ACCESSIBILITY POLICY STATEMENT
Several laws have existed in Ontario since the 1980s to address “accessibility” for disabled individuals.. Despite this, accessibility remains limited, with disabled persons not having equal access to many of Ontario’s “goods and services”. The Ontario Government enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005, setting out a framework by which all organizations (business and non-profit) will work towards makingOntario fully accessible to all Ontarians by 2025. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same kinds of opportunities to participate inOntario society, as people without disabilities. This law was developed to :
- Provide a greater understanding of the barriers that people with disabilities face
- Identify, remove and prevent such barriers
- Promote a more inclusive society in Ontario
As such, the Province has created and will enforce certain mandatory “accessibility standards” that businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to people in Ontario have to meet.
These standards reference the full range of disabilities, including physical, sensory, health, mental health, developmental, medical, learning, or injury, which may or may not require an assistive device or service animal. Standards have been developed in three areas:
- Customer Service Standards
- Integrated Accessibility Standards covering:
- Information & Communication, Transportation and Employment
Standards will be developed in the future for Building Environments.
Standards in each area are unique and legislated “Regulations” specify the elements that organizations must comply with in order to make goods and services equally accessible to those with and without disabilities.
Sunbeam Centre, and all of its satellite Departments, are committed to ensuring that its services and supports to individuals, and access to such services; their environments; their employment practices; and their information/communication strategies follow legislative requirements. This commitment is supported by an organizational Strategic Plan and Policies and Procedures. These formal documents include organizational Vision and Mission Statements, Core Values and Service Principles which collectively recognize the dignity, independence, equality of opportunity, and right to integration into the community, of all citizens who approach us.
A Multi-Year Accessibility Plan has been developed to identify timelines for the creation/implementation of Provincial Standards, and Sunbeam Policies and Practices, regarding the Customer Service, Integrated, and any other such legislated Accessibility Regulations that might be created.
Excerpted from SRDC-AD-ge-109
STATEMENT OF CUSTOMER SERVICE – ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS
In concert with our MISSION, Sunbeam Centre strives, at all times, to provides goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with all disabilities.
- We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.
- We are committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities, and demonstrate that commitment in the following areas and manner:
- We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability
- We will communicate via a variety of media, e.g., in person, by telephone, by Email, by letter, to accommodate the individual’s disability.
- We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various disabilities, using a variety of media, in clear and plain language.
- Where we provide goods and services that we charge a fee for, e.g., respite, we will provide “accessible” invoices, upon request, in formats that take into account a person’s disability, e.g., hard copy, large print, Email.
- We recognize that people with disabilities may require assistive devices to learn about, obtain, or benefit from our services.
- We will ensure that our staff are familiar with and know how to use a variety of assistive devices that may be used by people while accessing our goods and services. We will have or obtain devices such as: wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, braces, grab bars, commodes, and lifts, or otherwise, available at our services delivery sites, for individuals’ use.
Use of Service Animals and Support Persons
- We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal into those parts of our physical environments that are open to the general public or certain other areas, so long as it is not otherwise excluded by law, and the health and well being of other disabled individuals that might be present in those environments, is not compromised by the presence of the service animal.
- We will train our staff, volunteers and others who deal with customers, in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
- We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person into our physical environments. While in our environments, the person will not be prevented from having access to his/her support person.
- No admission fee is charged, in general, to a support person who accompanies a disabled individual into our environments. If we charge a fee for attending an event, no such fee will be charged for the support person, except that if we charge a fee and we require the support person to also pay the fee, a notice to this effect will be communicated to the customer, including the posting of such notice in relevant environments.
Notice of Temporary Disruption
- We 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 the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternate facilities or services, if available. The notice may be written; and placed at public entrances to our premises or provided to customers by hard copy or Email; or may be verbal, and conveyed in person, or by telephone.
Training of Staff
- We will, at staff Orientation, provide training: to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public in the provision of goods and services; and to Sunbeam staff who write, monitor or enforce policies and practices re: provision of goods and services; in A.O.D.A., its Regulations, and in Sunbeam’s Customer Service Standards, Policies and Procedures.
More specifically, this training will include:
- Purpose of A.O.D.A., its Customer Service standards, and organization customer service policies & procedures;
- Interacting/communicating with people with a variety of disabilities; and any assistive devices, service animals or support persons they may use;
- Use of equipment and assistive devices employed by the organization;
- How to assist an individual having difficulties accessing Sunbeam goods and services.
Sunbeam Centre will provide ongoing training if/when policies and procedures are altered and will keep records of the training provided, including dates of same.
- We will meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Feedback, including complaints, regarding provision of our goods and services to people with disabilities and our Customer Service Standards may be made to the Executive Director, in person, by telephone or in writing (by letter or electronic means).
Customers can expect a response from the Executive Director, or delegate, within two business days of its arrival. Such response shall be communicated in person, by telephone, in writing (by letter or electronically) or otherwise, and in any case, will be in a format that takes into account the disability (if any) that the feedback provider has.
Excerpted from AD-ge-111