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Accessibility makes good business sense

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Ontario is helping businesses succeed in becoming more accessible to Ontarians with disabilities.

In the next 20 years, an aging population and people with disabilities will represent 40 percent of total income in Ontario—that’s $536 billion.

Making sure all Ontarians have accessible customer service is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.

Starting Jan. 1, the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service will come into effect for all businesses and organizations in Ontario with one or more employees.

It will help Ontario’s businesses meet the needs of this growing community and attract their spending power.

Businesses can visit ontario.ca/AccessON to learn about changes that apply to their organization, as well as find free tools and guides to help.

This is just one of the ways Ontario is helping businesses succeed.

The province also is:

•cutting the effective tax rate on new business investment in half, through Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth;

•cutting the small business corporate income tax rate by 18 percent and eliminating the small business deduction surtax entirely;

•helping business save more than $500 million per year in administrative compliance costs through the HST; and

•helping businesses become more accessible to Ontarians with disabilities is part of the McGuinty government’s plan to create and protect new and existing jobs for Ontario families, and to strengthen local economies.

“Ontario’s prosperity depends on the continued growth of our province’s businesses,” stressed Community and Social Services minister John Milloy.

“Providing accessible customer service is easy to do and means our businesses can attract the spending power of more customers,” he reasoned.

Accessible customer service is as simple as making some small changes and training your staff to serve customers of all abilities, such as:

•accommodating a customer’s service dog;

•writing down the answer to a question for someone who is deaf; and

•using plain language and speaking in short sentences when helping someone with a developmental disability.

More than 1.85 million Ontarians have a disability—and this number is rising quickly as the population ages.

By 2017, for the first time, Ontarians aged 65 and over will account for a larger share of the population than children up to age 14.

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