(Dec. 10/14) Ontario operators should be aware of two sets of legislation on the rights of people with disabilities.

Accommodating people with disabilities
The next phase of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015. By the end of 2014, restaurants and other businesses with 20 or more employees must file an accessibility report online with the Ministry of Economic Development.

In this report, restaurants must provide a plan of how they will accommodate people with disabilities. For example, if a restaurant does not have menus for the vision-impaired, it can plan to have an employee read the menu to the customer.

The Ministry of Economic Development offers tools to help businesses meet their requirements under the Act. Get step-by-step instructions on how to file your 2014 accessibility compliance report.

Dealing with service animals
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires you to allow service animals on the parts of your premises open to the public or third parties, unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises.

An animal is considered a service animal if:

  • it is clearly used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; 
  • the person has a letter from a physician or nurse verifying the animal is required for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
  • the person has an identification card from the Ministry of the Attorney General.

If none of the above criteria is met, you are not required to allow the animal on your premises.

Learn more about rules on guide dogs and service animals.

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