TORONTO — Fatima Finnegan of Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) has spent the past several weeks travelling around Ontario, helping hoteliers and restaurateurs understand the requirements of AODA accessibility legislation.
The six seminars, held in various Ontario centres, came in response to the many queries from ORHMA members regarding the legislation, including calls from people who had been charged with compliance issues.
Here are the top five questions identified by Finnegan at the final road show seminar held at the Toronto International Centre on Tuesday. Watch the print version of Canadian Lodging News for a more detailed list of questions.
#1: How do I report to the government?
A: The information can be found at www.ontario.ca/accessibility
#2: Can a business ask for certification for service animals?
A: Service animals, including guide dogs, are identified by a vest or harness. It is acceptable to ask for certification papers. (ORHMA can show you what a real certification paper looks like, as there are fakes.)
#3: In most hotels, there is a policy to accept a deposit for animals. Would the same apply for working dogs? If the hotel already charges for pets, can they charge?
A: Service animals are not pets and a deposit should not be charged. ORHMA notes that there are cases where service animals have misbehaved, and has objected to this requirement.
#4: If requested by a client or employee, does the company have to pay for a sign language interpreter?
A: Yes, not only under AODA legislation but also Human Rights legislation.
#5. Do we have to renovate our building to be accessible?
A: The Ontario Building Code amendments became effect on Jan. 1, 2015. This applies to new construction and extensive renovations. It covers a range of areas, such as:
– Visual fire alarms
– Barrier-free path of travel
– Accessible washrooms
– Automatic doors
– Accessible and adaptable seating spaces
For more information contact ORHMA at 1-800-668-8906 or www.orhma.com