Elgin St. Thomas Public Health 2014-2021 Multi Year Accessibility Plan

Introduction:

In 2005, the Ontario Government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to make Ontario accessible by 2025. This act (AODA) applies to every person or organization in the public and private sectors in the Province of Ontario, including the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This act allows the province to establish, implement and enforce standards for accessibility to goods, services, facilities, employment, accommodation, and buildings for persons with disabilities. These standards are rules that businesses and organizations in Ontario need to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers so that people with disabilities have more opportunities to participate in everyday life.

Ontario’s first accessibility standard, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, became law in 2008 and the dates for compliance spanned from January-December 2012.  The Integrated Accessibility Standards (Information and Communication, Transportation, and Employment were combined under this regulation) was enacted in 2011. Transportation Standards do not apply to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.  The final standard, Built Environment Standard will outline requirements for interior and exterior spaces and will focus on removing barriers in public spaces and buildings. As of January 1, 2015, new construction and renovations will be subject to updated accessibility requirements as per the Ontario Building Code. The Built Environment Standards do not apply to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.

Our Statement of Commitment:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health 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 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Accessible Emergency Information:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health is committed to providing the customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way, upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with an individual emergency response plan and or information when necessary.

Training:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will provide training to employees, volunteers and other representatives of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health 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, volunteers and other representatives of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to ensure employees are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessible laws by January 1, 2015:

  • In addition to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health’s current training requirements (Customer Service Standards) for AODA, all employees including volunteers and other representatives of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will be required to complete training on the Integrated Accessibility Standards and the Human Rights Code as it pertains to people with disabilities.

Information and Communications:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities.  We will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs as required.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to make all new websites and content on sites to conform to WCAG 2.0, Level A by January 1, 2014:

  • New website, elginfoodsafety.on.ca will be developed to conform to WCAG 2.0, Level A.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to ensure existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities as required, January 1, 2015:

  • Review existing feedback processes that include online, telephone/voice and in writing for effectiveness and alternatives.
  • Provide awareness and or training to all reception staff on the process of assisting clients in providing feedback.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to make sure all publicly available information is made accessible upon request by January 1, 2016:

  • Review and identify the best practices for providing accessible formats and communication supports if requested, addressing timeliness, cost, and consultation with the person with the disability.
  • Notification of the availability of differing formats.
  • Develop a process for staff to follow if requests for accessible formats or communication cannot be provided.
  • Review current guidelines for print material, such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Clear Print Accessibility Guidelines for print materials.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to make all websites and content conform to WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021:

  • Recommend that existing websites be tested against accessibility standards ensuring the site(s) comply with legal requirements such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), with a focus on content, text, headings, alternative text, and tables.
  • Consider a request for proposal (RFP) that identifies specific AODA requirements in order to contract a review/redesign of all Elgin St. Thomas Public Health websites and web content to conform to WCAG 2.0, Level AA.

Employment:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. We will take the following steps to notify the public and staff that, when requested, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes and when people are hired (January 1, 2016):

  • Develop policies regarding the availability of job accommodations for employees to ensure accommodation(s) is suitable. 
  • Notify job applicants when participating in the selection process that accommodations are available upon request.
  • Notify successful candidates of the policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will take the following steps to develop and put in place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return-to-work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability (January 1, 2016):

  • Expand the current practice of developing individual accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  • Expand the current return to work process for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and may require disability-related accommodations.
  • Inform employees of changes in existing policies regarding the provision of job accommodations.

We will take the following steps to ensure the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities needs are taken into account if Elgin St. Thomas Public Health is using performance management, career development, and redeployment processes (January 1, 2016):

  • Expand the current practice to take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will put the following procedures in place to prevent service disruptions to accessible parts of its public spaces.

  • In the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the service disruption and any alternative services available via our website, on Facebook or Twitter, via our telephone automated messaging, the use of our answering service and or using local media as necessary.

Making our plan accessible:

Elgin St. Thomas Public Health accessibility policies and the 2014-2021 multi-year accessibility plan can be found on our website.  Upon request, the policies, procedures and the plan can be made available in alternative formats as per our customer service standards and policies.

To request a copy of our policies, procedures or plan please contact accessibility@elginhealth.on.ca 

We appreciate all comments and encourage feedback on our plan.  Feedback can be directed by:

  • Downloading our client feedback form, or writing to us and mailing to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.
  • Submitting the feedback form on line.
  • Calling Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to speak with the Office Manager
  • Emailing accessibility@elginhealth.on.ca