Accessibility Policy

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the regulation establishes accessibility standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and physical environments.  World Education Services (WES) is committed to working towards being compliant with all the standards that apply to WES under the AODA.

This Policy and Procedure is to provide a framework within which accessibility plans and initiatives are to be created in order to move the organization towards the goal of improved accessibility for people with disabilities.

Sections within this Policy

Relevant policy: Accessible Customer Service Policy

Commitment

WES is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. 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 AODA.

Scope / Application

This policy applies to all WES employees, job applicants, Board members, clients, or any persons who deal with customers and the public on behalf of WES.

Definitions

Disability: Ontario Human Rights Code defines disability as follows

  • 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, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • 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.

AODA Standards: The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act has mandated accessibility standards to remove barriers in important areas of everyday living for persons with disabilities. The vision behind the act is to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities by 2025.

Accessible Formats: (include, but are not limited to)

  • accessible electronic formats
  • recorded audio
  • text transcripts
  • braille
  • easy read
  • large print

Assistive Device: Any device that persons bring with them such as white canes, walkers, vision aids such as binocular or monocular, magnifiers or oxygen tanks, or hearing aids. Assistive devices also includes Assistive Communication Devices such as communication aids or software like test readers, amplifiers, screen magnifiers and voice boxes.

Employee: An individual employed by WES, including students, casual employees, or intern.

Barrier: Anything that prevents a person with disabilities from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including physical, architectural, information, communications, attitudinal, technological and/or economic barriers. This may also include barriers created by organizational policies and procedures.

Communication Supports: Include but are not limited to sign language, plain language and other communication supports that facilitate effective communications.

Service Animal: An animal is qualified to be a service animal if it is readily apparent the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability, or the person provides a letter from physician or nurse confirming the use of the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

Roles and Responsibilities

Management (Managers, immediate supervisors and department heads)

Are responsible for

  • ensuring that all employees follow the guidelines set out in this policy
  • ensuring all employees are trained under the AODA regulations, the Human Rights Code and all related policies, practices and procedures
  • exploring and providing accommodations for employees with disabilities as set out under Section 7 d) of this policy

All employees, volunteers, contractors and subcontractors, any other person acting on behalf of WES are responsible for adhering to and following the commitments set out in this policy.

Training

WES will provide training to all staff, and any persons working on behalf of WES on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities.

Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees and other staff members and records of training will be maintained.

Information and Communications

Website

WES will conform to World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as outlined in the Information and Communications Standard for revamped or newly created websites.

Accessible Emergency Information

WES is committed to providing customers with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request.

If or when the organization experiences a temporary disruption of service or access to facilities that people with disabilities may rely on, notices will be posted in reasonable places and will include the following:

  • the reason for the disruption;
  • the expected duration of the disruption; and
  • suggested alternatives that may be available to persons with disabilities.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

WES is committed to meeting alternative format requests in a timely fashion that responds appropriately to any situation.

WES will provide or make arrangements for accessible formats and information and communication supports when a customer or person with disabilities requests them.

Feedback Process

WES welcomes feedback about how accessible our customer service approaches are and how our steps to comply with AODA meet the needs of people living with various types of disabilities.

Feedback can be provided by telephone, mail or electronic means according to the information set out below:

Shireen Sookdeo, Human Resources
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON N5V1J3
437-888-1105
hrcan@wes.org

If customers with disabilities would prefer use an alternate method other than what’s listed to give their feedback, and receive a response to it, they may request it.

WES will take the following steps to ensure existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities upon request.

  • Communicate clearly on our website how to provide feedback
  • Post methods for providing feedback on the display board in the office
  • Staff will inform all new clients verbally methods for providing feedback

If a person would like to register a complaint about WES’ accessibility to persons with disabilities, we request that the complaint be made in writing (by e-mail or letter) wherever possible.

Employment

Recruitment, Assessment and Selection Process

WES is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the same opportunity of access to employment opportunities as all prospective employees and employees. The company will ensure that in its recruitment practices the public is made aware that it will provide accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment, assessment and selection processes.

During the job selection process we will make applicants aware that, upon request, they have access to accommodation in relation to materials and processes that will be used for applicant selection and that take into account their accessibility needs due to a disability.

When WES makes an offer of employment we will notify the successful applicant of our policy of accommodating employees with disabilities.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees

Where an employee with a disability so requests we will consult with the employee to provide or arrange for accessible formats and communication supports in relation to information that is generally available to employees and that the employee needs to perform his/her job.

Workplace Emergency Response Information

WES will ensure that individualized workplace emergency response information is provided to employees who have a disability, provided that the disability is such that individualized information is necessary and WES has been made aware of the need for accommodation due to disability.

If an employee who has a workplace emergency plan requires assistance, WES will, with the consent of the employee, provide such information to the person designated to provide assistance to the employee.

WES will review individualized workplace emergency response information when:

  • The employee moves to a different location in WES
  • The employee’s accommodation needs or plans are reviewed
  • When the site where the employee is working reviews its general emergency response procedures

Individual Accommodation Plans

WES is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities.  When an employee with a disability requests an accommodation, the following process will be followed.

Process:

  • An employee may submit requests for accommodation to their direct manager
  • The employee will be required to provide sufficient medical documentation to support the need for accommodation
  • Based on the specific request and the essential duties of the job, the manager will develop an Individual Accommodation Plan in consultation with HR, the employee, and his/her health care provider(s)
  • The company can request an evaluation by a medical professional or other expert in determining if and how accommodation can be achieved
  • Accommodation plans may be requested for ongoing disabilities, or where the disability is temporary, such as a Return to Work Program for employees returning from a health related leave.
  • Steps will be taken to protect the privacy of personal and medical information
  • WES will ensure that the individual accommodation plan is provided in a format that takes into account the employee’s accessibility needs due to the disability
  • The accommodation plan will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis
  • If the accommodation is no longer appropriate, the employee and the manager will work together to gather relevant information and reassess the employee’s needs in order for the employer to find the best accommodation measure

Return to Work Process

For those employees returning to work following a disability leave who require temporary accommodations, a return to work plan will be developed and documented in consultation with the employee and based on the recommendations provided by the employee’s healthcare provider.

Performance Management Process

In administering performance management processes with respect to employees with disabilities WES will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans.

Career Development and Advancement

WES will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans.

Redeployment

WES will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans during the redeployment