Accessibility Achievement Policy

 


 

Introduction

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) develops, implements and enforces accessibility standards so that goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Under the AODA, Ontario Regulation 191/11, entitled, "Integrated Accessibility Standards" (Regulation), came into force on July 1, 2011. The Regulation establishes accessibility standards for information and communication, employment and transportation. The Office of the Auditor General (Office), included in the Regulation's definition of an "obligated organization," must comply with the phased-in requirements of the Regulation beginning January 1, 2012.

 

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Purpose

This policy has been drafted in accordance with the Regulation and addresses how the Office of the Auditor General achieves or will achieve accessibility through meeting the Regulation's requirements. It provides the overall strategic direction that the Office will follow to provide accessibility supports to Ontarians with disabilities.

The requirements of the Regulation include:

  • the establishment, implementation, maintenance and documentation of a multi-year accessibility plan that outlines the organization's strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet its requirements under the Regulation;
  • the incorporation of accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities;
  • training; and
  • other specific requirements under the Information and Communication Standards and Employment Standards.

This policy is available in an alternative format upon request.

 

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Principles

The Office is guided by the core principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity, as described in the AODA and the standards mandated by the AODA.

The Office recognizes the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario and the fundamental importance of developing, implementing and enforcing standards in a timely manner to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities.

 

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Definitions

Accessible formats may include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, Braille, and other formats used by persons with disabilities.

Accommodation means the special arrangements made or assistance provided so that persons with disabilities can participate in the experiences available to persons without disabilities. Accommodation will vary depending on the person's unique needs.

Communication supports may include, but are not limited to, captioning, plain language, sign language and other supports that facilitate effective communications.

Communications means the interaction between two or more persons or entities, or any combination of them, where information is provided, sent, or received.

Information includes data, facts and knowledge that exist in any format, including text, audio, digital or images, and that convey meaning.

 

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Statement of Organizational Commitment

The Office is committed to the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity described in the AODA and to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner through the implementation of this policy.

 

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Requirements

General Requirements

Multi-year Accessibility Plan

The Office's Multi-year Accessibility Plan (Plan) outlines a phased-in strategy to prevent and remove barriers and address the current and future requirements of the AODA. The Plan is posted on the website and will be provided in alternative formats upon request.

The Office will report annually on the progress and implementation of the Plan, posting this information on the website and providing it in alternative formats upon request.

The Plan will be reviewed and updated at least once every five years.

Procuring or Acquiring Goods, Services, or Facilities

The Office will use accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where it is not practical to do so (in which case, if requested to do so, the Office will provide an explanation). For example, the Office will ensure that any facilities it procures for off-site training are accessible to employees with disabilities, unless it is not practical to do so (and the Office will explain its actions if requested).

Training

The Office will ensure that, by January 1, 2013, training is provided to all employees and regular fee-for-service staff on the requirements of the accessibility standards referred to in the Regulation and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities. The training will be appropriate to the recipients' duties. It will be provided as soon as is practical. Further training will be provided on any changes that may be made to this policy or the requirements.

The Office will maintain a record of the dates when training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it was provided.

 

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Requirements Under Information and Communication Standards

Emergency Procedures, Plans or Public Safety Information

The Office will, in co-operation with building management, prepare special emergency procedures and plans whenever it is made aware of any requirements in this regard.

Accessible Websites and Web Content

The Office's Internet and Intranet websites and the web content on those sites will conform to Level AA of version 2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by January 1, 2016, as required by the Regulation. The Office anticipates meeting this requirement at an earlier date, as stated in its Multi-year Accessibility Plan.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

The Office will create Accessible Communication Standards that ensure the following:

  • Upon request, the Office provides or arranges for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities.
  • The Office does so in a timely manner that takes into account the person's accessibility needs.
  • If there is a cost, the Office does not charge more for such formats and supports than it charges other persons.
  • The Office consults the person as to what would be a suitable alternative format or communication support.
  • The Office puts a statement on the website about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.

The Office will create the Standards by January 1, 2014, as required by the Regulation. The Office anticipates meeting this requirement at an earlier date, as stated in its Multi-year Accessibility Plan.

 

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Requirements Under Employment Standards

Workplace Emergency Response Information

If the Office is aware of an employee's need for accommodation due to disability, and if the disability makes it necessary for the employee to have individualized workplace emergency response information, the Office provides this information. It does so as soon as is practical once it becomes aware of the need for accommodation.

If the employee requires assistance and provides consent, the Office will provide the information to a person it designates to assist the employee.

The Office will review the information when the employee's overall accommodation needs or plan are established and when it reviews its overall emergency response policies.

Recruitment

By January 1, 2013, the Office will have developed new or amended existing human resource policies and procedures to ensure the following:

  • The Office notifies its employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment process.
  • The Office notifies job applicants whom it contacts for an interview or testing that they can request accommodations with respect to the materials or processes used. If the applicant requests an accommodation, the Office consults him or her as to what a suitable accommodation would be.
  • The Office informs individuals to whom it offers employment of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.

Informing Employees of Supports

By January 1, 2013, the Office will have developed new or amended existing human resource policies and procedures to ensure the following:

  • The Office informs its employees of its policies for supporting its employees with disabilities. The policies include, but are not limited to, policies on job accommodations that take into account the employee's accessibility needs.
  • It informs new employees as soon as it is practical after they begin their employment.
  • It informs all employees of changes to existing policies or requirements.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees

In addition to creating Accessible Communication Standards by January 1, 2014 (see Requirements Under the Information and Communication Standards), the Office will have developed new or amended existing human resource policies and procedures by January 1, 2013, to ensure the following:

  • The Office provides accessible formats and communication supports to any employee who requests them that specifically relate to information the employee needs to perform his or her job as well as to information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.
  • The Office consults the employee making the request as to what would be a suitable accessible format or communication support.

Documented Individualized Plans

By January 1, 2013, the Office will have developed new or amended existing human resource policies and procedures to ensure the following:

  • The Office provides an individualized accommodation plan in writing for any employee with a disability.
  • The Office provides an individualized return-to-work plan in writing for any employee who has been absent from work due to a disability and requires disability-related accommodations to return to work.

Performance Assessment, Career Development and Advancement, and Redeployment

By January 1, 2013, the Office will ensure that its procedures take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities and their individual accommodation plans:

  • when assessing their performance;
  • in managing their career development and advancement; and
  • when redeploying them.

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