Please note, the Accessibility Toolkit was last updated in 2014. Recommendations included in the Toolkit may not reflect current standards or best practices.

External contractors


Depending on the structure of your institution, the library may or may not have direct control over the tender and hiring process of external contractors. Often, contracts are managed by a general, university plant operations or facilities department, with a project manager from that department assigned to oversee the work. However, in some cases the library staff are involved in the recruitment or the supervision of contract workers. The following tools have been developed to assist library staff when procuring contract workers. Consultation with local accessibility staff is advised.

What does AODA compliance mean for engaging contractors?

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), all employees,contract-staff and volunteers are required to receive training on providing accessible customer service.

Construction/public works projects are often contracted to outside companies. It is important that contractors be aware of the library’s commitment to accessibility so that the work does not create additional barriers for people with disabilities.

What makes a project accessible?

The basic goal is to create a safe and accessible environment for all users, while not creating additional barriers for people with disabilities.

For example:

  • Routes around the construction area are free of obstacles so that passers-by don't need to constantly watch their step. In some instances, they might not be able to.
  • Routes are wide enough for people with mobility devices (wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, crutches) to get by.
  • Alternate, accessible routes are clearly signed.

Considerations when procuring

Include accessibility requirements in your tender:

  • Does the company train its employees in providing accessible service, as required by the Customer Service Standard, Section 6: Training for Staff?
  • Does the company have a plan for providing access or alternate accessible routes?
  • Are the routes wide enough for people using mobility devices (wheelchairs, etc.)?
  • Are the routes free of obstacles?
  • Are obstructions (for instance, fences, steps) visible, clearly marked/identified?
  • Is there turning space for people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices?
  • Does the company use accessible signage—visible, placed at an accessible height?
  • Does the company have emergency procedures to assist people with disabilities?

Establish procedures for after-hours accessibility and safety:

  • For example, if a ramp is closed off for repair, make sure that users have an alternate means of access, and that this access is clearly signed.

Establish procedures to ensure that services and resources are accessible during the construction period:

  • If an area is inaccessible to people with disabilities, develop alternate ways of providing the services/resources.

Communicate the disruption in service via the library website and other appropriate avenues:

  • Inform library staff of changes in procedure needed to ensure accessibility during the construction project.
  • Ensure that signage is placed at an accessible height.

Tools for creating an accessible project