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AODA’s Workplace Emergency Response Information Requirements Already in Force: Are you in Compliance?

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Since January 1, 2012, Ontario employers have been obligated to provide “individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability, if the disability is such that the individualized information is necessary and the employer is aware of the need for accommodation due to the employee’s disability.”

The obligation is in section 27 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (often referred to as “AODA”).  Although other obligations under that regulation come into effect in 2014 and later, the emergency response information requirements in section 27 came into effect in 2012.

Section 27 also requires that if an employee who “receives individualized workplace emergency response information requires assistance”, then if the employee consents, the employer shall provide the workplace emergency response information to the person designated by the employer to provide assistance to the employee.”

The section goes on to require that employers provide the emergency response information as soon as practicable after the employer becomes aware of the need for accommodation due to the employee’s disability.

Lastly, section 27 requires that every employer review the individualized workplace emergency response information, “(a) when the employee moves to a different location in the organization; (b) when the employee’s overall accommodations needs or plans are reviewed; and (c) when the employer reviews its general emergency response policies.”

Employers – particularly those with workplaces which might be difficult to exit in the event of an emergency – should consider their obligations under section 27.