This accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions that Children First has put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities who come in contact with our organization in any manner, including as a recipient of services and/or information, and those policies and actions that will be implemented.

Statement of Commitment

Children First is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Accessibility in Ontario: About the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (AODA) was passed in 2005 with the vision of creating a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.  The AODA gave the Province the mandate to create sets of accessibility standards which will apply to both public and private sector organizations. The Province has committed to developing and implementing standards in:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communication
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Built Environment

Customer Service:

Children First has implemented the customer service standards and a policy has been in place since January 2012.

  • This policy outlines our commitment to communicating with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  • In addition, we are committed to providing communication methods to remove barriers for people with disabilities, training staff to familiarize staff with communication, equipment and support devices and tools such as service animals.
  • Children First will accommodate and assist people to access our print materials on an individual basis.
  • Information about any disruption of service will be provided through means such as our telephone answering machine, posting on our website or through personal contacts where applicable.

Accessible Emergency and Public Safety Information:

Children First is committed to providing publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. Employees with disabilities will be provided with individualized emergency response information when needed.

Training:

Children First has provided training to all staff, students and volunteers regarding providing services to persons with disabilities.

Children First will continue to ensure that employees, students, volunteers, contractors and any other persons having contact with people on behalf of the agency are trained on Ontario’s accessibility laws including all standards under the AODA and on the Ontario Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities.  Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of individuals including in person, online and/or review of written information.

Children First will take the following steps to ensure the required Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations (IASR) training has been provided by January 1, 2015.

Employees, students, volunteers, contractors and any other persons having contact with people on behalf of the agency will be provided with training regarding the IASR standards and the Ontario Human Rights Code through in person, online training or review of written materials depending on the individual’s duties.

Information and Communication Standard:

Children First provides information in a variety of ways, including through our website, through individual and group meetings, written information and email.  Our website offers accessible electronic formats and we are in the process of completing changes in order to conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A.

Alternative formats of written information will be provided upon request to accommodate any barriers to accessibility.

Children First will ensure that persons with disabilities are afforded the opportunity to provide feedback to us in a way that is accessible. Feedback may be directed to Children First in person, via telephone, e-mail or through our website.

Employment:

Children First is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.

We will take the following steps to notify the public and staff that, when requested, Children First will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes and when people are hired:

  • We will include this information on our website Careers section.
  • We will promote understanding of employer obligations to provide employee accommodations among managers, supervisors and employees having contact with applicants.

Children First will take the following steps to develop and put in place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return to work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability:

  • Develop an individual accommodation plan for any employee that has been absent due to disability as necessary.

Children First will take the following steps to ensure the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities are taken into account in the workplace including:

  • We will respond to requests for accommodation from employees in an open and timely way.
  • We will work collaboratively with employees to develop individual accommodation plans.

Children First will endeavor to prevent and remove any other accessibility barriers identified and brought to our attention.

Design of Public Spaces

Children First will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to public spaces including service related elements such as service counters and waiting areas.

Reviewing and Monitoring the Accessibility Plan

Children First’s multiyear accessibility plan will be reviewed and updated on a yearly basis.  Feedback from consumers will be incorporated in this process.  This plan will be posted on the website.

For more information about Children First’s accessibility plan, please contact:

Laurie Tiegs, Human Resources Supervisor 519-250-1850 extension 220 ltiegs@children-first.ca

Accessible formats of this document are available upon request.

Feedback

We welcome feedback about the accessibility of our services to persons with disabilities. Reasonable efforts will be made to resolve any complaints in a timely manner.

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