The purpose of this policy is for all employees to comply to Ontario’s new accessibility standard under The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). This accessibility policy pertains to all full time, part time, and co-op employees of the Anchor Shoring Group of Companies. This new standard established by the Ontario government will give all employees guidance on great customer service regarding people with disabilities.
General responsibilities for creating an accessible environment for people with disabilities is stated in The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). Any employee who deals directly with the public or any third party are included in this procedure. This standard will affect all employees who provide goods or services, and employ 1 or more employees. The Anchoring Shoring Group will be responsible for developing new policies that includes accessibility, to make sure the company website is in compliance with WCAG, Level A and Level AA by 2021, develop emergency evacuation plans that accommodate people with disabilities, and to ensure that all employees who interact directly with the public are properly trained to handle all situations.
According to section 2 of AODA, the term “disability” is defined as:
a) 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,
b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
d) a mental disorder, or
e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997;
According to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, barriers to accessibility act as an obstacle for disabled employees. Performing simple daily tasks can make it almost next to impossible to complete. There are a number of barriers which can be categorized by visible and invisible. The types of barriers include attitudinal, information or communication, technological, organizational, architectural and physical.
4.1 ACCESSIBILITY PLANS
All accessibility plans or documentation will be available upon request as well as posted on the company website for the public. The Anchor Shoring Group will be trained whenever changes are made to the company’s accessibility policy. Any form filled out by the employee will be kept confidential by the employer unless stated otherwise by the employee.
4.2 Customer service and assistive devices
The Anchor Shoring Group will treat all customers with a disability equally, and receive the same respect and attention as any other customer. All employed personnel with the company will be trained on the various types of disabilities and how the needs of each individual are different.
Assistive Devices are common assets that a person with a disability has. The company will ensure that all employees are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that are used by disabled people. Assistance will not be provided by the employee unless requested by the individual.
A support person is an individual who is hired to accompany a person with a disability to provide service or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods or services. Any support person assisting the disabled will be entirely responsible for the disabled well being, and safety. There will be no fee charged for support persons entering the building but all person must oblige to the Anchoring Shoring Group’s Health & Safety Policy Handbook.
The company welcomes people with disabilities and their service animals. A service animal or “guide dog” is a dog that has been trained specifically as a guide for a blind person. Service animals should never be touched because they are working and must pay attention at all times. It is the disabled person’s responsibly to care for it (i.e. providing food & water). They are allowed on parts of The Anchoring Shoring Group of Companies premises that are open to the public. However, this policy does not apply to service animals that are prohibited by law or by the Anchoring Shoring Group’s Health & Safety Policy Handbook. The company will not be responsible for the well being of the animal.
The Anchoring Shoring Group will provide training to all employees who deal directly with the public or any third parties. All customer services employees will be trained when new updates are made to the company’s accessibility policy.
Individuals in the following positions will be trained:
All information handed out to all complied companies is generic. However, training methods have been customized to suit the Anchoring Shoring Group’s Accessibility Policy. By January 1, 2015, the Anchor Shoring Group will provide comprehensive training to all employees, volunteers and anyone else who provides goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization, as well as all persons who participate in developing the organization’s policies.
Upon request, feedback will be available to all customers who wish to provide comments and opinions on proper accessibility practices performed by any Anchoring Shoring Group employee. All methods will be available in accessible formats and any support required by the disabled person will be arranged or provided.
4.5 EMERGENCY PROCEDURE, PLAN OR PUBLIC SAFETY INFORMATION
The Anchoring Shoring Group have designed emergency evacuation procedures, plans and public safety information for all employees, including those who have a disability. Evacuation plans will be posted in visible locations around the office for employees and public to review. All emergency procedures, plans and public safety information, any notice of disruption, and the accessibility policy will be available on the company’s website to ensure that all information is available to the public.
4.6 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION STANDARD
The Anchoring Shoring Group will ensure the internal company website and any web content published after January 1, 2014 will conform to the World Wide Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A. By January 21, 2021, the company’s internet websites and web content will conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA.
4.7 RECRUITMENT, ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION
All prospective employees have an equal chance of consideration during the hiring process with the Anchoring Shoring Group. During the hiring process, an employer from the Anchoring Shoring Group will inform the applicant of any accessible accommodations that will be available. Discussion of suitable supports will take place between employer and successful applicant. The accommodation policies will be made available on the company’s website for all current employees and any new employee.
4.8 ACCESSIBLE FORMATS AND COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORTS FOR EMPLOYEES
Upon request by a company employee, the Anchoring Shoring Group will consult with the employee with a disability to create a suitable working environment to perform all required tasks. The area and pieces of equipment requested by the employee will be available in accessible formats to suit the employee’s needs. The employer will discuss with the employee any communication supports required by determining an appropriate format.
Any work related injury that prevents an employee from completing their occupation and forced to go on short or long term disability will be directed to the company’s safety manager for further instructions. The safety manager and disabled employee will work together to create a suitable working environment. Suitable work related tasks and practices performed by a disabled employee will fall under the standards and regulations of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
4.9 WORKPLACE EMERGENCY RESPONSE INFORMATION
Since the company’s foundation, the Anchoring Shoring Group have made safe operations a priority. In preparation for an emergency evacuation, all employees will complete a workplace emergency response information form to help employer’s provide the best assistance for those with a disability. If an employee requires emergency assistance, a designated company employee who has provided consent will be responsible for their safety
4.10 DOCUMENTED INDIVIDUAL ACCOMMODATION PLANS
All employees who work within the Anchoring Shoring Group office will be required to fill out an individual accommodation plan form stating any disabilities the employee struggles with. The completed forms will be beneficial to develop in case of an emergency evacuation. Human Resources will keep all documented information confidential unless stated otherwise by the employee.
The Anchoring Shoring Group has developed an early and safe return to work program that is committed to providing safe, suitable and sustainable work consistent with the functional abilities of an injured worker as determined by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, its Regulations and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) policies. The Anchoring Shoring Group’s Health & Safety Policy Handbook contains additional information on the company’s procedures, and tasks in the event of a work related injury to an employee (Page 8, Section 7, Part d.).
To download a PDF copy of this Policy click here.