PROVIDING SERVICES TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
1.0 Our Mission
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region is to help children live their potential.
2.0 Our Commitment
In fulfilling our mission, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region strives at all times to provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public.
Is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities.
As defined by the Act means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communication barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or practice.
a) 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,
b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
c) A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
d) mental disorder, or
e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
The Agency is defined as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.
Any animal used by a person with a disability for reasons relating to the disability where it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or where the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that he or she requires the animal for reasons relating to his or her disability; or a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada or a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.
A person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to assist him or her with communication, mobility, personal care, or medical needs or with access to goods or services.
4.0 Providing goods and service to people with disabilities
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region is committed to excellence in serving all existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public, including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We will educate our staff on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public. We will educate staff to communicate with existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
We will offer to communicate with existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public by various means of communication that apply (e.g. email) if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. We will make every effort to ensure our staff is familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public with disabilities while accessing our goods or services, as the need arises.
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
We are committed to welcoming people 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 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region’s premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.
Fees will not be charged for support persons for admission to events directly hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region
a) All employees and departments are responsible for:
I. Providing documents in suitable formats, upon request by a person with a disability
II. Ensuring compliance with the Standards of Accessible Customer Service
III. Notifying the Service Delivery Manager and/or CEO of any service disruption
IV. Reporting to the Service Delivery Manager any feedback received from clients regarding the accessibility of the Agency’s services
V. Notifying the Service Delivery Manager and/or CEO of any additional budgeting or training requirements in relation to compliance with the Act
b) The CEO (or designate) is responsible for:
I. Monitoring and reporting on compliance measures
II. Updating and interpreting this policy
III. Communicating the accessible customer service procedures to all relevant parties
IV. Confirming all staff and volunteers receive training, in accordance with the Standard of Accessible Customer Service
V. Maintaining training records
VI. Administrating the feedback process and responding to clients
VII. Providing individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability, where necessary
VIII. Providing notice to our clients of any service disruptions, in compliance with this policy and the Act
6.0 Training/Education for Staff and Volunteers
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will educate and provide shared 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 to new staff within the first four months of employment and to volunteers prior to them engaging in service provision to our clients
Training will include the following:
• The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
• How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
• 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 assistive devices, if applicable, which may be available at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region facilities
• What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region’s services
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
Applicable staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff and volunteers will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.
7.0 Notice of Temporary Service Disruption
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will notify clients promptly in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for clients with disabilities including: access to the office, the agency phone service or the agency internet service.
This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
The notice will be placed on all other alternate forms of contact for our clients including at the front door of the office, on the agency’s automated telephone system and on the agency’s website.
8.0 Feedback process
The ultimate goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
Feedback regarding the way Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region provides services to people with disabilities can be made by all forms of communication. All feedback will be directed to the CEO. Existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public can expect to hear back in 10 working days.
9.0 Modifications to this or other policies
We are committed to developing service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any policy of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
10.0 Questions about this policy
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to existing and prospective volunteers, clients and the general public with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.