Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Policy

The Equality Fund (EF) aims to meet the needs of people with disabilities by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility as mandated by the accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”).

Our commitment is to provide access to services and employment opportunities by offering equal treatment, opportunity and accommodation when required, to people with disabilities in a way that respects their dignity and independence.

This AODA policy applies to all employees, volunteers, contractors and other stakeholders that provide services or interact with people with disabilities on behalf of EF. 

Responsibilities:

Human Resources (HR) is responsible for providing AODA training and consultation to managers, employees, volunteers and contractors in support of their understanding and implementation of this policy.  HR also ensures that accommodation is considered throughout all human resources processes (i.e.  application process, interviewing, performance management, career development, etc.)  

Information Technology (IT) is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s information technology systems are accessible to persons with disabilities.  IT provides advice and assistance regarding adaptive/assistive devices that involve both hardware and software needs.

Communications is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s website and collateral materials are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Managers are responsible for ensuring the principles outlined in this Policy are adhered to throughout all business activities.  

Employees with disabilities are not required to advise EF of the nature of their disability. If an accommodation is required, persons are required to advise HR that they have a disability that requires accommodation and to provide information on what accommodation they require. 

Where the individual with the disability feels comfortable with providing the general nature of their disability, such as “vision”, “hearing”, “mobility” or “other”, this information can assist EF in providing services to the individual and in including this information in the appropriate emergency plans of EF.

All employees, including volunteers, contractors who interact with various stakeholders on behalf of EF are required to complete AODA training. 

Definitions:

Assistive Devices – Auxiliary aids such as communication aids, cognition aids, personal mobility aids and medical aids (e.g., canes, crutches, wheelchairs or hearing aids).

Communication Supports – Supports that facilitate effective communications, including but not limited to captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language, and sign language.

Disability – As per the Ontario Human Rights Code, means:

a) 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 coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;

b) A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;

c) A learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;

d) A mental disorder; or

e)  An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Service Animals – Animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.

Support Persons – Any persons, whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member or friend, who accompanies an individual with a disability to help with communications, personal care or medical needs or with access to services.

A) Customer Service Standards

EF is committed to providing Customer Service practices and procedures in accordance with the four principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to:

  • Protect the dignity of a person with a disability
  • Provide independence to a person with a disability when accessing the services provided by EF
  • Provide integrated services that allow people with disabilities to fully benefit from services provided by EF
  • Provide equal opportunity to have services, options and benefits as are offered to all others at EF

EF makes the following specific commitments:

  1. Assistive Devices: EF will ensure that all staff and volunteers dealing with the public are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by people with disabilities while interacting with EF.
  2. Telephone and electronic Services: EF is committed to providing fully accessible telephone and electronic (email) service to stakeholders.  Staff and volunteers will offer to communicate with stakeholders by email if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is unavailable. 
  3. Tax Receipts: EF is committed to providing accessible tax receipts to donors. Tax receipts will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy or e-mailed soft copy. 
  4. Service Animals and Support Persons: EF is committed to welcoming and providing services to people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person on the premises. 
  5. Notice of Temporary Service Disruption: EF will provide stakeholders with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.  This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption and its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
  6. Feedback System: Feedback regarding the way EF provides services to people with disabilities can be provided in person, by telephone, by mail and e-mail using the contact information at the end of this policy.

EF welcomes feedback and/or complaints on the handling of this policy.  Upon receipt of complaints, EF will investigate the matter and will provide a response within five business days.

B) Information and Communications Standards

EF is committed to the information and communication standards under the AODA.

1. Communication: Upon request, EF shall inform its stakeholders of the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.  EF shall consult with the person making the request and provide, in a timely manner, accessible formats and communication support considering the person’s disability. Where information or communications cannot be provided in an accessible format or with communication supports, EF will provide an explanation.

2. Accessible Websites and Web Content: Websites and web content controlled directly by EF will conform to the AODA legislative requirements.

3. Emergency Procedures, Plans, and Information: EF will provide in a timely manner, upon request, any existing public emergency procedures, plans and public safety information relating to its premises in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports.

C) Employment Standards Under the AODA

EF is committed to the employment standards under the AODA. 

  1. New Staff Recruitment: In its staff recruitment process, EF shall post information about the availability of accommodation for job applicants with disabilities. When the applicant requests accommodation, EF shall consult with the applicant to arrange for accommodation in a manner considering the applicant’s disability.
  2. Employee Supports: EF will inform its current and new employees of the policies and processes used to identify and support employees with disabilities, 
  3. Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees: Upon request, EF will consult with an employee to provide and/or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication support for information that is needed to perform the employee’s job.
  4. Workplace Emergency Response Information: Individual workplace emergency response procedures will be provided to an employee with a disability where necessary.  It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that EF is aware of his/her needs so that the emergency plans can take into consideration appropriate support to the individual with a disability.
  5. Performance Management and Career Development and Redeployment: EF shall consider the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities when providing career development, performance management, and when considering redeployment.

D) Design of Public Spaces

Where applicable, EF will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when undertaking any new construction and redevelopment of public spaces.

Modification to this or other policies

EF is committed to developing accessibility policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.  No changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Policies are maintained and updated regularly to reflect legislative changes.

If an employee has a question about the policies under the AODA, please contact the HR team.

Questions can be directed to [email protected].

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