customers and employees with disabilities. The legislation is part of the Ministry of Community and Social Services' (MCSS) plan to ensure that, by 2025, people with disabilities are able to participate in and enjoy opportunities available to people without disabilities. As part of the AODA legislation, every business in Ontario that provides goods or services to the public and has at least one employee will have to comply with Accessibility Standards for Customer Service by January 1, 2012.

Planning ahead can help keep people safe. You may have an evacuation plan for your employees, or post warning signs for the public. The key is giving people the information they need; including people with disabilities.

Ontario's accessibility standards can help you make information accessible so everyone has the information they need to stay safe. The standards apply to all organizations in Ontario with at least one employee, including:

• private companies
• non-profit organizations
• public sector organizations
• the Government of Ontario.

Starting January 1, 2012:

• work with your employees who have a disability to figure out what information they might need in an emergency
• make public emergency information accessible, upon request.

ARIDO and IDC has created its Accessibility Policy. Build your policy using this template and review ARIDO's Policy as an example.

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