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Accessibility Policy

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) establishes accessibility standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the design of public spaces. World Education Services (WES) is committed to working toward being in compliance with the standards that apply to WES under the AODA.

This policy provides a framework within which WES can develop accessibility plans and initiatives that pursue the organization’s goal of improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

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 equality of opportunity. We are committed to meeting in a timely manner the needs of people with disabilities, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the AODA.

Scope and Application

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

Definitions

Disability: Ontario’s Human Rights Code defines disability as follows:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes epilepsy, brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, muteness or speech impairment, or reliance on a guide dog or other service animal or on a wheelchair or other assistive appliance or device
  • A condition of mental impairment or 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
  • 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 AODA has mandated accessibility standards to remove barriers in important areas of everyday living on behalf of people with disabilities. The goal of the act is to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities by 2025. Accessible Formats include the following:

  • accessible electronic formats
  • recorded audio
  • text transcripts
  • cell phone texting
  • plain language
  • large print
  • accessible websites
  • braille

Assistive device: Any device that people bring with them such as white canes, walkers, vision aids such as binoculars or monocular, magnifiers, oxygen tanks, or hearing aids. Assistive devices also include assistive communication devices such as communication aids or software like test readers, amplifiers, screen magnifiers, and voice boxes.

Employee: An individual person employed by WES; employees include students, casual employees, and interns who work for WES.

Barrier: Anything that prevents a person with disabilities from fully participating in all aspects of society because of the person’s disability, including barriers that are physical, architectural, attitudinal, technological, or economic; that have to do with information or communications; and that have been created by organizational policies or procedures.

Communication supports: Sign language, plain language, and other communication supports that facilitate effective communication.

Service animal: An animal is qualified to be a service animal if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons related to the person’s disability, or the person provides a letter from a regulated health professional confirming the use of the animal for reasons related to the disability. The nature of the disability does not need to be disclosed.

Roles and Responsibilities

Management (managers, immediate supervisors, and department heads) is responsible for ensuring that:

  • All employees follow the guidelines articulated in this policy
  • All employees are trained under AODA regulations, the Human Rights Code, and all policies, practices, and procedures as they relate to a person’s specific job
  • Accommodations are provided for employees with disabilities articulated under Section 7d) of this policy

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

Training

WES will provide training in Ontario’s accessibility laws and Human Rights Code as they relate to people with disabilities. This training will be provided to all staff and any persons working on behalf of WES.
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. Accessibility will be incorporated into all emergency planning.

If or when the organization experiences a temporary disruption of service, or access to facilities that people with disabilities may rely on has been suspended, notices will be posted in reasonable places (such as wes.org) and will include the following:

  • The reason for the disruption
  • The expected duration of the disruption
  • 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.

When a person requests an alternative format, WES will consult with the individual to determine a format that is appropriate. The decision on what format to provide ultimately rests with WES.

Feedback Process

WES welcomes feedback on its customer service accessibility and how its steps to comply with AODA meet the needs of people living with various types of disabilities.

Feedback can be provided to Human Resources via the WES website by filling out the feedback form or by mail or email to the address below:

World Education Services
Human Resources
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M5B 1J3
[email protected]  

If customers with disabilities would prefer to provide their feedback using another method and receive a response, they may request it.

To register a complaint about the organization’s accessibility to persons with disabilities, please submit the complaint in writing (by email or letter) if possible.

Upon receipt of a written complaint, WES will follow up directly with the complainant within five (5) business days and work to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

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 other prospective employees. The company will ensure that in its recruitment practices the public is made aware that it will provide appropriate accommodations 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 accommodations 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 who have disabilities.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees

At the request of an employee with a disability, 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 disabled employee needs to perform the 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 disabled employee’s need for the accommodation.

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
  • The site where the employee is working reviews its general emergency response procedures
  • Emergency preparedness plans are being developed for employees with disabilities

Individual Accommodation Plans

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

  • An employee may submit requests for accommodations to their direct manager.
  • The employee will be required to provide sufficient medical documentation to support the need for accommodations, such as a functional capacity evaluation. A functional capacity evaluation is limited to recommendations on what accommodations the employee requires to fulfill the essential duties of the employee’s job. Employees seeking accommodations are expected to fully cooperate by providing any information or medical assessments relevant to the determination of the accommodations request.
  • The specific request and the essential duties of the job will determine how the manager will assess and develop an accommodation plan in consultation with HR, the employee, and the employee’s health care provider(s).
  • WES further reserves the right to require the employee to participate in a formal needs assessment by a qualified medical practitioner or other expert to help determine if and how accommodations can be provided. The costs of any assessment required by WES will be covered by WES.
  • Employees may request accommodation plans if they have a permanent disability or if their disability is temporary; for example, the return to work program for employees returning from a medical leave.
  • The privacy of the individual requesting the accommodation will be protected. Private information will be disclosed only to those necessary in the assessment and development of the accommodation.
  • Accommodations may include flexible scheduling, time off for medical appointments, the provision of alternative formats, technology adaptations, rest areas, and modified job duties.
  • WES will ensure that the individual accommodation plan is provided in a format that takes into account the employee’s accessibility needs.
  • The accommodation plan will be reviewed and updated as required, and is portable if the employee moves to a different location or position.
  • If the accommodation is no longer appropriate, the employee and the manager will work together to obtain relevant information and reassess the employee’s needs in order for WES to determine the most suitable 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 health care 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 process.

Created: January 2017
Revised: June 2021