As summarized in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), a disability is defined as “any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury,  birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device, a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, a learning disability, a mental disorder, or an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.”

1. Agency staff and volunteers will provide goods and services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of all persons with disabilities.

2. Agency staff and volunteers will communicate with persons with disabilities in a manner that takes into account his or her disability.

3. The Agency will use reasonable efforts to allow persons with disabilities to use their own personal assistive devices to access goods and services. Assistive devices may include but are not limited to: manual and power wheelchairs, hearing aids, walking aids, communication aids, and visual aids. In support of persons with disabilities, all Agency offices have some variation of the following in place:

a) Ground level entrance or a wheelchair ramp (where required) for all visitors at the front entrance of the building, with handicap door openers;

b) An elevator (in multiple floor locations) which provides access to all floors of the building; and

c) Meeting rooms which are located in a secure, private, and quiet area to prevent disrupting hearing impaired persons with noises outside of the meeting and to address privacy concerns should the worker need to speak louder.

4. The Agency will permit people with disabilities who require a support person to bring that person with them while accessing goods or services in premises open to the public or third parties. A support person is recognized as an individual, whether a paid professional, volunteer, or friend, that accompanies a person with a disability in order to assist with accessing goods or services. Support persons are required to review and sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

In the event where a fee is applicable to persons with disabilities who require a support person while accessing Agency goods or services, notice of the fee will be provided in advance in writing or over the telephone.

5. The Agency will allow persons with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animal in public areas. In the event the animal is excluded by law, alternative measures will be sought to continue to provide services to the person with the disability. Alternative measures may include meeting in a different location, if feasible and available.

6. Notice will be provided to persons with disabilities in the event of a temporary disruption to services or facilities as early in advance as possible. Notice will be provided in writing or over the telephone, as well as signs will be clearly posted at all public entrances. The notice will include the reason for disruption, how long the disruption is expected to last and alternative services or facilities available, if any.

7. Agency staff, volunteers, and any other individuals who are involved in developing Agency policies will be trained on a number of topics as outlined in the customer service standard. The training requirements include the following:

a) The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard;

b) How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;

c) How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person;

d) What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Agency goods or services; and

e) The policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.

Ongoing training on changes to policies, practices, and procedures will be provided.  The Administration Coordinator will keep training records which includes the dates when the training was provided, and number of individuals to whom the training was provided.

8. Client feedback will be sought through the use of the Agency Client Feedback Survey instrument which is mailed to all clients on a regularly scheduled basis.  In addition, all persons with disabilities will be encouraged to provide feedback to Agency staff or volunteers regarding the accessibility of the program, goods, services and/or facilities in person, writing, e-mail, or telephone. 

We endeavor to ensure feedback processes are accessible by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports. As such, please note that accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

Feedback regarding accessibility will be forwarded to the Administration Coordinator who will address any identified issues.  If contact has been requested, a response will be given in a timely manner.

Complaints will be addressed immediately following the “Service Complaint Procedure” policy.

9. Policies, practices, and procedures required under the Ontario Regulation 429/07 will be made available upon request to all persons with disabilities. Information will be provided in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.

10. These procedures exist to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities.  If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to, the Administration Coordinator