- Information and Communications Standards,
- Employment Standards and
- Customer Service Standards.
EQAO’s Commitment to Accessibility
- Dignity: The principle of respecting the dignity of people with disabilities means treating them as customers who are valued and deserving of service that is as timely and as high quality as the service any other customer receives. People with disabilities must not be treated as an afterthought or forced to accept lesser service, quality or convenience. The delivery of goods and services must take into account how people with disabilities can effectively access and use those goods and services.
- Independence: In some instances, independence means freedom from control or influence of others—in other words, the freedom to make one’s own choices. It can also mean freedom to do things one’s own way. In practice, this means that, for example, people who move or speak differently must not be denied the opportunity to participate in a program or service.
- Integration: The provision of goods or services must be integrated so that whether or not individuals have disabilities, they benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or a similar way. Integration means that policies, programs, services, practices and procedures are designed to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
- Equal opportunity: Equal opportunity means that people with disabilities have the same ability as others to obtain, use and benefit from goods or services. People with disabilities should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain services, and they should not have to accept lesser quality or more inconvenience than other customers.
- “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,”5
- the animal can be readily identified as one that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal; or
- the person provides documentation from one of the following regulated health professionals confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability:
- A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
- A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario. O. Reg. 165/16, s. 16.”6
- monitor accessibility updates to the AODA and IASR annually.
- review all EQAO policies, procedures and guidelines, always considering an accessibility lens, and, at a minimum, fulfilling AODA and IASR requirements.
- make the AODA and IASR regulations available in an accessible format upon request.
- update its Multi-Year Accessibility Plan every five years in accordance with the AODA.
Accessible Customer Service Practices
- 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, development of materials, access to assessments and assessment resources, reporting of data and information, procurement, and the development of policies, procedures or guidelines as well as 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..
- incorporate accessibility design, criteria and features into its procurement practices so that goods, services and facilities are more accessible to people with disabilities, unless it is not practicable to do so.
- include in procurement documents, where applicable, specific details about the desired accessibility criteria to be met, and provide guidelines for the evaluation of proposals in respect of those criteria.
- verify that any good or service procured for the agency fulfills accessibility requirements (in cases when the procured good or service has accessibility requirements).
- Note: It is the providers’ responsibility to ensure that the accessibility regulations, specifications and standards are met.
- incorporate accessibility criteria and features into the procurement or redesign of any space to be owned or leased by the organization, where applicable.
- in situations where it did not incorporate accessibility design, criteria and features, provide an explanation for this (when requested and in cases where it was not feasible).
- use the Government of Ontario online tool “Accessibility Rules for Procurement” to better guide procurement processes and practices.
Information and Communications
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 EQAO’s goods, services and facilities, as well as emergency and safety information.
- consult with people with disabilities to determine their informational 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 its recruitment, assessment and hiring processes.
- create an individual accommodation plan or provide workplace emergency response information for any employees who have a disability, if needed.
- include the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities in their performance management, career development, redeployment and return-to-work processes.
- inform employees (current and new) of the policies used to support its employees with disabilities, including, but not limited to, policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee’s accessibility needs due to disability.
- provide updated information to its employees whenever there is a change to existing policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee’s accessibility needs due to disability.
- consult with an employee with a disability who requests accommodation for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for information that is
- needed in order to perform the employee’s job.
- generally available to employees in the workplace.
Use of Assistive Devices
- ensure that staff members are aware of all accessibility devices that are available for customers on EQAO premises, such as assistive devices or equipment for customers and any other equipment that may be used or acquired.
- allow customers to use their own assistive device to access the agency’s goods and services, when possible.
Use of Service Animals
- ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate, to the maximum extent possible, a person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal in their care and control (e.g., in cases where other receivers of EQAO’s goods and/or services report allergies to animals, EQAO will find alternative accommodations to the maximum extent possible).
Use of Support Persons
- ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person.
- enable the support person to participate in public events or individual meetings at the discretion or choice of the person with the disability.
- make sure that any cost associated with admission to an event applicable to the support person will be communicated through public notice in advance.
Notice of Temporary Service Disruption
- 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 and/or in an appropriate digital manner (e.g., website notice).
- ensure that all staff complete their training as required by the IASR.
- provide training as soon as is practical once the agency has hired an individual 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
- a review of
- the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; and
- the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11;
- instructions on
- EQAO’s policies, procedures, guidelines and practices pertaining to the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities;
- how to interact and communicate appropriately with persons with various types of disabilities;
- what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing EQAO’s goods and/or services; and
- how to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or who require the assistance of a support person or service animal; and
- information about the equipment or devices available on EQAO’s premises that may help with the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities.
- a review of
- offer training sessions to all staff if there is a change to the agency’s procedures and practices governing the provision of goods or services to people with disabilities.
In serving customers with disabilities, EQAO’s goal is to meet and surpass expectations. Comments about how well the agency meets those expectations are welcome and appreciated.
- receive feedback about the delivery of goods and services to persons with disabilities by telephone, in person, in writing or in an electronic format including e-mail or any social media channel.
- log, investigate and report any accessibility-related feedback.
- respond immediately to all queries relating to accessibility concerns.
Notice of Availability and Format of Documents
- provide public notice regarding the availability of documentation to persons with disabilities, as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
- make available upon request (subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) all documents required by the IASR, including EQAO’s Accessibility Policy, notices of temporary disruptions, training records and written feedback process.
- provide documents or the information in them to persons with disabilities in a format they can use.
- Note: The need to prepare an alternative format may result in delays in providing the requested information.
1 Government of Ontario. (2019). How to Create an Accessibility Plan and Policy. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-create-accessibility-plan-and-policy#AppendixA
2 Integrated Accessibility Standards, O. Reg. 191/11 (2016). Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/110191
3 Integrated Accessibility Standards, O. Reg. 191/11 (2016). Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/110191
4 Blind Persons’ Rights Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.7 (1990). Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90b07
5 Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19 (2019). Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h19
6 Integrated Accessibility Standards, O. Reg. 191/11 (2016). Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/110191