Appendix B – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA)
Since other provinces do not have an Act in place for accessibility for individuals with disabilities, the Company will use the AODA as a standard, until there are other provincial or federal legislations in place.
Springfree is committed to ensuring an accessible workplace for its staff and customers with disabilities. It is the policy of the Company that its working, living and learning environments will be maintained free from discrimination and harassment as prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights code (1962), and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) (AODA). We will strive to ensure the needs of persons with disabilities are met in a timely manner and encourage feedback on how we can make our organization more accessible to all our customers. Goods and services will be provided in a manner that is based upon the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity to all Employees, visitors, and customers. These policies are to be reviewed annually to ensure that we are complying with the most up-to-date legislative requirements.
This policy applies to all full-time, part-time, casual, temporary Employees, consultants, and independent contractors. Sub-contractors are afforded the same rights and protections provided by this policy, while performing authorized activities for Springfree. This may include off-site jobrelated functions, social events, courses, and classes related to work and employment, or any other function where an Employee is representing the Company on or off site.
(from Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005)
Disability: Shall mean,
- 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, 1997.
Accessible: Capable of being entered or reached, approachable; easy to get at; capable of being influenced, obtainable; able to be understood or appreciated.
Assistive Device: A device used to assist persons with disabilities in carrying out activities or in accessing the services of persons or organizations covered by the customer Service Standard.
Communication: A process of providing, sending, receiving and understanding information.
Dignity: Respecting and treating every person including persons with a disability as valued and as deserving of effective and full service as any other customer. Do not treat people with disabilities as an afterthought or force them to accept lesser service, quality or convenience.
Equal Opportunity: Having the same chances, options, benefits and results as others. In case of services it means that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to benefit from the way goods and services are provided to others. They should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain service. They should also not have to accept lesser quality or more inconvenience.
Independence: Freedom from control or influence of others, freedom to make your own choices.
Integration: Services that allow people with disabilities to fully benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other customers. Some integration does not serve the needs of all people and disabilities. In these cases, it is necessary to use alternative measures to provide goods or services.
Guide Dog: A dog trained as a guide for a person who is blind and having the qualifications prescribed by the regulations.
Service Animals: Animals that are used as a service animal for a person with a disability.
Support Person: An individual hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.
The Company is committed to communicating with persons with disabilities in ways that take into consideration their disability. This means Employees will have to consider how the disability affects the way that the person expresses, receives or processes communication.
To ensure this,
- Employees, visitors, clients and customers with disabilities will be offered alternative communication formats that will meet the needs of the customer as promptly as feasible
- Documents will be provided to Employees, visitors, clients and customers in an alternative format that will meet the needs of the user in a timely fashion
- If telephone communication is not suitable for Employees, visitors, clients or customer’s needs, alternative forms of communication will be offered as required, and
- Use an assistive device or service when it is necessary
Use of Service Animals, Assistive Devices, and Support Persons
The Company will ensure that the access, use and benefit of goods or services are not compromised for persons with disabilities who require assistive devices, or who are accompanied by a service animal, guide dog or support person.
Service animals shall be permitted entry to all the Company’s locations that are open to the public.
Service animals are not permitted where food preparation is being undertaken or, as otherwise disallowed by law, or where there is a safety concern.
In the rare case where a service animal is to be denied access to a facility or meeting room, other accommodations may be afforded.
Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to obtain, use or benefit from goods or services through the use of their own assistive devices. Exceptions may occur in situations where the Company has determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of a person with a disability or the health and safety of others on the premises. In these situations, if a person with a disability is hindered from accessing goods or services, the Company will accommodate the individual by providing an alternative where possible.
It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the person with a disability to ensure that his or her assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times. The Company will ensure that Employees are trained as required to use assistive devices available on Company premises.
The Company is committed to welcoming Employees, visitors, clients and customers with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Company premises with his or her support person.
If admission to an event is permitted and fees are being paid by the Company, the support person is permitted to attend at no cost for admission. Cost for other services (e.g. food, lodging etc.) will be the responsibility of the support person. If a support person is necessary for the health and safety of a person with disabilities, or for the health and safety of other persons, the Company will require the accompaniment of a support person on Company premises.
The Employee, visitor, client or customer shall determine whether a support person is necessary, however, where an Employee believes that a support person should be in attendance to protect the health and safety of the customer or others, the following criteria shall be used in consulting with the individual:
- When there is a significant risk to the health and safety of the person with a disability or to others (the mere possibility of risk is insufficient)
- When the risk cannot be eliminated or reduced by other means
- When the assessment of the risk is based on consideration of the duration of the risk, the nature and severity of the potential harm, the likelihood that the potential harm will occur, and the imminence of the potential harm
- When the assessment of the risk is based on the individual's actual characteristics, not merely on generalizations, misperceptions, ignorance or fears about a disability
The Company is committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our clients and will make every effort to provide alternative formats of invoices in a timely manner upon request.
Notice of Temporary Disruption to Facilities or Services
In the event that a planned temporary service disruption occurrence that would limit a person with a disability from gaining access to the Company’s offices, goods or services, the Company will make the disruption known to clients with ample notice. If a disruption is unexpected, the Company will notify Employees, visitors, clients and customers as soon as possible.
The Company will make the disruption known in the following ways:
- At the Company, the Receptionist will be responsible for posting the notice
- All notices of disruption of service must be sent to the HR Representative, and will post the messages on the Company’s website, social media and the Company’s voicemail
Notices will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, alternate service locations if applicable, and a description of alternative facilities or services if available from the affected service department.
If an unexpected disruption occurs, persons with disabilities will be accommodated by the use of other possible means to deliver the goods and service.
Accessible Employment Standards
Springfree welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities.
Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If accommodation is required, the hiring committee will discuss the needs with the candidate and make the applicable adjustments to support them.
The Company will provide any information that an Employee needs to perform their job and general information in accessible format upon request. Management will work with individuals to ensure they receive information in the best method for them.
The Company will also provide accessible emergency information to staff once management has been made aware of an Employee who needs accommodation in an emergency situation. This will be updated on an as needed basis, based on the needs and accommodations that are needed.
Talent and Performance Management
The Company will take into consideration any Employee that needs accommodation during talent, performance and career development programs. The Employee will work with management to identify the best way for the Employee to receive and go through the different processes associated with talent, performance and career development.
Communicate Accessibility Policies
As new policies are created, and updated, Employees will be made aware of the policies, including the policies that are specific to support people with disabilities. New Employees will be made aware when they are hired. Employees will be made aware of these policies through any or all of the following methods: Newsletters, emails, memos, bulletin boards, staff meetings, one on one conversations.
The Company will notify all Employees within one (1) business day of the policy becoming effective.
Return to Work
The Company will develop plans to support employees who return to their jobs after a disability related absence as outlined under AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code. If an employee requests a leave of absence and the employee agrees to remain in contact with the employer throughout this absence, the employee should make the Company aware of any changes to
- when they will be returning to work
- what job tasks they may need to perform differently after returning
- what kinds of accommodations they may require
The Company will provide AODA training to all Employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures. This training will be provided as a condition of employment to all new staff and on an ongoing basis for staff to ensure all staff stays current with any policy or procedural changes as it relates to the AODA Act.
Training is available in accessible formats and in multiple formats, including, but not limited to, face to face instruction, online training module, and other formats as requested.
The training will include:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard, and the accessible employment standards.
- How to interact and communicate with customers with disabilities guided by the principles of dignity, independence and equality.
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person.
- How to use the assistive devices available on the premises that may assist with the provision of goods or services to people with disabilities, which include, but are not limited to, computers and software such as Kurzweil, Dragon, Zoomtext, electronic recorders and other devices that may become available.
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing goods and services at the Company.
- Current policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard, and accessible employment standards.
Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.
Feedback can be made in person, by telephone, through email, or by other means as required. Feedback in person, by telephone or through email should be directed to:
151 Whitehall Dr.
Markham, ON L3R 9T1
Feedback will be used to improve customer service. In addition, the author of the feedback will be provided with a response in the format in which the feedback was received. The feedback may outline actions deemed appropriate, if any.
This policy will be posted on the Company’s website to be available for all Employees, visitors, clients, and customers to access