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Accessibility Policy

ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

 

Statement of Commitment

 

In fulfilling our mission and delivering our program mandates, New Beginnings is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration, equal opportunity and providing opportunities for participation in services and employment. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner by promoting accessibility and removing barriers for persons with disabilities.

 

This policy is in accordance with the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Integrated Accessibility Standards addressing the following:

 

  1. Accessibility Plans and Policies
  2. Staff Training
  3. Accessible Customer Service
  4. Accessible Information and Communication
  5. Accessible Employment
  6. Accessible Transportation

 

Accessibility Plans and Policies

 

New Beginnings will develop, maintain and document a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, outlining a strategy to prevent, identify and remove barriers to participation in services. The Accessibility Plan will be reviewed bi-annually by a committee designated by the Executive Director.  Once approved, the plan will be posted on the organization’s website. Upon request, a copy of the Accessibility Plan can be provided in accessible formats.

 

Staff, Volunteer and Student Training

 

All New Beginnings employees, volunteers and (students) are required to receive training which includes: an overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and Integrated Accessibility Standards as described in this policy.  The training will be appropriate to the duties of the employee, volunteer or student.

 

Initial training will be provided for all newly hired staff and provided as an orientation training and annual policy review.  Training for employees and non-employees may be carried out by other the applicable program manager or as an in-service training. Upon completion, a record of the date will be kept of the training provided.

 

Accessible Customer Service

 

New Beginnings provides goods, services and facilities which take into account persons with disabilities. Employees will apply training and skills to communicate with persons or clients who have various types of disabilities, thus allowing the service to be ‘usable’ for persons with disabilities. All Staff will provide services and communicate in a manner that takes into account:  the nature of the disability, their unique needs as individuals and an approach to make any necessary adjustments.

 

Procedures to interact and communicate with people who have various types of disabilities include those who use support persons, service animals and assistive devices. See Appendix ‘A’ – Tips on Interacting with People with Various Disabilities.

  • Assistive Devices

 

An assistive device is a tool, technology or other mechanism that enables a person with disabilities to do everyday tasks and activities, such as moving, communicating or lifting.  Personal assistive devices can include wheelchairs, hearing aids, canes or speech amplification devices, etc.

 

New Beginnings works to promote that people who use assistive devices are unrestricted in their use. 

Staff will give consideration to integrating helpful measures such as asking to open or hold a door etc. Staff are not to touch or handle assistive devices without permission or appropriate reason. Devices are not to be moved out of the client’s reach. 

  • Service Animals

 

New Beginnings welcomes people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals.  Types of service animals are based on the task and service they provide for persons with disabilities:

 

  • Guide – serves as a travel aid for a person who is legally blind;
  • Hearing or Signal alerts a person with hearing loss or deafness of sounds;
  • Mobility Assistance – helps a person with mobility or health disability with carrying, opening, pushing, pulling etc. and;
  • Seizure response – warns of impending seizure or provides aid. 

 

The animal may wear specialized equipment (pack, harness, collar), but it is not legally required.

The use for the service animal may be learned by asking or observing the service rendered. The person is not required to give details regarding their specific disability.  However, the task must be specific to the disability. It is important to remember that service animals are not pets and touching or addressing them should be avoided

 

Exclusion of any service animal applies to access to the kitchen area.  In situations where disagreement about the appropriateness or issue of a service animal, the Executive Director will be informed immediately and will determine if there are any conditions for exclusion of a service animal or if additional adjustments can accommodate all parties. Potential situations may include: control of the animal, damage, fears, and extreme allergies of others which will all be based on an individual basis.

 

  • Support Person

 

Support person is another person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or accessing services.  Support persons are welcomed and included in order for the person to access the service.  A support person can be a personal support worker, a volunteer, a family member or a friend. 

 

Be sure to speak directly to the person and not the support person.

 

It is an established practice of New Beginnings to allow support persons to accompany a client to an intake appointment, service session or involve themselves in the services and programs offered. 

 

In situations where a client is required to sign an oath of confidentiality pertaining to other individuals accessing services, a support person may be required in addition. 

 

Any issues or concerns relating to support persons will be brought to the applicable Program Manager to be brought to the Executive Director.

Service Disruptions

 

When a service disruption is planned, New Beginnings will communicate and post the nature of the disruption, the date anticipated alternative arrangements in a location determined to be readily available for all clients and employees as determined by Management.  In occurrences where service disruption is unplanned, this will be communicated using an appropriate combination of communication methods.  New Beginnings will make its best effort to reach individuals with disabilities likely to be negatively affected by the disruption.

Feedback Process

 

New Beginnings invites feedback regarding how well we provided accessible services and would like to know of any complaints in order to assist in removing barriers in the organization. 

 

New Beginnings provides opportunity to ‘provide feedback’ on the website: www.newbeginningswindsor.com or emailed to: info@newbe.ca. If preferred, written feedback or suggestions can be directed to: 

 

Executive Director,

New Beginnings

1015 Highland Ave. Windsor, ON N9A 1R6

Tel: (519) 971-0973 ext. 102

 

New Beginnings will communicate any actions to remedy and remove identified standard gaps in services, programs and facilities upon receipt of complaint.

Accessible Information and Communication Supports

 

Communication

When communicating with a person with a disability, Employees, volunteers and students will ensure that take into account their disability. See APPENDIX ‘A’ – Tips on Interacting with People with Various Disabilities.

Communication supports can include, plain language, reading written information to a person directly, large print, handwritten notes instead of spoken word, an electronic document formatted to be accessible for use with a screen reader.

 

 

Terminology

 

When referring to a person with a disability, employees, volunteers and students will use terminology that preserves their inherent worth and dignity as individuals.  A person is not defined by their disability.

 

Information

 

New Beginnings is committed to provide people with disabilities access to information that many of us rely on every day, including web sites, textbooks and business information. Information and communication will continue to be provided, arranged for and accessible supports upon request for persons with disabilities.

 

*Youth Clients who attend a specialized classroom at New Beginnings (Site Location) affiliated with a School Board who have an identified learning disability and Individual Education Plan are acknowledged to have their primary accessible supports for education purposes met by the affiliated board.  All New Beginnings employees will provide service, supports and accessibility the same to any person with a disability as described with in this document. 

 

New Beginnings will ensure that the organizational website, including web content conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). All web content will be WCAG 2.0 Level A.  Upgrade to Level AA will be accomplished by 2021. Should information or communications be unconvertible, any person requesting information will be provided an explanation why it is unconvertible and the summary of the information in question.

 

New Beginnings will provide all existing public emergency procedures, plans and safety information in an accessible format or with communication support, upon request. This will be provided in a timely manner.

 

Accessible Employment

 

In effort to represent the diversity of the community we serve, New Beginnings strongly encourages qualified applicants from diverse groups to apply. Accessible employment is practiced at all stages by:

 

New Beginnings will notify employees and public applicants know that recruitment and hiring processes will be modified to accommodate for disabilities available upon request. If a candidate requests an accommodation, New Beginnings will consult with the applicant and make arrangements for a suitable accommodation based on accessibly needs.

 

New Beginnings will notify successful applicants of policies for accommodating employees with disabilities upon making an offer of employment.

 

New and existing employees who have a disability will be provided documented Individual Accommodation Plans with disabilities upon request to their Program Manager.  Once the need for accommodation is made aware to a Program Manager, the Human Resource Manager or Designate will be informed for purpose of further consult with the employee to develop an individualized plan.

 

Plans should include: accessible formats and communication supports and if requested, emergency response planning. All information is to be kept confidential.

 

Plans will be reviewed monthly or at the request of either the employee or employer to ensure still meeting the needs intended.

 

A return to work process is available for employees who have been absent from work due to disability and require disability related accommodations. This will include documented plans as part of the process.

 

This return to work process does not over ride or replace any other policy. 

 

Any documented Individualized Accommodation Plans are to be kept in the employees Human Resources File.

 

New Beginnings Management will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities and or accommodation plans when providing annual performance appraisals.

 

Accessible Transportation

 

 

New Beginnings is committed to providing accessible services.  If transportation is provided to clients (Youth Justice Programs or YOS) accessibility needs will be considered.

 

Staff meetings will be a venue to ensure all staff are aware of clients transportation needs in addition to placing information in their file or the program com log. Information will include type of disability, transportation need and accommodation provided. This is to be approved by the applicable program manager.

 

New Beginnings will provide a designated parking spot for persons with disabilities which will be identified as a ‘handicap parking space’. This will be replicated at New Beginnings sites, main building and Janette Building.  Any Satellite offices New Beginnings uses will be assumed to follow the same legislative requirements. In being made aware of any inconsistencies or outstanding needs, New Beginnings will provide a reasonable and timely response to attempt to remove any barriers that may exist.

 

Any employee who has identified transportation needs due to disability will inform their program manager of their need and an individualized accessibility plan process will commence in order to provide an agreed accommodation which will provide accessible employment.  See ‘Accessible Employment’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX ‘A’ – Tips on Interacting with People with Various Disabilities

There are many types and degrees of disability. Openly communicating and responding to your customers’ needs is the key to excellent customer service for all. If you’re not sure about the best approach, just ask a person with a disability how you can best communicate with them.

People with physical disabilities

Only some people with physical disabilities use a wheelchair. Someone with a spinal cord injury may use crutches while someone with severe arthritis or a heart condition may have difficulty walking longer distances.

Tips:

  • If you need to have a lengthy conversation with someone who uses a wheelchair or scooter, consider sitting so you can make eye contact at the same level.
  • Don’t touch items or equipment, such as canes or wheelchairs, without permission.
  • If you have permission to move a person’s wheelchair, don’t leave them in an awkward, dangerous or undignified position, such as facing a wall or in the path of opening doors.

People with vision loss

Vision loss can restrict someone’s ability to read, locate landmarks or see hazards. Some customers may use a guide dog or a white cane, while others may not.

Tips:

  • When you know someone has vision loss, don’t assume the individual can’t see you. Many people who have low vision still have some sight.
  • Identify yourself when you approach and speak directly to the customer.
  • Ask if they would like you to read any printed material out loud to them (for example, a menu or schedule of fees).
  • When providing directions or instructions, be precise and descriptive.
  • Offer your elbow to guide them if needed.

People who have hearing loss

People who have hearing loss may be Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. They may also be oral deaf – unable to hear, but prefer to talk instead of using sign language. These terms are used to describe different levels of hearing and/or the way a person’s hearing was diminished or lost.

Tips:

  • Once a customer has identified themselves as having hearing loss, make sure you are in a well-lit area where they can see your face and read your lips.
  • As needed, attract the customer’s attention before speaking. Try a gentle touch on the shoulder or wave of your hand.
  • If your customer uses a hearing aid, reduce background noise or move to a quieter area.
  • If necessary, ask if another method of communicating would be easier (for example, using a pen and paper).

People who are deafblind

A person who is deafblind may have some degree of both hearing and vision loss. Many people who are deafblind will be accompanied by an intervenor, a professional support person who helps with communication.

Tips:

  • A customer who is deafblind is likely to explain to you how to communicate with them, perhaps with an assistance card or a note.
  • Speak directly to your customer, not to the intervenor.

People with speech or language impairments

Cerebral palsy, hearing loss or other conditions may make it difficult for a person to pronounce words or may cause slurring. Some people who have severe difficulties may use a communication board or other assistive devices.

Tips:

  • Don’t assume that a person with a speech impairment also has another disability.
  • Whenever possible, ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or a “no”.
  • Be patient. Don’t interrupt or finish your customer’s sentences.

People who have learning disabilities

The term “learning disabilities” refers to a variety of disorders. One example is dyslexia, which affects how a person takes in or retains information. This disability may become apparent when a person has difficulty reading material or understanding the information you are providing.

Tips:

  • Be patient – people with some learning disabilities may take a little longer to process information, to understand and to respond.
  • Try to provide information in a way that takes into account the customer’s disability. For example, some people with learning disabilities find written words difficult to understand, while others may have problems with numbers and math.

People who have intellectual developmental disabilities

Developmental or intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, can limit a person’s ability to learn, communicate, do everyday physical activities and live independently. You may not know that someone has this disability unless you are told.

Tips:

  • Don’t make assumptions about what a person can do.
  • Use plain language.
  • Provide one piece of information at a time.

People who have mental health disabilities

Mental health issues can affect a person’s ability to think clearly, concentrate or remember things. Mental health disability is a broad term for many disorders that can range in severity. For example, some customers may experience anxiety due to hallucinations, mood swings, phobias or panic disorder.

  • If you sense or know that a customer has a mental health disability be sure to treat them with the same respect and consideration you
    have for everyone else.
  • Be confident, calm and reassuring.
  • If a customer appears to be in crisis, ask them to tell you the best way to help.

 

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