The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005. Its goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. Over the next 20 years, that number will rise as the population ages.

Libraries are a place for every member of their community and are committed to providing accessible library services.

CELA and NNELS - Federal Funding Cuts

CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access) and NNELS (National Network for Equitable Library Service) are Canada’s comprehensive accessible reading services. Together, CELA and NNELS provide books and other materials to Canadians with print disabilities in the formats of their choice.

The federal government’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES) included an announcement that current annual funding to both CELA and NNELS will be immediately reduced by 25% before ending entirely in 2024-2025. Thanks to community advocacy efforts, the immediate funding cuts for the 2021-22 year have been suspended. However, there are still no assurances regarding the organizations’ longer term funding.

CELA and NNELs are critical partners with public libraries who ensure that those with print disabilities have access to accessible reading materials.


You can help advocate by contacting your MP, Ministers Qualtrough and Freeland, and key opposition Members of Parliament to express your support for CELA and NNELS. Consult the CELA and NNELS websites for template letters and updates.

Updated: March 31, 2021

Accessibility Resources

The Ontario Public Library Association (OPLA), a division of OLA, launched a video project to support ongoing library staff training on serving people with disabilities and compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service under the AODA. Here are four short videos depicting common sense approaches to providing an accessible library service for people who have a disability. 

  • Assistive Technology in the Library
    In this scenario, a library customer who has vision loss would like to search the online catalogue using assistive technology. Included is a common sense approach to interacting with a person with a guide dog and getting started on an accessible library workstation.
    [link to video]
  • Understanding the Diversity of Library Customer Needs In this scenario, a library customer who has a perceptual disability is looking for job-hunt resources. Included is a tactful and common sense approach to recognizing that some patrons require different means of accessing information.
    [link to video]
  • Accessible Library Service for a Person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing In this scenario, a library customer who is hard of hearing is looking for some great mystery novels. Included is a common sense approach to communicating effectively, and ensuring that the customer is aware of the accessible telephone options for reaching the library.
    [link to video]
  • Providing a Barrier Free Library Experience In this scenario, a library customer who uses a wheelchair is looking for yoga and gardening books. Included are tips for recognizing the role of an attendant, identifying simple solutions to a barrier free path, and how a customer can be part of creating your accessibility plan.
    [link to video]

Learn more about these videos here

Training on AODA standards – AccessForward / Vers l’accessibilité
Free training modules to meet the training requirements under Ontario’s accessibility laws (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act).

Volunteering and Accessibility Training – Spark Ontario
A new online training resource to help people put the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) into action in their volunteering.

Resources for compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) On-Demand Webinars – Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)

Accessible Campus latest information about accessibility at universities across the province of Ontario.

The Teachable Project
Accessibility training for classroom staff and provide ongoing support to the world of Accessibility Awareness.

Communication Access for People Who Have Communication Disabilities – Government of Ontario (2009)

U.S.A., Disability Etiquette – United Spinal Association

The Basics of Sighted Guide Techniques  – CNIB (2014)
A three minute video overview of sighted guide techniques.

Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University (formerly Adaptive Technology Research Centre, University of Toronto) Updated regularly, the IDRC provides resources and educational opportunities on the subject of Adaptive Technology.

SNOW – Inclusive Learning and Education
SNOW is a branch of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University that focuses on technologies for learning and promotes understanding of inclusive learning practices

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (2018)
This page introduces the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), including WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1.

Accessible Digital Office Document Project (2010)
To help you create accessible office documents and choose accessible office applications for your organization. The guidance is based primarily on WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 1.0.

AODA Legislation  

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is a call to develop, implement and enforce mandatory accessibility standards. Accessibility standards are the rules that businesses and organizations in Ontario will have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. All types of libraries must comply.

Ontario Human Rights Code

Integrated Accessibility Standards

Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability – Ontario Human Rights Commission – Commission ontarienne des droits de la personne (2016)

OLA participates in AODA consultations and the membership has put forth resolutions about accessibility.

OLA’s response to the final consultation on the proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation in 2011.

2012 Motion to support a National Network for Equitable Library Service for Canadians with print disabilities.