SLASTO Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

 

Accessibility Policies and Plans for Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario

 

This 2013-21 accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.

 

Accessibility Policies and Plans

 

SLASTO is committed to developing accessibility policies for its employees and clients. In establishing and maintaining its multi-year accessibility plan, SLASTO commits to auditing its current policies and practices, design of public spaces, procurement processes, employment practices and any proposed new website development to ensure that it meets the requirements of the AODA. Any potential or noted breaches will be identified and remedied. In developing these policies and plans, SLASTO will consult with persons with disabilities, in the disability community, and with personnel with disabilities to ensure that its policies and plans are inclusive and consider how to remove any barriers that may be present.   

 

Statement of Commitment

 

SLASTO 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 accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. As a tribunal with adjudicative functions, we will provide accommodation while maintaining our impartiality and adjudicative independence.

 

Reporting Requirements

 

By December 31, 2013, SLASTO will post on its website an annual report which details its progress in complying with the AODA requirements and its plans for future compliance. The annual status report will be provided in an accessible format, upon request.

SLASTO will establish, maintain, document and post on its website its multi-year accessibility plan to remove barriers. SLASTO will provide its plan in an accessible format, upon request, and update it at least once every five years in consultation with persons with disabilities.

By December 31, 2013, SLASTO will file an accessibility report through the ServiceOntario portal, using its unique Business Number. The report will detail its compliance with all requirements up to and including January 1, 2015. SLASTO will make its accessibility report available to the public. SLASTO will file accessibility reports as of December 31 for the years: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025 – IASR Section 86.1(1).2.

 

SLASTO Consultation Plan

In developing its multi-year plan, SLASTO will work with the Diversity and Inclusion office, as well as the other clusters (Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario and Social Justice Tribunals Ontario) in developing consultations with stakeholder groups to ensure that the policies and plans it has developed to address attitudinal and systemic barriers for people with disabilities are effective and responsive to their needs. Stakeholder discussions will contemplate the barriers to justice an individual with a disability may face in accessing justice and SLASTO’s services. 

As well, SLASTO will consult with stakeholders and personnel to identify the barriers individuals with multiple disabilities and cultural differences face in accessing SLASTO’s services. SLASTO will consult with persons with physical disabilities as well as those with mental health issues to better understand their unique issues when accessing its services.

SLASTO will consult with personnel as to how to remove barriers to SLASTO’s services and allow personnel to function fully in an integrated work environment that is inclusive and barrier free. Consultations will focus on how SLASTO will monitor the accessibility, inclusiveness, appropriateness and effectiveness of its programs, so that it may report back on its successes and identify areas for improvement. This function will be part of the Employee Engagement Committee’s mandate to promote an inclusive work environment which focuses on continuing education and training related to diversity, accessibility and inclusion. The Committee will promote learning events such as lunch-and-learns, seminars and speakers on various topics.

 

Accessible Emergency Information

 

SLASTO is committed to providing its customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. It is committed to providing employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.

Emergency and public safety information includes evacuation procedures, floor plans, information about alarms or incidents that may threaten life, property, operations or the environment. SLASTO is committed to developing emergency plans and procedures before an emergency occurs, in accordance with the Fire Code, to ensure that evacuation procedures provide effective provisions for people requiring assistance.

To assist the public should an evacuation occur, SLASTO will post emergency evacuation information in its reception areas, in all hearing rooms and on its website. 

Training

 

SLASTO will provide training to its personnel on Ontario’s accessibility laws 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 personnel.

By January 1, 2014, SLASTO will ensure all personnel are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessible laws.  Training for personnel on the IASR will be delivered using the on-line course, “The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation in the Ontario Public Service.” Training for personnel on the Ontario Human Rights Code will be delivered using the on-line video “Working Together.”

 

SLASTO will:

 

 

Public Areas

 

SLASTO will take steps to ensure its personnel consider the needs of people with disabilities when designing, procuring or acquiring devices for use in its Public Areas so that they can be used independently and securely.  As part of the site-planning activities for our new facilities at 25 Grosvenor Street, SLASTO will ensure that:

·           the design of public spaces is accessible to wheelchairs or other mobility devices;

·           point of sale devices are accessible to persons using a wheelchair; 

·           photocopiers available to the public are accessible to people with disabilities;

·           hearing room information screens are accessible to persons with low-vision issues by using high contrast colours and clear fonts;

·           card readers on any public photocopier in the public area are easily found by highlighting with strong colours or an indicator light; and,

·           instructions for use of these devices are simple and easy for all users to understand, including people with cognitive, physical or learning disabilities.   Instructions will be available in both a visual and audio format.

 

Procurement

SLASTO will ensure its personnel consider accessibility for persons with disabilities when procuring goods and services, including goods and services acquired through Vendor of Record arrangements, regardless of value. Procurement documents will specify accessibility criteria to be met by vendors and provide guidelines to its vendors as to the evaluation of their proposals as it relates to the accessibility criteria.

SLASTO will consider the following, using the Inclusion Lens as a guide, when procuring goods, services or facilities:

 

Training Procurement

When acquiring facilitators for training sessions and determining room configurations for training or hearings SLASTO will ensure that the location is fully accessible and whether any additional accommodations may be required. Accommodations could include sign language interpretation, closed captioning and materials provided in alternate formats.

 

Other Types of Procurement

 

When SLASTO acquires computers or other desktop equipment, including telephones, it will consider whether the systems have the capacity for adaptive technology upgrades such as voice activated software or large fonts.

When SLASTO acquires office furniture through an approved VOR arrangement, suppliers must be capable of supplying furniture and attachments which can be used by persons with disabilities, and individuals with accommodation needs.

When SLASTO acquires temporary help through an approved VOR arrangement, suppliers are required to provide temporary help workers who are sensitive to the needs and diversity of OPS employees and the public it serves. SLASTO management will ensure that the workers supplied meet this requirement and bring any concerns to the agency’s attention. When screening, interviewing and testing temporary help workers, SLASTO is committed to ensuring a barrier-free recruitment process and any testing required is reliable, valid and based on bona fide job requirements. 

As of January 1, 2013, as per the IASR, when SLASTO acquires video production services to produce training videos for personnel and the public, it is considered new content to be housed on any new website, proponents will meet the WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility requirements.  Exceptions include (live) captions and (pre-recorded) audio descriptions. To be in compliance, SLASTO will require that the successful vendor provide the Tribunal with video products that:

·         are available in accessible formats and demonstrate diversity;

·         incorporate accommodations for persons with disabilities including open captioning transcripts, audio description and ASL/LSQ interpretation (standard 30 frame/second for sign language interpretation insert) or providing a transcript;

·         ensure language in the videos is consistent with the Ministry document “Talk About Disabilities:  Choose the Right Word.”

  

Accessible Feedback Processes

 

SLASTO will, by January 1, 2014, ensure that its feedback processes are accessible by making its complaint process available online and, upon request, in other various accessible formats. SLASTO will require any documents posted on its website be made available in an accessible format before it is posted to the website. Processes must allow for feedback in a variety of ways, including in person, by telephone, writing or email. The feedback policy will detail the specific actions SLASTO will take when a complaint is received. Comment cards or surveys will be provided in accessible formats upon request.

 

All accessibility and feedback requests are monitored and reported to the Manager.

 

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

By January 1, 2015, communication supports and accessible formats will be provided, upon request and in a timely manner, to individuals that require assistance in communication, such as:

·         accessible electronic formats such as HTML and MS Word

·         Braille

·         accessible audio formats

·         large print

·         text transcripts of visual and audio information

·         reading written information aloud to a person, upon request

·         exchanging hand-written notes or providing a note taker or communication assistant

·         captioning or audio description

·         assistive listening devices

·         augmentative and alternative communication methods and strategies such as the use of letter, word or picture boards, and devices that speak out messages

·         sign language interpretation and intervener services

·         repeating, clarifying or restating information

 

SLASTO personnel will consult with the client making the request to determine their accessibility needs. No additional fees will be charged to provide the alternate format.  SLASTO will notify the public that it will provide accessible formats and communication supports on its website or through its published materials.

NOTE:  Some materials such as large maps and diagrams may be difficult or impossible to convert into an accessible format. If SLASTO, upon consultation with the person making the request, determines that it is unable to convert the information, it will explain why it is unable to provide the document and provide a summary of its contents.

SLASTO is committed to reviewing its public and internal documents to ensure documents are created using accessible formats. In 2014, SLASTO’s communications personnel will be trained to prepare documents using formatting tools to ensure documents are accessible using reading devices such as JAWS and voice recognition software. Tribunal decisions will be formatted and made available on SLASTOs’ website in accessible formats.  

In 2014, SLASTO will provide guidelines to its personnel on preparing emails and documents using accessible formats (e.g., font type, font size, colour contrast, plain language). SLASTO will encourage personnel to embed e-mail attachments in the body of the e-mail rather than as attachments. When preparing documents, personnel will be taught to use pre-set headings, styles for formatting and tables of contents. Personnel will be trained on how to make PDF documents accessible and to avoid the use of PDF attachments to relay information, where possible.

SLASTO has assistive hearing devices available for many of its hearing rooms located in its Toronto offices. SLASTO has committed to configuring additional hearing rooms for assistive hearing devices by 2015. Alternate methods of providing access to the adjudicative process such as telephone and video conferencing are also under consideration.

 

Accessible Employment Practices

 

SLASTO will, by January 1, 2014, establish processes to ensure that it meets the accessible employment practices by:

·         incorporating accessibility in its recruitment practices;

·         providing job-related information in accessible formats, upon request;

 

SLASTO will have in place orientation materials for personnel which detail accessibility, diversity and health and safety training that they are required to complete. SLASTO will ensure that all personnel have received an active offer of accommodation and have individualized accommodation plans, if required.

OPS recruitment personnel have removed barriers from job advertisements. All job advertisements are in plain language, available in alternate formats and include information for applicants on how to request accommodation or assistance.  

SLASTO management will work with its Human Resource professionals to review its resume screening practices and interviewing practices to ensure barriers are removed. 

SLASTO’s hiring managers will be required in 2014 to review new training materials, “Manager’s Guide to Removing Barriers from the Recruitment Process” and a “Barrier-Free Interview and Selection Best Practices” checklist. In addition, management will employ the techniques set out in the “Best Practices in Recruitment Tip Sheet” to ensure that hiring practices are fair, transparent and consistent.

 

Accessible New Websites and Web Content

 

SLASTO will, by January 1, 2014, ensure that any new websites and web content on them are accessible to people with disabilities by conforming with WCAG 2.0 level A.

SLASTO will, by January 1, 2021, ensure that all internet websites and web content conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AA by, except where meeting the requirement is not practicable, preparing for the transition over the upcoming years. SLASTO personnel will audit its site for compliance issues and review the standards set out in WCAG 2.0 Level AA to ensure that its websites will meet compliance.

In 2013-14, SLASTO commits to reviewing its online web-based appeal forms to ensure they are accessible and in compliance with the IASR. SLASTO’s clients will receive better online service through an accessible application process that meets the needs of Ontarians.

 

Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces

 

SLASTO will ensure that the design of any public spaces, such as its hearing rooms, pubic areas at the various SLASTO offices and internal office space for use by its personnel are accessible by conducting a threat risk assessment (TRA) to ensure that it has included accessibility considerations in its design. SLASTO will work closely with an architect from Facilities Branch, Ministry of the Attorney General, in designing and developing its space in accordance with good accessibility design principles to ensure that it does not inadvertently create barriers to accessibility, and to capitalize on opportunities to increase accessibility when changes are being made to its space.

SLASTO will continue to work to maintain an inventory of accessible locations and hearing rooms across the province. 

 

Capital Projects

 

All new SLASTO capital projects and construction will meet the design and construction requirements for barrier-free designs in Ontario government facilities. SLASTO will use the OPS Inclusion Lens as a tool to improve the accessibility assessments of capital proposals. The lens has components which are designed to assess accessibility when programs are developed and reviewed.


Definitions and Terms

 

AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

 

SLASTO: Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario

 

IASR: Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (Ontario Regulation 191/11)

 

Extranet website: a controlled extension of the intranet, or internal network of an organization accessible to outside users over the Internet .

 

Internet website: collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and is accessible to the public.

 

Intranet website: an organization’s internal website that is used to privately and securely share any part of the organization’s information or operational systems within the organization and includes extranet websites.

 

New intranet website: either an intranet website with a new domain name or an intranet website with an existing domain name undergoing a significant refresh.

 

WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines