Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) Integrated Accessibility Standards Policy

Purpose

Scientists in School‘s AODA Policy is a statement of essential principles intended to govern the conduct of Scientists in School’s people adhering to the spirit and intent of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as it applies to our organization.

Policy

Scientists in School is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We are committed to: meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner; removing and preventing barriers to accessibility; and meeting accessibility standards in accordance with the AODA. Scientists in School is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the same opportunity of access to services in the same or a similar manner as these services are available to others.

Terms and Definitions

Accessible Formats:  Alternatives to traditional media that remove or mitigate barriers for persons with disabilities. May include large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, and Braille.

Accessibility Report:  The report required to be filed pursuant to Section 14 of the Act.

Assistive Device: Any device used to assist a person in performing a particular task, or tasks, or to aid that person in activities of daily living.

Conversion-ready formats: Any electronic or digital format that facilitates conversion into an accessible format, such as Braille, large print, audio, etc.

Disability: Has the same definition as is provided under the Act and Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.19.

Performance Management:   Activities related to assessing and improving employee performance, productivity and effectiveness with the goal of facilitating employee success.

Service Animal: An animal that is being used because of a person’s disability that is either readily apparent or is supported by a letter from a medical practitioner.

Support Person: A person who accompanies a person with a disability to assist with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs, or with access to goods or services.

Accessibility Standards Procedures

General

These procedures outline the process for ensuring that the principles of accessibility are incorporated, whenever and wherever possible, into Scientists in School’s workplace and services provided.

  1. Customer Service Standard

Scope

The Customer Service Standard applies to all persons who, on behalf of Scientists in School, deal with members of the public or other third parties.  This includes our employees, independent contractors and volunteers.

Core Principles

We endeavor to ensure that the Policy and related practices and procedures are consistent with the following four (4) core principles:

  1. Dignity – Persons with a disability must be treated as valued customers as deserving of service as any other customer.
  2. Equality of Opportunity – Persons with a disability should be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from our goods and services.
  3. Integration – Wherever possible, persons with a disability should benefit from our goods and services in the same place and in the same or similar manner as any other customer. In circumstances where integration does not service the needs of the person with a disability, goods and services will, to the extent possible, be provided in another way that takes into account the person’s individual needs.
  4. Independence – Goods and services must be provided in a way that respects the independence of persons with a disability. To this end, we will always be willing to assist a person with a disability, but will not do so without the express permission of the person.

Procedures

1. Communication

Scientists in School strives to communicate with a person with a disability in a manner that takes into account the disability.  Consideration will be given to the way in which individuals express, receive and process information without making assumptions about a particular disability.

2. Assisted Devices

Persons with a disability are permitted, where possible, to use their own Assistive Device when on our premise or when attending a workshop or other demonstration/exhibit for the purposes of obtaining, using or benefiting from our goods and services.

If there is a physical, technological or other type of barrier that prevents the use of an Assistive Device on our premise or at a workshop or exhibit we will first endeavor to remove that barrier. If we are not able to remove the barrier we will ask the person how he/she can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible to him/her.  We will make best efforts to provide an alternative means of assistance to the person with a disability.

3. Service Animals

Persons with a disability may enter premises owned and/or operated by Scientists in School accompanied by a Service Animal, and keep the Service Animal with them, if the public has access to such premises and the Service Animal is not otherwise excluded by law.

If a service animal must be excluded, we will explain to our customer why this is the case and explore alternative ways to meet the customer’s needs.

4. Support Persons

A person with a disability may enter premises owned and/or operated by Scientists in School with a Support Person and have access to the Support Person while on the premises.

5. Notice of Temporary Disruption

Scientists in School will notify customers if there is a planned or unexpected disruption of a facility that we own or operate.  The notice will be posted at the entrance of the applicable premises, on Scientists in School’s web portal and will be recorded on phone message machines.

The notice will include the following information:

i. That a facility or service is unavailable.
ii. The anticipated duration of the disruption.
iii. The reason for the disruption.
iv. Alternative facilities or services, if available.

6. Training and Records

Scientists in School will provide training, and ongoing training as required under the Act, to all employees, independent contractors and volunteers who interact with the public on behalf of Scientists in School.

A. Content of Training

Training will include:

i. A review of the purpose of the Act and requirements of the Standard.
ii. A review of the Policy.
iii. How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.
iv. How to interact with persons with a disability who use an Assistive Device or require the assistance of a Service Animal or Support Person.
v. How to use equipment or devices made available on our premises to assist persons with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services.
vi. What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our premises and/or services.

B. Timing of Training

Training will be provided to all persons to whom this Policy applies as soon as practicable after he or she is assigned the applicable duties.

C. Documenting Training

Records of the training provided, including the training protocol, the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom the training is provided shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

7. Feedback Procedure

Scientists in School welcomes and appreciates feedback regarding this Policy and its implementation.  Feedback can be provided in the following ways:

i. In person at our Pickering office: 975 Dillingham Road, Unit 2, Pickering, ON L1W 1Z7
ii. By telephone at 905-837-9626
iii. In writing to: 975 Dillingham Road, Unit 2, Pickering, ON L1W 1Z7
iv. Electronically to inquiries@scientistsinschool.ca

Feedback will be responded to on a timely basis.

8. Notice of Availability of Documents

All documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, including the policies and related practices and protocols, shall be made available to any member of the public upon request. Notification of same shall be posted on Scientists in School’s website and at each of Scientists in School’s premises.

  1. Employment Standard

Scope

The Employment Standard applies to all paid employees (full and part-time) of Scientists in School.

Recruitment and Selection

Scientists in School will notify the public and its employees about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment and selection process. When selected to participate in the selection process, Scientists in School will notify individual job applicants that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials and/or processes to be used. Upon request and in consultation with the applicant, Scientists in School will arrange for a suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s accessibility needs due to disability.

When making offers of employment, Scientists in School will advise the successful applicant of its policies and supports for accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Working at Scientists in School

Scientists in School will inform employees of policies and procedures used to support employees with disabilities including, but not limited to, job accommodations.   Information will be provided to new employees as soon as practical after hiring.

When an employee with a disability requests it, and in conjunction with the employee, Scientists in School will provide or arrange for accessible formats and communications supports for information needed to perform the employee’s job, and for information generally available to employees in the workplace.

Scientists in School will take into account accessibility needs and individual accommodation plans when using its performance management process.

Workplace Emergency Response Information

Scientists in School will provide individualized emergency response information to employees with disabilities if the disability makes it necessary, and Scientists in School is aware of the need.  With the employee’s consent, Scientists in School will share the information with anyone designated to assist the employee in an emergency. This information will be reviewed when:

  • The employee moves to a different location
  • The employee’s overall accommodation needs are reviewed
  • Scientists in School’s emergency response policies are reviewed
  1. Information and Communications Standard

Accessible Formats & Communication Support

Scientists in School will provide any information or communication items in an accessible manner to those with disabilities. Upon receiving a request, Scientists in School will consult with the individual to determine their accessibility needs. We will also distinguish whether an accessible format (alternative to standard print) or communication support (communication assistance between people) is needed based on the discussion.

Requests for Information and Communications

If the requested information or communication is not possible to present in a conversion-ready format, Scientists in School will provide the individual making the request with an explanation as to why the information or communication are unconvertable, and a summary of the requested information or communications.

Accessible Web and Content

Scientists in School is making active efforts to ensure its website will be AODA compliant. This includes alternative text over images and properly named headlines/labels. This compliance demonstrates Scientists in School’s dedication to accessibility, as there are no website requirements for non-profit organizations with less than 50 employees as per the AODA.

Educational and Training Resources and Materials

Scientists in School will ensure that all educational materials available on our website are accessibility compliant. Individuals can request further accessible formats (ex. large print, recorded audio, Braille) if necessary.