SECTION: GENERAL ADMINISTRATION, BUSINESS PRACTICES
INDEX NO.: 102-004
TITLE: Accessibility Standards
POSTED/PUBLISHED: March 1, 2010
EFFECTIVE DATE: March 1, 2010
In 2005, the
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was established, and ministries, public bodies and the private sector must comply with its requirements by 2025. In addition, a supporting regulation (Integrated Accessibility Standards) was developed that contains accessibility standards in the following areas:
Under the AODA, the Education Quality and Accountability Office is considered a large designated public sector organization with more than 50 employees. The agency must remain compliant with three of the five standards: customer service, information and communications, and employment.
any person who uses the goods and services of the agency, such as educators, students, parents and guardians, educational stakeholders, the public and EQAO staff
EQAO is committed to providing students, parents and guardians, the public and our staff with services that are free of barriers and biases. The agency strives to ensure that it offers support and resources that reflect the key principles of independence, dignity, respect, integration and equality of opportunity. EQAO’s conduct demonstrates its belief in the strength diversity brings to communities.
This protocol sets out the practices and procedures that guide EQAO’s accessibility business practices and is attentive to protecting personal information in compliance with theFreedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
Customer: any person who uses the goods and services of the agency, such as educators, students, parents and guardians, educational stakeholders, the public and EQAO staff
Assistive Device: any device used by people with disabilities to help with daily living, such as wheelchairs, walkers, white canes, oxygen tanks and electronic communication devices
Service Animal: an animal that is being used because of a person’s disability (this animal may be either present or required according to a letter from a medical practitioner)
Support Person: a person who assists or interprets for a person with a disability
Accommodation: the prevention or removal, through reasonable efforts, of barriers that impede individuals with disabilities
EQAO is committed to providing exceptional and accessible service to its customers. Goods and services will be provided in a manner that takes disabilities into account, that respects the dignity and independence of all customers and that integrates accessibility into the agency’s business practices wherever possible. These business practices include, but are not limited to, reporting of data and information, procurement and the development of policy, protocol, new systems and services. Persons with disabilities will be given equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from the goods and services provided by or on behalf of EQAO.
EQAO is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. When asked, the agency 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 emergency and safety information.
EQAO will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.
EQAO is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. The agency will notify the public and staff that, when requested, it will accommodate disabilities during the recruitment, assessment and hiring processes.
If needed, EQAO will create an individual accommodation plan or workplace emergency information for any employees who have a disability. The performance management, career development, redeployment and return-to-work processes will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.
The agency will ensure that staff members are aware of assistive devices or equipment for customers available on EQAO premises and any other equipment that may be used or acquired. When possible, EQAO will allow customers to use their own assistive device to access the agency’s goods and services.
EQAO will ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate a person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal in their care and control.
EQAO will ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person. EQAO will enable the support person to participate in public events or individual meetings at the discretion or choice of the person with the disability. Any costs associated with admission to an event applicable to the support person will be communicated through public notice in advance.
Any potential disruptions to EQAO-related activities that could affect persons with disabilities will be communicated in a notice. The notice will include the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services, if any.
Notice of temporary service disruptions will be posted in a conspicuous place at the physical location of the service disruption.
EQAO will ensure that staff members who provide customer service receive training as required by the
Integrated Accessibility Standards. Training will be provided as soon as practical once an individual has been retained by the agency or if there is a change to the agency’s procedures and practices governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities. The training will include
Feedback about the delivery of goods and services to persons with disabilities may be given by telephone, in person, in writing, in an electronic format or through other methods.
Feedback received by the agency’s call centre will be logged, investigated and reported through EQAO’s internal reporting process. Staff will respond immediately to all queries relating to accessibility concerns.
EQAO will provide public notice regarding the availability of documentation to persons with disabilities, as required by the
Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. All documents required by the
Integrated Accessibility Standards, including EQAO’s Accessibility Standards protocol, notices of temporary disruptions, training records and written feedback process, will be made available upon request subject to the
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
EQAO will provide documents or the information in them to persons with disabilities in a format they can use. The preparation of an alternative format may result in delays in providing the requested information.
For more information on this policy, please contact Kirsten Mason.
Phone: 416-325-6516Email: Kirsten.Mason@eqao.com
Accessible formats of this document are available free upon request.