2010–2011 Accessibility Plan

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 sets out the roadmap to make Ontario accessible by 2025. Under this act, accessibility standards are being developed and implemented to break down barriers in key areas of everyday life.

These standards will increase accessibility for people with disabilities in the areas of customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the built environment.

The Government of Ontario is preparing to lead the way towards an accessible province.  In 2010 the Government of Ontario was the first public service organization to report compliance with the first standard — Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation (Ontario Regulation 429/07).

Each year, the government sets the course to prevent, identify and remove barriers through annual accessibility plans required under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). 

Building on last year's plan, the 2010-2011 Accessibility Plan will continue moving the Ministry of the Attorney General towards the goal of an accessible province for all Ontarians.

The Accessibility Coordinator service is a key priority for the ministry.  Coordinators play a critical role in providing accessible services to court users with disabilities.  In 2010, the ministry expanded this function to satellite and fly-in court locations and Accessibility Coordinator services are now in place in all courthouses operated by the province of Ontario. The ministry completes ongoing analysis of the way accessibility services are provided by the coordinators, and has found that the service is generally working well. The ministry will continue to improve the service by developing supplementary policies, procedures or guidance and training for the coordinators to assist them in responding to recurring accommodations and more complex accommodations.

The ministry is also pleased to report on progress and plans to increase the accessibility of information and communications, enhance accessibility in our courthouses and other ministry buildings, and raise awareness about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

To view other ministries' ODA Accessibility Plans please visit: Ontario.ca.

Report on Accessibility Achievements for 2009-2010

Focus Area: Customer Service

Achievements

  • To achieve compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, the ministry accomplished the following:  
    • Adopted the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy. Some divisions developed or updated policies, procedures and/or guides that are specific to providing accessible programs and services in their areas (e.g., Court Services Division, Victim / Witness Assistance Program).
    • Posted information about its accessibility policies on the ministry's website.  Information includes "Our Commitment to Accessibility", a description of the ministry's accessible customer service policies, how to request accommodation to access the ministry's services, and how to provide feedback about the accessibility of ministry services.
    • Created an accessibility training policy that requires the ministry to identify, support and monitor accessibility training for ministry employees and external service providers who provide service on behalf of the ministry.  The ministry creates a yearly accessibility training plan that identifies any new training requirements for existing and new staff to increase their knowledge and understanding of accessibility. All new ministry employees or employees moving into customer service or management positions must take mandatory accessibility training within 60 days of starting their positions. 
    • Required that all ministry employees complete the on-line training "May I Help You:  Serving Customers with Disabilities".  Employees who serve the public and develop or make decisions on policies, procedures and practices about serving the public took training on the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service.  Supplementary training was provided on any division-specific policies about accessible customer service. 
    • Sent letters organizations and individuals that provide service on behalf of the ministry asking that they take accessible customer service training.
    • Established an Accessible Customer Service Feedback Process.  A supplementary guide was developed for all staff on how to respond to feedback about how we provide services to people with disabilities.  Implemented service disruption protocols in all service locations to ensure that the public will be notified if there are disruptions to services or facilities that may impact on accessibility.  Alternate service arrangements are put in place as appropriate.  Ministry procedures were developed that set out requirements in the event of planned or unexpected disruptions to these facilities or services.  The procedures also include requirements to conduct regular inspections of accessibility features and equipment to ensure they are in good working order and repairs are made promptly when needed.
  • Court Services Division, working with the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat and Criminal Law Division, continued to implement the Accessibility Coordinator function.  Court users with disabilities who need to attend or receive services at any provincial courthouse can contact the Accessibility Coordinator for advice.  Contact information for Accessibility Coordinators can be found in the Court Address section of the ministry's website (http://www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral), by telephone (416-326-2220 or 1-800-518-7901), or by TTY  (416-326-4012 or 1-877-425-0575).

    Specific accomplishments include:

    • Posted information about how to request accommodation on the ministry's website and at service locations across the province.  Large print and braille handouts are available. 
    • Sent letters were sent to the judiciary about the Accessibility Coordinator (AC) function.  The ministry will be communicating with disability organizations, legal services organizations, and others in the justice sector about the AC function early in 2011.
    • Established a centralized phone number and TTY number where people may call if they have questions about accessibility or need to find out which Accessibility Coordinator they should contact to make their accessibility-related request.
    • Evaluated the AC function which is in place in all full-time courts and found it to be generally working well. Improvements will continue to be made.
    • Expanded the AC function to courts satellite and fly-in courts, which do not operate full time. This included developing and implementing policy and procedures that are unique to providing AC services in these locations.
  • The ministry takes immediate action on feedback as appropriate.  For example, an automatic door opener was installed on a washroom, and TTY line was fixed when the ministry was informed that is was not working.  Feedback continues to inform accessibility initiatives in the following areas:
    • Training and operational policies to support Accessibility Coordinators in effectively responding to accommodation requests.
    • Policy/procedures that will be developed about the use of fragranced products and guidance on accommodating people with multiple chemical sensitivities.
    • Accessible Design Guidelines for courthouses.
    • Enhanced strategy that will be developed providing sign language interpreter services in courts. 
  • To continue to build awareness and understanding about how to provide accessible services, some areas of the ministry have provided additional training and presentations to staff that are specific to the work that they do:
    • In the fall of 2010, designated staff in the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat received training on MyTTY technology.  This builds upon the implementation of MyTTY in designated offices across the province.  Any TTY user who receives services and support from the victim / witness assistance program can be served at any office that has a MyTTY.
    • The Supervised Access Program has made arrangements to provide a presentation to the senior coordinators at Supervised Access Centres to help them understand what it is like to have a disability and ways of addressing barriers.  Senior Coordinators will use this information to improve accessibility of their centres' services.  Planning is underway to hold the session in October 2010.
    • Legal Services Division provided a presentation to their head office staff and office managers about accessible print for people who have vision disabilities.  The division is also working with their office managers to embed accessibility plans into their work.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Achievements

  • The Communications Branch has redesigned the ministry's main website, which includes improvements to accessibility and is consistent with the standards under the Ontario Public Service (OPS) web framework that was developed by the Ministry of Government Services.  Improvements include:
    • Cleaner and simpler website layout and plain language content to make it easier to read.
    • Larger fonts and higher contrast.
    • Work to ensure that documents are available in various file formats for those who use assistive devices.
    • Work to provide pages which have all content in text.  When images are used, work to provide alternative text or descriptions to convey the meaning of the image.

      These improvements will benefit everyone, including people with disabilities, and support the ministry's readiness for compliance with the upcoming Accessible Information and Communications Standard.
  • The Communications Branch also launched a major redesign of the ministry's main intranet site, and ensured that the site is accessible to employees with disabilities. 
  • The Criminal Law Division continues to ensure that CLDnet (the division's intranet site) is accessible to employees with disabilities (e.g., proper formatting and ensure that images have alternative text descriptions). The government's new accessibility assessment tool will be used to evaluate CLDnet to identify further accessibility improvements that can be made to the site.  The division continues to educate their website content providers on the importance of making content, attachments and any images accessible. 
  • The Accessibility Unit, working with a cross-ministry working group, is developing procedures and guidelines for responding to requests for alternate formats of documents, and creating accessible documents for the broader public audience.  This includes court-related documents and documents that relate to other ministry services and programs.  Procedures and guidelines will be complete by December 2010. 
  • The Ontario Victim Services Secretariat (OVSS) developed operational procedures for printing braille documents, utilizing their in-house braille printer.  Procedures are posted on the OVSS intranet site for all staff.
  • Court Services Division is developing a strategy to increase the availability of sign language interpreters in courts.  While work on this strategy will continue and will include consultation with the Deaf community, key achievements for 2010 include the following:
    • Successfully used remote interpretation for sign language matters.
    • Expanded the use of sign language interpreters to all courtroom matters and at court office counters and communicated this policy change internally and externally.
  • The Ontario Victim Services Secretariat (OVSS) has updated its standard letters that go to clients of the victim / witness assistance program to ensure they are written in plain language.  All electronic communications (e.g., letters to stakeholders, information about programs) are now made available in both PDF and accessible Microsoft Word.  This is done so that people with disabilities who cannot use PDF documents have access to the information in another format.  
  • The Supervised Access Program has updated all its forms and complaints process so that they are written in plain language.
  • Court Services Division has incorporated accessibility and plain language principles into the design of some court forms and documents that are used for small claims, civil and family court matters.  This includes the following:
    • Incorporated plain language principles, to the extent possible, in new documents about small claims court and civil rules of procedure.  These documents are provided at courthouses and on the ministry's website.
    • Made Small Claims Forms clearer and easier to use, which are now available on the Ontario Court Forms website.
    • Incorporated plain language principles and accessibility to the extent possible, in the newly designed Ontario Court Forms Assistant.  The Forms Assistant is an online bilingual program that guides the user through a series of plain language questions to assist them in their completion of 11 small claims and family court forms. 
  • Local Business Continuity Plans have been revised to meet the ministry's accessible Microsoft Word guidelines.  These documents are now accessible to employees who may use assistive devices to read their computer documents and can be more easily converted to alternate formats if requested. 
  • Facilities Management Branch ensures that as new courthouses are built, they include assistive listening devices in all courtrooms.  This contributes to the ministry's efforts to improve the communications environment in courtrooms for people who have a hearing loss.

Focus Area: Built Environment

Achievements

  • Facilities Management Branch has developed draft Accessibility Design Guidelines to ensure courthouses in Ontario will be accessible to people with disabilities. Guidelines may need to be updated for consistency with the Accessible Built Environment Standard currently under development under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. 
  • Accessibility continues to be incorporated into planning studies for new consolidated courthouses and feasibility studies for major facilities projects, such as those for courthouses in Quinte, St. Thomas, Thunder Bay, Toronto West, and Waterloo.
  • All accommodation projects were assessed for accessibility and budgeted accordingly.
  • Individual accessibility projects which do not require significant retrofitting are being implemented across the province.  Examples include:  improved signage for courthouses, assistive listening devices in courtrooms, and redesign of offices and public counters to be more accessible.  This will continue into 2011.
  • Accessibility is now requested in all new leases.  During 2009-2010, two ministry leases were renewed, and accessibility was negotiated in both of these. Facilities Management Branch uses the accessibility checklist developed in 2009-10 with Ontario Realty Corporation when negotiating accessibility in leases.
  • A courthouse wayfinding and signage standard has been developed to make it easier for everyone, including people with disabilities, to find their way around courthouses.  The ministry anticipates the new signage standard will be installed at the Barrie Courthouse by March 2011.  In addition to the Barrie Courthouse, accessible signage will be piloted in each region of the province in 2011.  The ministry plans to select sites which offer unique signage and wayfinding challenges (e.g., large buildings, small buildings, heritage buildings, greater number of courthouse users who speak Aboriginal languages.)   Over time, the ministry strategy will incorporate the signage standard in all base courts within the province.  The standard will be incorporated into new courthouses such as Durham, Waterloo, St. Thomas, Quinte, Thunder Bay, and Toronto West.

Focus Area: Employment

Achievements

The ministry's Diversity and Inclusion Branch rolled-out the Mentoring for Diversity and Inclusion program.  The program is one of the key initiatives of the ministry's Diversity & Inclusion Plan and supports the goal of advancing diversity and inclusion in Ontario Public Service workplaces. 

The program is currently limited to senior management and non-bargaining unit staff who are a part of one or more of five groups, including persons with a disability. In 2011, it will be expanded to include bargaining unit staff.

The program provides senior leaders (Assistant Deputy Attorney Generals, some Directors) with the opportunity to directly learn about the issues, experiences and challenges that employee partner participants may face or have faced because of their background.   Employee partners will benefit from gaining access to the senior leaders in our ministry through a minimum of six meetings or contacts over a twelve month period.

Focus Area: Other

Achievements

  • Court Services Division incorporated accessibility into a number of key policy and program initiatives in 2010:
    • Incorporated information about how to make accessibility needs known during the jury process as part of updated jury information prepared for the public, and incorporated accessibility considerations into the automated jury information telephone line.
    • Included accessibility considerations in the project planning for a multi-year project to review and update the Courts Information Management System (an information management system that will be used by both the public and ministry staff).
  • Under the Police Services Act, municipal police services are responsible for delivering court security services in Ontario.  The ministry has been working with the judiciary, the municipal and policing sectors, and justice sector stakeholders to develop a framework for court security standards.  Accessibility is one of the guiding principles identified for the development of court security standards, to ensure that any new standards do not impede access to the courts and meet all accessibility-related legislative, regulatory and policy requirements.  Work on this will continue into 2011.
  • The Business Continuity and Emergency Management Unit now includes accessibility considerations in their business continuity plans (the process for ensuring that time-critical services are delivered in the event of an emergency): 
    • The public will be notified if there are disruptions to services and facilities that may impact on accessibility, and alternate arrangements will be put in place as appropriate.  All local Business Continuity Plans for courthouses and other ministry facilities will contain completed Notice of Service Disruption templates by November 2010.
    • In the event of emergencies that make primary ministry facilities unavailable or inaccessible, it may be necessary to relocate the delivery of time critical services to an alternate service delivery location.  Local Business Continuity Plans include checklists to help the ministry select alternate locations that are accessible such as automatic door openers on building entrances, accessible washrooms and other features.

Report on Accessible Customer Service Requirements

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) came into force on January 1, 2008.  All OPS ministries were required to comply with the Regulation by January 1, 2010. 

The OPS was the first public organization to file their compliance report with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in January 2010. In order to sustain compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation, it is vital that ministries continue to look for opportunities through their accessibility planning process, to continue embed accessibility in all areas of planning, programs and policies.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: Ongoing

Program Service

Continue to monitor the ministry's compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service regulation.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry's Accessibility Executive Steering Committee and all divisions will:

  • Undertake a compliance assessment in the fall of 2010 that will be incorporated into the Ontario Public Service's compliance report.
  • Continue to monitor compliance with mandatory training requirements on accessible customer service.

Implementation Timeframe:

November 2010 to November 2011

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: Ongoing

Continue to update the accessibility training plan yearly to offer employees opportunities to expand their awareness, knowledge and expertise about accessibility.

Planned Action(s):

  • The Accessibility Unit will update the ministry's yearly accessibility training plan by December 2010.  The plan will consider any new courses created by the Ontario Public Service Diversity Office and other ministry-specific training needs and resources.
  • Once the ministry's training plan is complete, all divisions will incorporate training into divisional learning plans.
  • The Accessibility Unit will continue to maintain AccessMAG, the ministry intranet site, and post useful resources for building awareness about accessibility on the site (e.g., on-line videos or other guides on disability and accommodation techniques).

Implementation Timeframe:

October 2010 to October 2011 (Ongoing)

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: New   

Continue to review and take action on feedback received about accessibility. 

Planned Action(s):

  • All areas of the ministry will continue to maintain the Accessible Customer Service Feedback Process.
  • The Accessibility Unit will establish a process to systematically monitor and address barriers to people with disabilities that are identified through the feedback process.

Implementation Timeframe: 

January 2010 to October 2011 (Ongoing)

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: New

Continue to improve the Accessibility Coordinator function.  The coordinators provide information about accessibility services available in each courthouse, and respond to the accommodation needs of court users with disabilities, working with others as needed.

Planned Action(s):

Court Services Division, Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, and Criminal Law Division will work together to:

  • Continue to analyse and identify enhancements to the Accessibility Coordinator function.
  • Update and expand operational policies and procedures on effectively responding to accommodation requests.
  • Develop and offer updated training to Accessibility Coordinators.
  • Add information to key court forms and other documents to inform people using the forms that they can request accessibility-related assistance through the Accessibility Coordinator.

Implementation Timeframe:

October 2010 to October 2011

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: Ongoing 

Improve the delivery of service to court users with neurological disabilities, mental health disabilities, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and acquired brain injuries.

Planned Action(s):

  • The Accessibility Unit, working with a cross-ministry working group, has developed a draft plan for how the ministry will provide specialized resources and training about serving court users with mental health conditions, neurological disabilities, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and acquired brain injuries.  A number of existing informational resources and training packages were reviewed, many of which will be made available to ministry staff. 
  • The Accessibility Unit will:
    • Develop a section on AccessMAG (the accessibility intranet site for the ministry) to post specialized resources.
    • Provide training and resources for Accessibility Coordinators and other staff on serving people with these types of disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe: 

June 2010 to March 2012

Focus Area: Customer Service and Other

Commitment: New 

Continue to incorporate accessibility into procurement processes (e.g., new contracts and other vendor agreements, scoring of procurement proposals).

Planned Action(s):

  • The ministry will continue to incorporate accessibility into specific procurement initiatives.  This includes, for example, requiring that vendors build accessibility into the services or goods purchased by the ministry so that they are accessible to people with disabilities. 
  • The Ministry of Government Services (MGS) will be updating the accessibility requirements of the procurement directive and operating policy that applies to the government.   Once updated, the Ministry of the Attorney General's Controllership Unit, working with the Accessibility Unit, will lead the implementation within the ministry.  For example, staff training and guidelines will be developed to supplement the MGS tools, as needed.  This will be completed in stages between 2011 and 2013.

Implementation Timeframe: 

October 2010 to March 2013

Information and Communication Commitments

Information and the methods of communication are key to delivering many government programs and services to the public. It is essential that we provide the same quality and service to everyone in the province.

In anticipation of the pending standards guiding Information and Communications, the government of Ontario is continuously looking for opportunities to prevent and remove barriers to person with disabilities when creating, procuring, conveying, receiving or distributing information and communications to the public.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing 

Provide accessible formats of documents that are available to the public (e.g., web materials, guides on using ministry services, court-related documents, etc).

Planned Action(s):

  • All divisions will implement procedures and guidance developed in the fall of 2010 about responding to requests for alternate formats and creating accessible documents for the public.
  • The Accessibility Unit, working with all divisions, will:
  • Communicate to the public about the availability of accessible and alternate formats.
  • Communicate procedures to all staff, including procedures for sending PDF documents and emails in a way that ensures that they are accessible to everyone.
  • Develop a training strategy about how to create accessible documents, using the training videos that have been prepared by the OPS Diversity Office and other resources.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Fall 2010 to October 2011

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing 

Improve the timely response and availability of assistive listening devices and real-time captioning.          

Planned Action(s):

Court Services Division will:

  • Review any feedback received from customers about how well we responded to requests for assistive listening devices and real-time captioning services.
  • Research how other jurisdictions provide assistive listening devices and real-time captioning in their courts.
  • Review and as needed update existing information and guidance available to staff on responding to requests for assistive listening devices and real-time captioning.
  • Develop and implement operational policies and additional supports, working with other divisions that operate out of courthouses (i.e., Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, and Criminal Law Division).  Consult with disability organizations and other stakeholders in the development of these policies and supports.
  • Inform the public about the availability of these recurring accommodations, and how to request them when needed to access court services.

Implementation Timeframe:  

October 2010 to October 2011

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment:  Ongoing

Develop and implement a strategy to enhance the availability of sign language interpreters in courts.  The strategy will build on the expansion in 2009 of sign language interpreter services in all court services including court proceedings, meetings, and counter services.

Planned Action(s):

Court Services Division will:

  • Continue to work with other ministries to address the need for qualified sign language interpreters in Ontario. 
  • Continue to research other jurisdictions' practices about the ways they provide sign language interpreter services in courts.
  • Consult with sign language interpreter service providers, Deaf people that use sign language, and other experts in the field.
  • Explore the broader use of remote video interpretation as a way of providing sign language interpretation services in locations where sign language interpreters are not readily available.
  • Develop an enhanced strategy for providing sign language interpreters.

Implementation Timeframe:

Fall 2010 to March 2012

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment:  Ongoing 

Increase the use of plain language in external ministry communications.

Planned Action(s):

All divisions will use plain language to the extent possible in new documents in broad use by the public, and consider improvements to plain language when existing documents that are in broad use by the public are reviewed and updated.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Ongoing

Other Accessibility Commitments

Accessibility Improvement Initiatives to Identify, Remove or Prevent Barriers in preparation for AODA standards currently under development.

In anticipation of the upcoming standards the Government of Ontario has planned several corporate initiatives in the following areas, Transportation, Employment, Built Environment and others. The goal of these focus areas is to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel in Ontario, ensure accessibility for people with disabilities across all stages of the employment life cycle and break down barriers in buildings. Many of the corporate initiatives identified for 2010-2011 aim to support ministries in their journey towards compliance with the upcoming standards.

To review a list of corporate initiatives please refer to the Ministry of Government Services 2010-2011 Accessibility Plan.

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing     

Prepare a multi-year accessibility plan to make all of Ontario's government-owned courthouses accessible to people with disabilities. 

Planned Action(s):

The Facilities Management Branch will:

  • In partnership with the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC), complete pilot accessibility audits of Kenora, Lindsay, and Brampton courthouses by March 2012.. 
  • Use the findings from the pilot audits and the draft Accessibility Design Standards to develop the multi-year accessibility plan to make Ontario's government-owned courthouses accessible to people with disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe:

April 2011 to March 2013

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing                

Continue to include accessibility best practices in planning studies for consolidated courthouses and major facility renewal projects.

Planned Action(s):

  • The Facilities Management Branch will continue to apply the Accessibility Design Guidelines to consolidated courthouse planning studies and feasibility studies for major projects.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Ongoing

Focus Area: Built Environment and Other

Commitment: Ongoing                

Reduce and prevent barriers faced by people with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS).

Planned Action(s):

  • In last year's ODA plan, the ministry committed to developing cleaning standards.   Cleaning agents and practices that trigger reactions in people who have MCS would be considered as a part of those standards.  The Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) oversees the development of these standards which will apply to ministry-occupied buildings. The ministry's Facilities Management Branch will continue to monitor the work of ORC as these standards are developed.  
  • The ministry's Accessibility Unit will develop policies/procedures about the use of fragranced products (e.g., perfumes, colognes, air fresheners) in courthouses and other ministry buildings, and guidelines about accommodating people with multiple chemical sensitivities.  

Implementation Timeframe: 

April 2010 to March 2012

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing                

Incorporate accessibility into security systems and equipment to address any barriers to independent access by persons with disabilities.   

Planned Action(s):

  • The Facilities Management Branch will include accessibility in the scope of its security review of facilities.
  • As part of infrastructure planning, Facilities Management Branch is identifying facility renewal projects that improve accessibility, including accessibility of security equipment.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Ongoing

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment:  Ongoing

Incorporate accessibility for people with disabilities in the way security services are delivered in courts.

Planned Actions(s):

Court Services Division will:

  • Continue to work with the judiciary, municipal and policing sectors, and justice sector stakeholders to incorporate accessibility into the development of court security standards.
  • Develop accessibility assessment materials for local court security committees to review, identify and resolve barriers to accessibility in existing court security plans.  Local court security committees include representation from local police services (who are responsible for developing local security plans), the judiciary, the legal profession, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and other court user groups.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Fall 2010 to December 2011

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment:  New

Review local building emergency evacuation procedures to identify and remove barriers to customers with disabilities, and ensure that accessibility is incorporated into evacuation plans and procedures.  

Planned Action(s):

  • The Business Continuity and Emergency Planning Unit (BCEM), working with the ministry's Accessibility Unit, is reviewing a sample of local evacuation plans to identify potential barriers and identify ways to address barriers. 
  • The BCEM and the ministry's Accessibility Unit will work with other areas of the government (e.g., Emergency Management Ontario, OPS Diversity Office) to develop a plan for the emergency evacuation of members of the public with disabilities from ministry facilities. The plan will consider the following:
    • The need for guidance on how to prepare individual building evacuation plans to ensure that members of the public with disabilities are safely evacuated in the event of an emergency.
    • The need for training for ministry staff on the process for assisting in the evacuation of persons with disabilities.
    • An implementation strategy for all ministry service locations to develop and implement local emergency evacuation procedures for members of the public with disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Fall 2010 to March 2012

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment:  New

Incorporate accessibility learning events into the ministry's "Lunch Box Speakers Series" to increase understanding about accessibility and disability in the workplace.

Planned Actions(s):

  • One or more learning events will be made available to all ministry staff by the spring of 2011.  The learning event(s) will involve speakers that are engaging and can speak from personal experience about accessibility and inclusion.
  • Seek input from participants about potential future events and topics in the area of diversity and accessibility.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Spring 2011

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing                

Develop a process to meet the disability-related employment accommodation needs of judges and justices of the peace.

Planned Action(s):

In the fall of 2010, Court Services Division documented the existing process for responding to requests by judges and justices of the peace for disability-related employment accommodations to ensure that there are no gaps in current services.  In 2011, the division will:

  • Consult the offices of the Chief Justices.
  • Finalize accommodation processes and communicate them to judicial officials and ministry staff.

Implementation Timeframe: 

Fall 2010 to March 2011

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

Improve the engagement of employees with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

The Human Resources Strategic Business Unit and the Diversity and Inclusion Branch will develop a strategy to increase the engagement of employees with disabilities, in follow up to the 2009 OPS Employee Engagement Survey.

Implementation Timeframe: 

By March 2011

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

Improve the accessibility of training programs for employees with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

  • This commitment was included in last year's plan.  Work on this has been deferred to 2011 to 2012.
  • All divisions will review current training programs offered by the ministry to determine their level of accessibility and identify areas for improvement.  For example, barriers may be identified that relate to the way training is delivered, the format of training materials, or the physical set-up of the training room.
  • The Accessibility Unit will provide guidance and advice to assist divisions with this analysis.
  • On a go-forward basis, all new training programs will incorporate accessibility best practices to prevent the introduction of new barriers.
  • Where external vendors or partners are used to develop or deliver training, the ministry will ensure that accessibility requirements are built into service agreements.

Implementation Timeframe: 

April 2011 to March 2012

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing 

Improve the accessibility of ministry meetings for people with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

This commitment was included in last year's plan.  Work on this has been deferred and will be complete by March 2012.  The Accessibility Unit will:

  • Review existing best practices on how to ensure that a range of meeting types is accessible to people with disabilities.  This includes, for example, meeting room set-ups, invitations and communications about the meeting, processes for allowing individual accommodations for meeting participants with disabilities, and access to information and discussion at the meeting.
  • Promote existing guidance materials and/or develop new materials that will assist divisions in planning and holding meetings that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe: 

April 2011 to March 2012

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Involve stakeholders who have a disability and disability organizations in the identification, removal, and prevention of barriers in policies, practices, programs, and services offered by the ministry.

Planned Action(s):

This commitment has been deferred from last year.  In 2011, the Accessibility Unit will:

  • Develop a framework for the ministry to consult with stakeholders with disabilities on an ongoing basis.
  • Consider ways to involve people with disabilities and / or organizations that represent them in the work the ministry will be doing on removing and preventing barriers in policies, programs, legislation and regulations.

Implementation Timeframe:

April 2011 to October 2011

Act(s) and Regulation(s) being reviewed to Identify Barriers to Persons with Disabilities

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing                

Assess accessibility barriers in acts, regulations, policies and/or programs, and take action to address barriers so that people with disabilities can access, use, and benefit from services and programs provided by the ministry.

Planned Action(s): 

  • The OPS Diversity Office is releasing an "Inclusion Lens" in the fall of 2010.  The lens provides guidance on preventing and addressing barriers in policies, programs, legislation, and regulations.  The ministry will consider the lens and develop supplementary tools and training for ministry staff that are involved in developing policies and programs.
  • The ministry's Accessibility Unit and Diversity and Inclusion Branch will work together with divisions to develop a plan for identifying and addressing barriers in policies, programs, regulations and legislation. 

Implementation Timeframe:

Fall 2010 to March 2012

Glossary of Terms/Acronyms

AC – Accessibility Coordinator

AODA – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

BCEM - Business Continuity and Emergency Planning

MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

ODA – Ontarians with Disabilities Act

OPS – Ontario Public Service

ORC – Ontario Realty Corporation

For More Information

Questions or comments about the ministry's accessibility plan are always welcome.

Please phone:  Ministry of the Attorney General

General inquiry number:  416-326-2220 or 1-800-518-7901

TTY number:  416-326-4012 or 1-877-425-0575

E-mail:  attorneygeneral@ontario.ca

Ministry website address:  www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral

Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services Accessibility Ontario web portal. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario accessible province for everyone.

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ServiceOntario Publications
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ISSN # 1708-5586
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