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The AODA and Mandatory Volunteer Training

Posted By Melina Condren, Director of Engaging Organizations, June 30, 2016
Updated: June 29, 2016
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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

As you may have already heard, there have been some important changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) that may affect your volunteer program. Essentially, the AODA exists to set and enforce accessibility standards for Ontario’s public, private and non-profit sectors. Its aim is to reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities trying to access services, public spaces, transportation, information, or employment.

The change in question relates to the Customer Service Standard (CSS). As of July 1st 2016, all volunteers (and all staff) must be trained on accessible customer service, regardless of how likely they are to interact with clients. How is this different from previous requirements? Before, only volunteers with client-facing roles needed to be trained. This means that although some of your volunteers may have already been trained (and don’t need to be retrained because of the current changes), any volunteers who haven’t already received this training will need to do so now.

Before you panic trying to figure out how you’ll manage to give all your volunteers this additional training, there are some great resources you should know about that will make that job a whole lot easier:

  • The Government of Ontario has free online training on accessible customer service. It only takes 45 minutes to complete, and volunteers can do the training by themselves anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.
  • Volunteer Toronto has a wealth of resources available in an online portal dedicated to the AODA’s Customer Service Standard. It includes tip sheets, presentations, and information about how the CSS requirements affect the voluntary sector. This information can all be used directly by volunteers, or by volunteer managers who want to facilitate accessible customer service training themselves but need some resources to get started.

Photo of Melina CondrenMelina Condren oversees all of Volunteer Toronto's services for organizations, including our training program, volunteer management conference, subscriptions program, and new Grassroots Growth project. Her priority is to ensure our services are effectively helping non-profits build capacity through volunteer involvement and continue to meet the ever-evolving needs of the voluntary sector.

Tags:  Accessibility in Ontario  Ontario Disability Act  Understanding the AODA 

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