Accessibility

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

On June 13, 2005, the government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
The goal of the act is to make Ontario accessible by 2025.  To achieve this, Ontario has developed
standards for accessibility in the following areas:

Woodstock and District Developmental Services is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Woodstock and District Developmental Services is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) Policy

Information and Communication Standard
WDDS is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. When asked, we will provide information and communications materials in accessible formats or with communication supports. This includes publicly available information about our goods, services and facilities, as well as publicly available emergency and safety information.  WDDS will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.  We will ensure existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities upon request.  The website and content conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A and AA.

Employment Standard
WDDS is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.  We will notify employees and the public that, when requested, we will accommodate disabilities during recruitment and assessment processes and when people are hired. If needed, we will create an individual accommodation plan and/or workplace emergency information for any employees who have a disability. Our performance management, career development, redeployment, and return-to-work processes will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.

Public Transportation Standard
The Accessibility Standard for Transportation was established to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel in Ontario.  This standard is sector specific so it relates specifically to modes of transportation that fall under the jurisdiction of the local government.  It applies to specific transportation services e.g. public transit services, ferries, public school boards etc.

Design of Public Spaces Standard (Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment)
WDDS is committed to breaking down barriers in public space and removing barriers to access in public spaces.  WDDS will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications/renovations to public spaces. Not all public spaces apply to WDDS but may include:

– Service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas

– Outdoor paths of travel, like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals

– Accessible off street parking

– Recreational trails/beach access routes

– Outdoor public eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas

– Outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds in provincial parks and local communities

– In the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the service disruption and alternatives available.

Customer Service Standard
The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 became law on January 1, 2008 and effective by January 1, 2012.  It was consolidated into a single regulation called the Integrated Accessibility Standards, O. Reg 191/11 which replaces the previous Customer Standard.

Training
WDDS is committed to training employees, students and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility laws regarding the Customer Service Standard and on accessibility aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code that apply to persons with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, students and volunteers.

Modifications to this or other policies
Any of our policies that do not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Accessible formats of this document are available free upon request.

1. Mission
To provide opportunities and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities to live full lives within the community.

 2. Commitment
In fulfilling our mission, WDDS strives at all times to provide its supports and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our supports and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as others do.

 3. Providing supports and services to people with disabilities
WDDS is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

 3.1 Communication
WDDS will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

Staff, volunteers and students will communicate in means which enable people with disabilities to communicate effectively for purposes of using, receiving and requesting WDDS’ supports, services and facilities.  WDDS will train staff, volunteers and students on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

 3.2 Telephone services
We are committed to providing a fully accessible telephone service to our customers. We will train staff, volunteers and students to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.  We will offer to communicate with customers by other means of communication eg. email/in person if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.

3.3 Assistive devices
We are committed to supporting people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our supports and services. We will ensure that our staff, volunteers and students are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our supports or services.

3.4 Billing
We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our customers. For this reason, invoices will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy, fax and email. We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or e-mail.

4. Use of service animals and support persons

Service Animals
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties.  On rare occasions, management may determine that a service animal cannot enter an area of the premises consistent with other laws.  In these instances, management will suggest appropriate alternatives and provide assistance.  We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

Support Persons
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Prior to making a determination that a person with a disability requires a support person to protect the health and safety of the person with a disability and others on the premises, Management must first consult with the person with the disability.  Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter WDDS’ premises with his or her support person.  At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.  No fees will be charged for a support person for admission to WDDS’ premises and/or supports/services provided by WDDS.

5. Notice of temporary disruption
WDDS will provide customers 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, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.  The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises in accessible formats.

6. Training for staff
WDDS is committed to increasing the accessibility for persons with disabilities. As part of this commitment, WDDS will provide access to e-training to all employees, students and volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.  Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the IASRCustomer Service Standard.
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing WDDS’ supports and services
  • WDDS’ policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard

 Employees, students and volunteers will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.

Below you will find the link to the e-training video (Ctrl + Click to follow the link). This will provide you with the training which is required under the IASR Customer Service Standard.  “How Can I Help You?” is an Accessible Customer Service Training Video produced by the Ministry of Community and Social Services of Ontario for training Staff, Students and Volunteers. The video will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bARpvRDwiGc or

https://youtube/bARpvRDwiGc

7. Feedback process
We would appreciate your feedback if you have any issues, comments and ideas you want to share with us in regards to how we provide accessible service.

You can do this by coming into our main office at 212 Bysham Park Drive, Woodstock or by contacting us by telephone at 519-539-7447 or through email info@wdds.ca. If a method is not suitable, customers may request another method.  Privacy will be respected and all feedback will be reviewed for possible action that can be taken to improve WDDS’ services.

Where possible, complaints will be addressed immediately. However, some complaints may require more effort to address, and must be reviewed for action, possibly at a higher level.  Customers can expect an acknowledgement of verbal/telephone feedback within five (5) business days.  If a response is expected to take longer, an interim acknowledgement will be sent to the customer indicating when the matter will be addressed and when the customer will be notified.  Upon request,feedback/ response will be in a format that is accessible to the complainant.

8. Modifications to this or other policies
We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.  Any policy of WDDS that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

9. Questions about this policy
This policy exists 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 please contact the Chief Executive Officer at 519-539-7447 ext 223 or info@wdds.ca.

The Accessibility Standard for Employment applies to all employers with at least one (1) employee. The objective of this standard is to ensure that employers have equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities through recruitment, retention and accommodation in their workplace.

As an employer, WDDS has over two hundred employees and is committed to creating an accessible association by removing barriers for people with disabilities.

WDDS will accomplish this through the following:

– Advise employees, potential hires and the public that accommodations can be made during the recruitment, assessment and selection process for people with disabilities.

– Advising staff of policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.

– By ensuring that HR practices accommodate the accessibility needs of employees.

– By creating a written process for developing/documenting individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

– Having a written return to work process in place for employees who have been absent due to a disability.

– By ensuring employees with disabilities are safe during an emergency by providing them with individualized emergency response information, upon request/when identified.

WDDS is committed to providing accessible format and communication supports to people with disabilities. This includes publicly available information about our goods, services and facilities, as well as publicly available emergency and safety information.  Upon request WDDS will provide information and communications materials in accessible formats or with communication supports.  If a request is received the following will occur:
– Consultation with the person to determine their information and communication needs
– Determine if it is possible to provide it in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports
– Respond in a timely manner

Types of Alternative Formats and Communication Supports:

– Reading written information to a person directly

– Large print

– Text transcripts of audio or visual information

– Handwritten notes instead of spoken word

– Information written in plain language

– An electronic document formatted to be accessible for use with a screen reader

Feedback
WDDS will ensure existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities upon request.

Website
The website and content conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A and AA.  This will ensure that the web content is more accessible to people with disabilities.

Self Service Kiosks
WDDS shall have regard for people with disabilities when procuring self-service kiosks.  WDDS will consider what accessibility features are required for self-service kiosks to best meet the needs of their stakeholders.

The Accessibility Standard for Transportation was established to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel in Ontario.  This standard is sector specific so it relates specifically to modes of transportation that fall under the jurisdiction of the local government.  It applies to specific transportation services eg. public transit, ferries, public school boards etc. For more information on this standard, please visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ website.

Design of Public Spaces
WDDS will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to public spaces. Public spaces including:
• Service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas
• Outdoor paths of travel, like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, curb ramps, rest areas and accessible pedestrian signals
• Accessible off street parking
• Recreational trails/beach access routes
• Outdoor public eating areas like rest stops or picnic areas
• Outdoor play spaces, like playgrounds in provincial parks and local communities
In the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the service disruption and alternatives available.

For more information on this standard, please follow this link to the Ministry’s site.

Ontario Human Rights

The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

WDDS is committed to upholding the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the following grounds:

– Age
– Ancestry, colour, race
– Citizenship
– Ethnic origin
– Place of origin
– Creed
– Disability
– Family status
– Marital status (including single status)
– Gender identity, gender expression
– Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
– Record of offences (in employment only)
– Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
– Sexual orientation

The Ontario Human Rights Commission partnered with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to create the training “Working together: the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).”

The AODA requires every employer, employee, student and volunteer in Ontario to take training on the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights.

This e-learning video is for the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and completes the training requirements for section 7 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards of the AODA.

The video has been divided into 5 parts, and takes about 20 minutes to view. Link to the training: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/working-together-code-and-aoda

Building an Inclusive and Accessible Community

On June 13, 2005, the government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 which places a legal obligation on organizations to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities on or before January 1, 2025.  It has introduced a phased-in approach to the implementation of the standards.  WDDS is committed to conforming to all aspects of the Act and ensuring the provision of accessibility through their services and employment.

Compliance with this Act aligns with WDDS’ Strategic Plan, as well as their Mision and Value Statements through their Vision in creating a “community where everybody belongs.” Click on the following link for WDDS values:  WDDS Values

Part of ensuring compliance with the AODA is utilizing a Multi Year Plan.  Please click on the link below to view:
WDDS’Multi Year Plan

These Standards do not replace requirements established under the Ontario Human Rights Code to
accommodate persons with disabilities to the point of undue hardship or limit obligations under
other legislation.

WDDS will develop policies and provide the links for e-training to be compliant with the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To read the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
go to the website:

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