Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) Statement
K Paul Partnership is committed to providing customer service excellence to our staff and to our visitors including those with disabilities. Through key principles, K Paul Partnership respects the dignity and independence of anyone with disabilities with a fully accessible and integrated plan that is created to meet those individual needs.
Our plan and service are provided in a way that reflects our principles of respect, fairness and equality. With the cooperation and collaboration of our staff members, K Paul Partnership is continuously dedicated to improvements, and will continue to evolve its practices in this matter.
The Government of Ontario supports any persons with disabilities as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005. K. Paul Partnership, with its staff and the community to identify, prevent and remove any barriers of participation.
Definition of Disability
The definition of “Disability” under the AODA is as follows:
- 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,
- a condition of mental impairment or a developmental of disability,
- a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding
- or using symbols or spoken language,
- a mental disorder, or
- an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan
- established under the Workplace safety and Insurance Act, 1997; (“handicap”).
The definition includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities in which the effects may come and go.
This is a broad definition, and one that must be considered closely when educating our employees in the appropriate response to our customers.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
The Accessibility Standard is a rule that persons and organizations have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in keys areas of daily living. The standards apply to private and public sector organizations across Ontario. The first area for accessibility standards – the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 came into effect January 1, 2008. K. Paul Partnership is required to comply with this regulation by January 1, 2013.
The AODA, accessibility standards will set requirements in five distinct areas:
- Customer service
- Information and communications
- Built environment
Accessible Customer Service Standard
The Customer Service Standard includes all levels of customer service. Every business and organization operating in Ontario that provides goods and services to the public or other organizations and has at least one employee in Ontario must comply to the following by January 1st, 2013;
- Establish policies, practices and procedures on providing plans and services to persons with disabilities (either staff or visitors), as defined under the AODA
- Make reasonable efforts to ensure our policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the core principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity – as defined by the AODA
- Establish a process for receiving feedback on how you provide service to clients and visitors with disabilities and how you will respond to feedback and take action on any complaints. Make information about the feedback process readily available to the public.
- Communicate with clients and visitors with a disability in a manner that takes into account his or her disability.
- State in the policies how K Paul Partnership will facilitate the use of assistive devices; how we will communicate disruptions in service for persons with disabilities; how we train our employees; and how customers can give feedback.
- Train employees, co-op students, contractors and others who provide plans and services to our customers on the policies as stated above.
- Post our policies and procedures on our intranet.
- Advise the public when the facilities or services are unavailable for people with disabilities who usually use our facilities or have access to our goods or services.
Accessible Customer Service Standard – Policies and Procedures
K Paul Partnership ensures our policies and procedures are consistent with the core principles. We are committed to providing accessibility for all members and visitors with disabilities. The AODA Customer Service Standard now mandates a requirement to meet the needs of persons with disabilities with clearly defined policies and procedures by January 1, 2013.
In preparing to comply with the requirements, K Paul Partnership has made efforts to ensure that its policies and procedures are consistent with the following principles:
- Dignity – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to maintain self-respect and the respect of other people
- Independence – when a person with a disability is allowed to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others;
- Integration – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar way as other participants (unless an alternate measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to access programs, goods and services);
- Equal opportunity – service is provided to a person with a disability in such a way that they have an opportunity to access programs, goods and services equal to that given to others.
Assistive Devices Policy:
K Paul Partnership is dedicated to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices. Assistive devices are used to assist anyone with a disability to access our goods, services or persons from our organization.
We ensure that those members and visitors who use assistive devices are welcome and are accommodated to their specific need.
Communication with a Visitor with a Disability Policy:
Our policies and procedures take any persons disability into account when communicating directly or indirectly with the individual. Communicating two-way is a process of providing, sending, receiving and understanding the information. To communicate in an efficient way, K Paul Partnership understands how the disability affects the way that any employee or/and visitor express, receives or process communications. When possible, K Paul Partnership will ask the employee or/and visitor directly the best way to communicate with him/her.
K Paul Partnership exercises an assortment of ways, whenever possible, to make communication more accessible by:
- Direct communication:
- Train all employees and volunteers who interact with participants on behalf of K Paul Partnership on how to communicate with people with disabilities;
- Use language that is clear, concise and meets the needs of the attendants;
- Use visuals in presentations and other educational discussions (e.g., diagrams, charts, transcripts, summaries, live captioning, etc.);
- Communicate directly with a participant, not their support person
- Use a participants assistive device to communicate with them only when given permission by them or their support person;
- Indirect communication:
- Provide bulletins/newsletters/publications in alternative formats (e.g., large-print, electronic version encoded for compatibility with screen-reading software, etc)
- Ensure printouts are encoded for compatibility with screen-reading software and have a large font option
K Paul Partnership welcomes employees/visitors with disabilities who are accompanied by a trained, accredited service animal. A service animal may accompany employees/visitors or any third party with a disability to all parts of our premises that are open to the public. Service animals may be used for, but not limited to, the following disabilities: vision loss, physical disability, hearing loss, autism, epilepsy etc. Most common service animal are usually dogs, other service animals could include, but not limited to, ferrets, monkeys, etc.
To be considered a service animal under this standard, it must be either readily apparent that the animal is being used because of the persons’ disability or the person with a disability may be asked to provide a letter from a registered health professional confirming that it is required because of his or hers disability. Guide dogs or service animals (even if they are in training) are allowed to accompany people with disabilities on all premises opened to the public. The owner is responsible to “poop and scoop”. K Paul Partnership anticipates there will be special situations and is prepared to make every effort to accommodate the circumstances on an individual basis. As situations may arise, keeping safety to all employees, visitors, co-op students and service animals are in top priority.
Support Persons Policy:
Persons with disabilities that require a support person to accompany them for their day-to-day tasks are always welcome at K Paul Partnership. Support workers will be considered as part of the company as long as they are present with whomever they are assisting. 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 K Paul Partnership premises.
All employees/visitors are informed of this through communication to the public/email. K Paul Partnerships employees will work with a support person, in relevant situations, to customize behavioural plans for the success in integration of their support recipients into K Paul Partnership practices.
Temporary Disruption of Service Policy:
K Paul Partnership is aware that temporary disruptions of services (daily functions, e,g. elevators, physical operations) and plans may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within K Paul Partnerships control or knowledge.
K Paul Partnership makes a reasonable effort to provide advance notice of the disruption to the public, including information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or service, if any, that may be available. K Paul Partnership would like to apologize in advance if this situation may ever occur.
Notice of temporary disruption of service will be made available for broadcasting new and updates through the following networks, as appropriate:
- Telephone recordings
- Large print, print out notice to paste on front door for the public to view
- Send out emails to participants likely to be affected by the disruption
In the event of an unexpected disruption, advance notice is not possible. In such cases, K Paul Partnership provides notice, as soon as possible, through its communication networks.
Process to Receive and Respond to Feedback
K Paul Partnership has a process in place for receiving and responding to feedback about how our services are provided to our clients and visitors with disabilities.
Employees/visitors with disabilities can offer their feedback in the following ways:
- Email and telephone, to the Human Resources department (re-directed, as required, to the appropriate response employee)
- Annual General Meeting
- In writing where correspondence is re-directed to the appropriate response employee
- In person to K Paul Partnership employee
Whoever provided their feedback is required to provide their name and contact information (phone or email). Once feedback is received, the following actions are taken to respond:
- The feedback is directed to the appropriate person for action
- The feedback is assessed for appropriate action (it is not necessary to respond to all feedback, it is not required by law to do so)
The feedback process is readily available to the public through:
- K Paul Partnership locations
- A document describing the feedback process, available on request in different format.
Sample of the notice includes:
Dear Valued Participant,
We strive to improve accessibility for our participants with disabilities. We would like to hear your comments, questions and suggestions/concerns about our provision of plans and services to people with disabilities.
Customer Service Training Policy:
K Paul Partnership provides training to all employees, co-op students, volunteers and all those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies and procedures on providing our services to clients and visitors with disabilities. K Paul Partnership ensures that third party and others, who deal with the public, have the required AODA training.
The employees and management are trained by members of K Paul Partnership itself. After January 2012, new staff and co-op students will receive training. This training will be provided as soon as practical or as soon as it can be done in the circumstances, after an employee or co-op student commence their duties.
Training is completed by December 31, 2012 to be compliant with January 1st , 2012 deadline. Training is recorded for staff and includes name, date and content.
Posting of Documents Policy:
Notices are posted, informing the public that the documents required by the Customer Service Standard are available upon request and will be provided in a format that takes a persons disability into account.
Documents are available through the following networks:
- Human Resources Department
- By Mail