Government Relations > Legislative Updates > Accessibility
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GTHA Partners with Enabling Change Program

The Greater Toronto Hotel Association acknowledges the support of the Government of Ontario through its EnAbling Change Program. The program seeks partnerships with organizations like the GTHA that have the vision, leadership and commitment to improve accessibility for people with disabilities through the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities.  Enabling Change Program Info

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 

In 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law. Under this legislation, the Ontario government is developing mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living.   The goal is to make incremental improvements to achieve an accessible Ontario by 2025.

The AODA applies to all persons and businesses in the public and private sectors that provide a good, service, facility, or accommodation to the public. Click here for Ontario Regulation 429/07 that states the requirements of the customer service standard.

On January 1, 2012 all restaurants, hotels, motels and tourism establishments  are legally required to comply with the Accessible Customer Service Standard.

The Building Code requires barrier-free washrooms to be provided in public areas of most buildings.  These washrooms must be situated on a barrier-free path of travel and are subject to a number of requirements addressing turning space, doorway widths, grab bars, counter heights and signage, among others.  The Building Code also sets requirements related to barrier-free showers and bathtubs.

New amendments update these requirements in a number of ways.  Key changes include:

• Requirements for power door operators at the entrance door to all barrier-free and universal washrooms

• Amended mounting height and location requirements for washroom accessories such as towel dispensers and hand dryers

• New fold-down grab bar design options to allow for transfer space on both sides of the water closet

• Requiring an L-shaped grab bar in all cases and removing the option to provide a diagonal grab bar

• Increased minimum clear floor area in barrier-free washroom stalls required to allow for turning space

At least one universal toilet room would also be required in all buildings, and, for multi-storey buildings, at least one for every three floors.  Space for an adult change table will have to be provided in all universal toilet rooms except in buildings under 300 square metres in building area.

Please ensure you connect with your local building department to check the rules of your municipality, as they have the authority to change the above (which is the minimum) required under the Act.

Blind Persons' Rights Act

The Blind Persons' Rights Act, outlines the regulations and requirements  under the Act. The Act can be found here. 


Compliance Toolkit (Policy Templates, Practical Guide, Checklist, Case Studies, Additional Resources)

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service: Summary of Requirements

2010 Accessible Customer Service Standards Report

Customer Service Standard Compliance Toolkit

Accessible Information and Communication

In May 2009 a proposed Information and Communication Standard (ICS) was submitted to the Minister of Community and Social Services for review and approval. Once approved the ICS will require the private sector to have policies and procedures to ensure all information and communication is developed and available in accessible alternate formats. The GTHA will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Changes to Accessible Customer Service Standard Take Effect July 1, 2016

What you need to know
There are changes to the accessible customer service standard and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation that will affect you and your members. Please share this information with your members. A toolkit is below to help you:

What are the main changes?

  • All employees and volunteers must now be trained on accessible customer service.
  • More types of regulated health professionals can provide documentation of a need for a service animal.
  • More specific information is provided to clarify that an organization can only require a support person to accompany someone with a disability for the purposes of health or safety and in consultation with the person. If it’s determined a support person is required, the fee or fare (if applicable) for the support person must be waived. 
  • All accessibility standards — including the accessible customer service standard — are now part of one Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. This means that the requirements are now better aligned to make it easier for organizations to understand their obligations. 
  • Private sector and non-profit organizations with 20-49 employees no longer need to document policies (does not remove compliance or reporting requirements). 
  • Certain terms and definitions have also been updated and do not affect your existing requirements.
When do these changes come into effect?

The changes to the standard will come into effect on July 1, 2016.

What is the deadline to comply with these changes?
All organizations in Ontario with one or more employees must comply with the changes effective July 1, 2016.

What is the deadline to report compliance with these changes?
All public sector organizations, and businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees must submit their 2017 accessibility compliance report by December 31, 2017.

The 2017 report will include questions relating to compliance with the updated customer service standard.

Learn more
Sign up for our free online session Accessible Customer Service Standard: What You Need to Know.

Accessible Employment

The Employment Standard is currently in development and once finalized, may place specific requirements on all employers with regard to the recruitment, retention and accommodation of persons with disabilities. The GTHA will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Accessible Built Environment

The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure is pleased to announce the release of new policy guidelines on the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces. These guidelines explain the intent behind each of the requirements in plain language. They are now available here.

Accessible Transportation

The Transportation Standard is awaiting final approval from the government. The standard is to ensure that all public transportation systems, vehicles and services are accessible to persons with disabilities. This standard may have implications for hotels that own or operate shuttle services. The GTHA will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Government of Ontario / Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

ACCESS Ontario (Resources provided by the Government of Ontario)

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Accessible Info and Communication Guide for Small Businesses

Develop Accessibility Plan

Guide to Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

How to Develop Accessibility Policies

Incorporate Accessibility with Goods, Services, Facilities

Making Self-Service Kiosks Accessible