Accessibility Policy Statement
Several laws have existed in Ontario since the 1980s to address “accessibility” for disabled individuals. Despite this, accessibility remains limited, with disabled persons not having equal access to many of Ontario’s “goods and services.” The Ontario Government enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005, setting out a framework by which all organizations (business and non-profit) will work towards making Ontario fully accessible to all Ontarians by 2025. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same kinds of opportunities to participate in Ontario society, as people without disabilities. This law was developed to:
• Provide a greater understanding of the barriers that people with disabilities face
• Identify, remove and prevent such barriers
• Promote a more inclusive society in Ontario
As such, the province has created and will enforce certain mandatory “accessibility standards” that businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to people in Ontario must meet.
These standards reference the full range of disabilities, including physical, sensory, health, mental health, developmental, medical, learning, or injury, which may or may not require an assistive device or service animal. Standards have been developed in three areas:
• Customer Service Standards
• Integrated Accessibility Standards covering:
• Information & Communication, Transportation and Employment
Hopewell Children’s Homes Inc. is committed to excellence in serving all community members, including persons with disabilities.
Hopewell Children’s Homes Inc. provides the following goods and services to persons with disabilities:
• Respite support services
• Residential support services
• Recreational support services
Hopewell Children’s Homes’ facilities are committed to offering supports and services that are individualized and tailored to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from such offerings in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of those involved.
Persons with assistive devices are entitled to use personal assistive devices while accessing any of Hopewell’s goods and services. The agency will provide appropriate training to employees on identifying and interacting with commonly used assistive devices as well as persons who require them. Personal assistive devices include, but are not limited to, service animals, communication, cognition, mobility and medical aids. In addition to assistive devices that are provided by the community member, Hopewell also provides on-site assistive devices. On-site assistive devices include, but are not limited to, wheelchair lifts, van lifts, walkers, standers, listening devices, and support persons.
Hopewell will communicate with persons with disabilities in ways that consider their disability and needs. Persons with disabilities will be offered alternative communication and information formats, where necessary. Accessible formats of communication may include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, braille, written as opposed to verbal communication, or communication using an assistive device or service.
Service Animals: (O. Regulation 299/10, 25(3)):
Hopewell allows service animals onto its premises and allows a person with a disability to be accompanied by his/her service animal in areas that are open to the public. Hopewell recognizes that service animals may assist persons with disabilities in a variety of ways. Hopewell allows a resident to be accompanied by their service animal in all resident approved areas of the premises. Hopewell will train employees on interacting with a person who uses a service animal.
Hopewell recognizes that there may be rare situations where another person’s health and safety could be seriously impacted by the presence of a service animal on the Agency’s premises (ex. persons with allergies to animals). Hopewell will fully analyze all options for safely allowing persons that could be negatively impacted by the presence of a service animal onto the premises. The options that the Agency will consider include, but are not limited to, creating distance between two individuals, eliminating in-person contact, notifying the person with the allergy, and any other measures that would allow the person to safely access the agency’s premises.
Hopewell will allow persons with a disability to be accompanied by a support person while accessing the agency’s goods and services. Hopewell recognizes that support persons enable individuals with disabilities to experience an enriched life by fully participating in activities. The agency will provide appropriate training to employees on interacting with a support person.
Notice of Temporary Disruption:
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption of services or facilities for individuals with disabilities, Hopewell will promptly notify individuals accessing services. A notice of temporary disruption will be clearly posted at the affected location and will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
Hopewell will provide training to employees, volunteers and other persons who deal with the public and/or third parties on the Agency’s behalf. Individuals in the following positions will receive training: Management, Coordinators, Nurses and Front-line workers (support workers). This training will be provided to staff within 30 days of hiring.
Training will include:
• An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the Customer Service Standard.
• Hopewell’s plan related to the customer service standard.
• Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people with several types of disabilities.
• Instruction on how to interact with people with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a service animal or support person.
• Instruction on how to use the elevator lift, the mechanical lifts, the van lifts, walkers, standers, and the hopsa harness.
Staff will receive additional training when changes or updates are made to the plan.