2014–2015 Accessibility Plan

Table of Contents

Introduction

Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), ministries are required to produce, and make available to the public, annual plans that identify how ministries will identify and remove barriers to accessibility.

The ODA Accessibility Plan (the Plan) is an opportunity to showcase our ministry’s accomplishments and to demonstrate how we are complying with our regulated accessibility requirements.

In 2010, the Ministry of the Attorney General began complying with the first accessibility standard established under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) - Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. In 2011, the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) was introduced, which includes the following phased-in accessibility requirements:

  • Information and Communications;
  • Employment;
  • Transportation; and
  • Design of Public Spaces.

Each year, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) as an obligated organization, confirms its compliance with the requirements of these standards to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. The ODA Plan provides an opportunity for our ministry to go beyond confirming compliance with these regulated minimum requirements. Specifically, the Plan allows us to highlight what we did in 2014 to identify and remove barriers and what we plan to do in 2015 and 2016 to make our ministry more accessible for people with disabilities.

Under the IASR the OPS must create and maintain a multi-year accessibility plan (MYAP) that outlines strategies to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility. To meet this requirement the OPS released Leading the Way Forward in 2012.

The OPS must also develop an annual status report that highlights how it is implementing the MYAP and meeting the requirements of the IASR. In 2013, the OPS released its first Annual Status Report, highlighting progress made in 2012.

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s 2014 ODA Accessibility Plan demonstrates what we did in 2014 and what we plan to do to support the MYAP.

To access the Ministry of the Attorney General’s and other ministries’ 2014 ODA Accessibility Plans, visit Ontario.ca.ur gf and

Section One – Report on Measures Taken in 2014

Customer Service

OPS MYAP Key Outcome:

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures Taken by the Ministry of the Attorney General in 2014:

The ministry is committed to accessibility for people with disabilities in our services and programs. One of the ways we do this is by complying with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and the Ontario Public Service Accessible Customer Service Policy. To find out more please see the ministry’s Accessibility for People with Disabilities webpage.

The ministry’s Communication Branch continues to inform the public about any disruptions to accessible features and services in courthouses by posting information on the ministry’s website. The branch also maintains information on the ministry’s website about the accessibility features for each courthouse.

Below is a list of accomplishments and things we are working on to improve the accessibility in services and programs.

Courthouse Accessibility Coordinator Service

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will continue to provide the Accessibility Coordinator and Accessibility Lead service in all court houses and crown offices.

Measures Taken:

  • The ministry continued to provide the courthouse accessibility coordinator service. Coordinators are staff within Court Services Division who act as the main points of contact for questions or information on accessibility for court counter services and court proceedings. They respond to requests from people with a wide range of disabilities including Deafness and hearing disabilities, vision disabilities, physical and mobility disabilities, anxiety and other mental health disabilities, cognitive, learning and neurological disabilities.
  • Like the courthouse accessibility coordinators, the accessibility leads for Crown Attorneys’ Offices and for the Victim Witness Assistance Program coordinate disability accommodation in their own services. They also work with the courthouse accessibility coordinators to accommodate people for court proceedings.
  • During the time period of April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, coordinators and leads responded to about 436 requests. Here are some examples:
    • Sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices and real-time captioning for people who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
    • Wheelchairs for people to use while at the courthouse.
    • Scheduling of court proceedings at a certain time of the day or in specific courtrooms or spaces to accommodate a disability.
    • A person with anxiety related to using elevators was escorted by staff up and down stairs to and from the floor for their court proceeding.
    • A person with multiple chemical sensitivity participated in a court proceeding by teleconference. She was able to avoid exposure to scents and other chemicals in the environment which cause her to have health reactions. In another case, signs were posted in the court house asking people to refrain from wearing personal scented products to be respectful of people with multiple chemical sensitivities.
    • Someone with multiple health issues had to attend court frequently. Appointments were scheduled with the accessibility coordinator to assist with filing of court documents. This helped to reduce the amount of time this person had to spend at the courthouse.

Training and Awareness about Accessible Services

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will implement the training plan developed for the courthouse accessibility coordinators and accessibility leads. Training will be provided on two topics: accessibility for people with a hearing loss or who are Deaf; and disability accommodation and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Measures Taken:

  • Court Services Division and the ministry’s Accessibility Unit worked together on two half-day training sessions in June 2014. The training was delivered by the Ontario Human Rights Commission and focused the legal duty to accommodate people with disabilities under the Human Rights Code. The disability accommodation process and practical examples were also discussed. Approximately 150 accessibility coordinators and leads attended in-person or by webcast. The training was recorded and will be made available so other staff can benefit from it.
  • The Central East Region hosted a half-day meeting in June 2014 with courthouse accessibility coordinators and leads in their region. The focus of the meeting was to learn more about accessibility requirements that impact on regional operations and to share experiences about providing accessible services in court operations, victim services, and crown attorney’s services.
  • During the fall of 2014 the ministry began planning for training for the courthouse accessibility coordinators and leads on the topic of serving people with hearing disabilities. This training will be organized by the Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division, and will be held during the spring of 2015.

2013-2014 Commitment: The Accessibility Unit (AU) will continue to coordinate the ministry’s involvement in a two-year community project by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Branch to develop a training package for the justice sector on communicating with people with mental health disabilities. The project is funded by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment through its Enabling Change Partnerships Project.

Measures Taken: The ministry continued its involvement on this training project. The ministry’s AU and staff from Criminal Law Division and Court Services Division are active participants on the project’s advisory committee and continued to provide input and advice throughout various stages of the project in 2014. Ministry staff will participate in the pilot of the training, planned for 2015.

2013-2014 Commitment: The Legal Services Division, in cooperation with the ministry’s Accessibility Unit, will explore the needs of OPS legal staff for further training on the human rights of persons with disabilities as it applies in legal practice. This work will include exploring partnerships for the delivery of the training.

Measures Taken: The Legal Services Division in cooperation with the Policy and Adjudicative Tribunals Division and the ministry’s Accessibility Unit decided to develop a course about human rights of persons with disabilities as it applies to different areas of legal practice in the Ontario Public Service. The course will highlight practical scenarios of the human rights of people with a variety of disabilities and of how to meet human rights obligations in legal services. This work will continue into 2015.

Below are examples of other training and awareness initiatives completed in 2014 that aim to increase staff ability to provide accessible customer service and accommodate people with disabilities:

  • Court Services Division launched customer service training in November 2014 for approximately 3500 staff in the division. The training incorporates accessible customer service for people with disabilities. This is in addition to mandatory accessible customer service training that all staff must take.
  • The Supervised Access Program (SAP) organized a half-day training session for their transfer payment agency coordinators in April 2014. The session was about the duty to accommodate people with mental health and substance abuse-related (concurrent) disabilities. Speakers included people from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the ministry’s Accessibility Unit.
  • SAP provides ongoing accessibility training for all transfer payment staff/volunteers, and as a part of the onboarding process for new transfer payment staff and volunteers. SAP also updated its best practices manual to include mandatory accessibility training requirements, and developed an information package and training to support the use of sign language interpreters in their program.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division Diversity Working Group continued to meet monthly to discuss ideas and plans to raise awareness of accessibility and inclusion within their division.

Promoting Awareness of Fragrance Sensitivity

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will finalize and implement a plan for promoting awareness about the health impacts of fragrances and scented products on people who have multiple chemical sensitivities, environmental sensitivities or other health conditions such as asthma and allergies.

Measures Taken: Work on ministry-wide plans to promote awareness of fragrance sensitivities continued in 2014. The Accessibility Unit created posters to promote awareness. Some areas of the ministry have implemented these posters or taken other steps to create a more welcoming environment for staff, judges in courthouses and customers with fragrance sensitivities. Here are some examples:

  • The Policy and Adjudicative Tribunals Division posts signs and sends annual memos to staff to ask them to not wear scented products.
  • The Communications Branch is a “scent-free” area. Staff members are reminded when necessary.
  • Through the use of signs posted in the new Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas, staff and members of the public are asked to refrain from wearing personal scented products. Several other courthouses have similar information posted.
  • The Central East Region of the Criminal Law Division (CLD) posted “scent-free” notices in its offices. As well, the East Region of CLD will be posting a notice in all of its offices during the fall of 2014.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division supports scent-free environments. The Ontario Children’s Lawyer office and the Office of Victim Services distributed awareness posters to all offices, and the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee Office distribute plaques that ask staff to refrain from wearing scented product.

Feedback about Accessibility

On an ongoing basis, the ministry welcomes feedback (such as positive feedback, complaints, and suggestions for improvement) about accessibility for people with disabilities. This feedback is considered as the ministry works to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in its services, programs, facilities and employment. Feedback may be provided in-person, in writing or by phone or TTY. Information about the ministry’s feedback process can be found on the Accessibility for People with Disabilities webpage.

Below are commitments and measures that the ministry has taken that build upon this process for accepting and responding to accessibility feedback.

2013-2014 Commitment:

  • The ministry will review and analyze accessibility feedback received from our customers in order to facilitate continuous improvement in MAG’s programs and services. Divisions will explore ways to track customer satisfaction with respect to accessibility in the programs and services offered by the ministry.
  • The ministry will continue to ensure that it collects and provides feedback information in accessible formats upon request.

Measures Taken:

Each division that provides a service to the public is responsible for reviewing, analysing feedback and tracking feedback and customer satisfaction with respect to accessibility in ministry services and programs.

Here is how different areas of the ministry are doing this, and responding to feedback:

  • The Communications Branch tracks all feedback about accessibility that is received through the ministry’s general inquiry phone line and TTY, email account, and letters. Feedback is forwarded, as appropriate, to divisions for a response. Communications Branch follows up with divisions to ensure responses are taken.
  • In response to feedback from sign language interpreters in the Deaf community, the Communications Branch updated the ministry’s Contact Us web page to clarify the different ways that people can provide feedback, including through a visual language interpreter. It states: “On request, we can provide accessible formats, communication supports and other disability-related assistance. If you require further support to provide feedback and/or complaints, we can offer a visual language interpreter at an in-person meeting or video conference.”
  • Court Services Division (CSD) continues to track all CSD-related correspondence and feedback received by the minister's office and the Assistant Deputy Attorney General's (ADAG) office. CSD informs and consults with the Accessibility Unit about how to respond to feedback about accessibility.
  • In February and March 2014, CSD issued its annual client satisfaction survey which includes specific questions about accessibility. Accessible formats of the survey are provided upon request. The results are published in division’s Annual Report which is available to the public, and are used to improve court counter services.
  • CSD developed a management self-assessment tool about accessibility to support courthouse managers/supervisors in ensuring accessibility in services. A number of requirements for managers are included, such as the requirement for managers/supervisors to discuss with staff ways of improving accessibility and addressing feedback and complaints. This self-assessment tool was put in place in response to feedback received from court users with disabilities.
  • Since 2011, CSD’s client satisfaction surveys for all family mediation and information services have included questions about accessibility. These surveys are designed to be accessible. Alternative formats are also provided upon request. Feedback gathered through these surveys is used to improve accessibility of these services. For example, feedback about the provision of accessible services is discussed at service providers’ meetings to improve responses to accessibility requests.
  • In response to a complaint from a jury panel member with a disability, CSD took action to better ensure accessibility in the jury process and in ministry services. For example, it updated its Jury Management Manual and Courtroom Procedures Manual to clarify steps that are to be taken once a request for disability assistance or accommodation is received in the jury process. The manual was also updated to include examples of the broad range and types of accommodations that may be provided.
  • In response to feedback from a regular court-user with a mobility-related disability, the ministry is replacing a stair lift at a Toronto courthouse to provide a more accessible path of travel.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) division invites feedback through an on-line form, and has four different feedback processes in place for their different programs, including:
    • The Victim/Witness Assistance Program issues client satisfaction surveys, which capture feedback about accessibility. Results are used to improve the delivery of accessible services. For example, the survey results included positive feedback about disability-related accommodation supports provided for clients.
    • The Supervised Access Program makes a complaint form available which includes accessibility questions. The form also tells people they can provide feedback on other ways, such as TTY, Bell Relay, large print and braille. The program uses the results to make improvements when needed.
    • The Ontario Children’s Lawyer has contact information on its internet site that invites questions and feedback.
    • The Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee maintains one point of contact to resolve any accessibility-related concerns. As well, every three months, they canvass managers about any feedback they received.
  • Criminal Law Division (CLD) responds to feedback and complaints about accessibility through their accessibility leads that support all Crown Attorney Offices. The CLD leads ensure that all staff are aware of the process, and document the complaints and work with others to respond.
  • The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) maintains a form on its website to invite feedback about customer service, including accessibility. The SIU is in the process of getting TTY services which will provide another channel for providing feedback.
  • The Freedom of Information and Privacy Office accepts, logs and responds to feedback and complaints about accessibility.
  • The Facilities Management Branch discusses all accessibility complaints about the built environment with regional teams and appropriate actions are taken based on the type of complaints, accessibility design best practices and feasibility. The branch actively engages disability stakeholders by inviting their perspectives about making ministry buildings more accessible. For example, the branch hosted a tour of the new Quinte Courthouse focusing on accessibility features for the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee. All feedback will also be considered in the development of the ministry’s Accessibility Design Standards and Accessibility Implementation policy. Read more in the Accessible Built Environment section.

Information and Communications

OPS MYAP Key Outcome:

Information and communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures Taken by the Ministry of the Attorney General in 2014:

Effective January 1, 2014, under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), the Ontario Public Service (OPS) ministries must provide accessible formats and communications supports when requested for someone with a disability and inform people about making requests.

This section focuses on commitments and measures taken that support compliance with these requirements and the MYAP outcome noted above.

Training and Resources

2013-2014 Commitment:

  • Designated ministry staff and managers will receive additional training about the Information and Communications Standard to support the ministry’s IASR compliance and improve understanding about accessible communications.
  • The Accessibility Unit will identify training resources that help to increase knowledge about accessibility within the ministry.
  • The ministry, in partnership with the Accessibility Unit (AU), will host awareness sessions on the following topics: accessible documents and communication supports; and accessible meetings and events. This will help to support compliance with the new IASR requirement and raise general awareness about these topics.

Measures Taken:

  • All ministry managers and human resources staff were required to take training about the Information and Communications Standard by June 30, 2014. All staff are required to take the training by December 31, 2014. The training is available through the OPS Centre for Leadership and Learning. It covers accessible formats and communication supports, accessible websites, and accessible emergency information.
  • All staff were also asked to review the updated OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy. This served as a reminder to staff about the ongoing and new accessibility requirements such as accessible information and communications and accessible websites.
  • Divisions asked organizations and people who provide services to the public on the ministry’s behalf to take training about the information and communications standard by the end of 2014. In addition, the Family Policy and Programs Branch included discussion about the standard at a bi-annual meeting in June 2014 to make sure that family mediation and information service providers are aware of requirements.
  • In February 2014 the ministry’s Communications Branch and the Office of Legislative Counsel co-hosted an open-forum panel discussion about the benefits of plain language use in legal documents. Tools and resources about creating plain language documents were made available on the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility intranet site.
  • The Accessibility Unit created new resources about accessible documents and communications supports. New resources include a quick reference guide about how to respond to respond to requests about accessible formats and communication supports, information about different types of communication supports available in the community, and information about assistive devices commonly used by people with disabilities such as:
    • mental health support workers available through various community service providers;
    • intervenor services for individuals who are Deaf and blind;
    • real-time captioning services for people who have a hearing loss or other people with disabilities who may benefit;
    • video magnifiers used by people with low vision to assist with reading and visual tasks; and
    • a new communication intermediary roster of speech language pathologists across Ontario who have been trained in providing communication services in justice settings.

All these resources are on the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility intranet site so that staff have access to the information as needed.

  • The Accessibility Unit (AU) promoted online training modules about creating accessible documents that are offered by the OPS I&IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence, and other training opportunities. The AU also offered awareness sessions about access documents. For example, the AU provided a session to the HR Strategic Business Unit about creating accessible Microsoft Word documents. Staff will apply this when updating or creating new documents for their intranet site. The AU continues to work with the ministry’s Accessibility Executive Steering Committee on the development of further training options to build knowledge about how to create accessible documents across the ministry.
  • Information resources about accessible meetings and events are available on the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility intranet site. The AU will discuss with divisions the need for awareness sessions on this topic.
  • Court Services Division published a newsletter which included a number of articles about accessible information and communications. The newsletter was intended to continue to engage staff across the division about key accessibility topics, new information, and requirements.

Informing People about Making Requests

The ministry continues to inform the public about accessible services that are available at the ministry and how to make accessibility-related requests. This information is available on the ministry’s website and has been in place since 2010. Since then, the ministry has increased the number of ways it informs people about the availability of accessible services. For example, between 2010 and 2013, Court Services Division (CSD) has added information to key court forms and documents. Signs were posted in courthouses about making accessibility requests and that assistive listening devices are available. Information was posted on the ministry’s website.

Below are commitments and measures taken in 2014 that build upon this information.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will inform the public that ministry information is available in accessible formats and with communication supports upon request.

Measures Taken:

  • The Communications Branch updated the ministry’s public website to inform people that ministry information is available in accessible formats and communications supports upon request. See the ministry’s Contact Us web page.
  • The ministry updated the Accessible for People with Disabilities webpage to tell people about the availability of accessible formats and communications supports and how to make requests. Information was also added about the availability of assistive listening devices, sign language interpreter services, and accessibility in the jury process.
  • Court Services Division (CSD) updated the jury summons form with new information and instructions for jurors who need disability-related help to participate in jury duty.
  • CSD also added information to six Small Claims Court forms about making accessibility requests for court services. These forms were selected as they would reach as many parties and witnesses as possible. This is in addition to similar notes that were included in other court forms in previous years.

Providing Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

The ministry regularly provides accessible formats and communication supports for people with disabilities. For example, accessible formats and communication supports make up almost two-thirds of the 436 accessibility requests (Time period: April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014). The majority were for assistive listening devices and sign language interpreters.. Other accessible communications requests were for real-time captioning, assistance with taking notes, and alternative formats.

Here are commitments and measures taken that aim to improve the way we provide accessible formats and communication supports for people with disabilities in ministry services:

2013-2014 Commitment: The Accessibility Unit will continue to coordinate a ministry TTY strategy to improve communication with people with disabilities who use TTY’s. Several sites are involved in testing a new corporate computer-based TTY supported by the Office of the Corporate Chief Information Officer. Results of the pilot will be used to develop a plan of action for the ministry.

Measures Taken:

  • Two courthouses participated in a pilot of the new computer-based TTY service to help to ensure a successful implementation. This new service was developed by the OPS Information and Technology Services in partnership with the OPS Diversity Office. It is now available to ministries for implementation.
  • The following ministry locations have implemented or are in the process of getting the TTY service: Nine Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division locations, Court Services Division offices in two courthouses, and the Special Investigations Unit. This is in addition to TTYs that were already in place in other ministry locations.
  • The Accessibility Unit is developing recommendations to support further TTY services in the ministry.

2013-2014 Commitment: Courts Services Division (CSD) will continue working to develop and implement a strategy to enhance the availability of qualified sign language interpreters for court services. In addition, CSD will compile the results of their stakeholder consultations and finalize strategic recommendations.

Measures Taken:

  • Court Services Division (CSD) continued to work on investigating the availability of qualified sign language interpreters in court.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is one of the more frequently requested supports for courts. In one instance, video conference technology was to provide ASL interpretation for a short court proceeding. The only available ASL interpreter was located a long distance from the courthouse. Instead of traveling the distance, she was connected via video conference. The court and client’s needs were met. The interpreter did not need to travel long distances, freeing her up to provide interpretation for others as needed. This experience will be shared with courthouses across the province as an effective use of technology to provide sign language interpretation when appropriate for the court proceeding.

2013-2014 Commitment: Ministry divisions will continue to revise their key documents to ensure that they are in accessible formats. Divisions will also continue to implement processes to ensure that alternative formats and communication supports can be provided to the public and employees with disabilities upon request.

Measures Taken:

  • The Policy and Adjudicative Tribunals Division made its Family Arbitration Form available in an accessible format on the government’s Form Repository site. When developing its strategic plan, the division ensured it was created to be accessible to employees with disabilities. As well, the division created a “how to” guide about creating accessible documents.
  • Corporate Services Management Division (CSMD) has designed standard templates that are accessible. Examples include accessible templates for presentations, business cases, agendas, meeting minutes and briefing notes. All divisional staff are expected to use these templates. Alternative communication methods or formats, are provided upon request.
  • The Family Mediation and Mandatory Information Programs are provided by external organizations. Court Services Division (CSD) works with these providers to ensure all program documents are available in alternative formats, when requested by someone with a disability, at no additional cost to the individual.
  • CSD also continued to work with the Family Rules Committee on the review and redesign of the most commonly-used family court forms to improve readability and accessibility. Specifically staff have explored using internal and external specialists with skills in plain language, adult education and technology to do this.
  • The most frequently used family court forms, small claims court forms and civil court forms continue to be available in an accessible Microsoft Word format. While no requests were received in 2014, CSD provides these forms immediately when requested for someone with a disability. Other formats are provided when requested.
  • Forty-four (44) small claims court (SCC) forms were changed to improve accessibility by providing more meaningful sequence of content. This was done by removing the English/French interlineations which made it difficult for people who have vision disabilities and others to the form. Now each form is available separately in English or French.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) continues to create documents using plain and inclusive language and builds accessibility in all new documents (e.g., Ontario Children’s Lawyer Annual Report, Supervised Access Programs forms). Alternative formats are provided upon request of all brochures and printed materials.
  • VVPD updated their “What’s My Job in Court” handbook. It is written in plain language and pictures have been included to make it easier to understand by a broader audience, including people with disabilities that affect comprehension and understanding. The pictures also reflect a diverse population, including a child using a wheelchair. The handbook is available in hard copy and in an accessible electronic format.
  • VVPD has maintained its process of having the Brockville office assist with requests for braille documents, using their in-house braille printer.
  • Criminal Law Division (CLD) has continued its committee that provides guidance to the division about how to make documents accessible. In regions, CLD’s accessibility leads are a resource and help to respond to requests for accessible formats of documents. More training about creating accessible documents will be provided in 2015. CLD’s committee will continue to modify its key documents to make them more accessible to people with disabilities.

Accessible Websites

2013-2014 Commitment: The AU will work in partnership with the Justice Technology Services (JTS) to support compliance with the accessible website requirements under the IASR.

Measures Taken: The Accessibility Unit and JTS discussed the ministry’s needs to ensure compliance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) in the areas of websites, information technology and related procurement. In response, JTS formed a working group to assess accessibility gaps and propose solutions in the areas of accessible websites, accessible information and technology (e.g., kiosks) and related procurement. This group will help to support compliance strategies for Ministry of the Attorney General as well as the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

2013-2014 Commitment: The Communications Branch, in partnership with the I &IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence, will continue to conduct tests of the ministry’s website and identify issues that can be easily fixed or avoided in the future.

Measures Taken: In 2014, the ministry’s Communications Branch conducted web accessibility testing of the ministry’s main public website. A representative sample of pages and most popular PDF documents were tested and found to be accessible.

2013-2014 Commitment: The Communications Branch will re-write information on the ministry’s public facing website to make it easier to understand and access. The site will be transferred to the new Ontario.ca platform.

Measures Taken: Cabinet Office is leading the transition of ministry’s websites to the new Ontario.ca platform which requires web content to meet accessible website standards. This ministry’s Communications Branch is re-writing all of the ministry’s web pages according to the new platform design. This work will continue into 2015.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry’s corporate services division will conduct plans to ensure that the documents on its intranet websites are written in plain language and formatted in an accessible manner.

Measures Taken: Corporate Services Management Division is currently refreshing its divisional intranet site. The new site will meet accessibility requirements. This refresh is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. Justice Technology Services (JTS) is supporting the division by ensuring the site is designed to accessibility standards, and have provided accessible templates for web content. A selection of divisional staff took training on creating accessible documents to help maintain the accessibility of web content on these sites. Compliance plans for accessible websites and documents will be developed in 2015. Plain language will be considered as a part of that planning.

2013-2014 Commitment: Legal Services Division will review upgrading their portal/intranet site to SharePoint 2010 to enhance accessibility.

Measures Taken: Plans are underway to transition to a new platform for Legal Service Division’s intranet site in 2015. Through this transition, the division will ensure the site and content are accessible.

2013-2104 Commitment: The Justice Sector Security Office will ensure that their current website is accessible and transfer any existing PDF documents to accessible formats. They will also ensure that the forms used by the office are accessible.

Measures Taken: The Justice Security Office is in the process of making their intranet site accessible and transferring all documents to an accessible Microsoft Word format from portable document formats (PDF). This process is ongoing and will continue into 2015.

In addition to the above measures, here is list of other things that were done in 2014 to improve the accessibility of websites for people with disabilities:

  • E-Laws is a website that hosts Ontario statutes and regulations. It is transitioning to the new Ontario.ca platform. The ministry’s Office of Legislative Counsel continues to work with Cabinet Office to ensure that the new E-Laws website will be accessible, consistent with accessible website standards.
  • The ministry’s Project Management Office (PMO) created a training video, including an alternative text format for employees with disabilities who may require this format. Both the video and alternative format are on PMO’s intranet site
  • Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) refreshed its divisional intranet sites..This refresh was completed in may 2014 and meets accessibility requirements. Justice Technology Services (JTS) supported the division by ensuring the site was designed to accessibility standards, and provided accessible templates for web content. Some divisional staff took training on creating accessible documents to help maintain the accessibility of web content on these sites.
  • Court Services Division (CSD) created a new jury orientation video “Jury Duty and You” which is available on the Ontario Government YouTube channel. The video includes closed captions for people who have hearing disabilities or may benefit from the captioned text.
  • CSD made its Annual Report available an accessible portable document format (PDF) and accessible Microsoft Word formats on the ministry’s public website.

Employment

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures Taken by the Ministry of the Attorney General in 2014:

Training and Awareness

This section includes commitments and measures taken for increasing awareness and knowledge about supporting inclusive and accessible workplaces.

2013 – 2014 Commitment: Designated ministry staff and all managers will receive additional training about the Employment Standard to support the ministry’s compliance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, and improve understanding about workplace accommodation for employees with disabilities.

Measures Taken:

  • All ministry managers and human resource staff were required to complete the online training about the Employment Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation by June 30, 2014. Four times a year all divisions review training records and follow up with any new staff who need to complete the training.
  • All managers and supervisors were also required to take training on the topic of preventing workplace discrimination and harassment.

2013-2014 Commitment: An accessibility section will be created online to assist managers in their duty to accommodate staff.

Measures Taken: The Centre for Employee, Health, Safety and Wellness, Ministry of Government Service and Consumer Services offers supports and services for all ministries on accommodating employees with disabilities. The ministry’s HR Strategic Business Unit (SBU) notified managers about the availability of these services, and updated its website with information about employment accommodation and available supports for managers.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will consider revising the 2014 -15 performance plan template to include a request that staff add a learning commitment to their performance plan related to accessibility.

Measures Taken: All staff are required to take mandatory accessibility training requirements apply to all ministry staff. In 2014, all staff were required to take training about the Accessible Information and Communications Standard. While this training is not included in the performance plan templates, the ministry tracks and monitors all mandatory training and follows up with employees to remind them about the training requirements.

In addition to mandatory and other accessibility-related training outlined in other sections of this Plan, the following learning events were offered:

  • In the fall of 2013, some ministry managers attended the JOIN Conference, hosted by the Job Opportunity Information Network. The focus of the conference was “Top 10 how-to’s for employing people with disabilities”. This year, ministry managers and staff will attend the JOIN Conference on December 1, 2014. The theme for the conference is “Focus on the AODA through a Disability Lens” and includes topics about employment of people with disabilities, inclusive design, and others.
  • The ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office, a part of the HR Strategic Business Unit (SBU), delivered training and awareness sessions about diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Examples: an awareness session delivered to approximately 215 managers in Court Services Division (CSD). The session provided managers with tools to effectively support diversity, inclusion and accessibility in their workplaces, including things manager can do to fulfill performance commitments in the area. A presentation was also delivered about inclusive leadership at the Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division’s (VVPD) Manager’s Conference.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) organized a training session for their staff called “Mental Health Starting the Conversation”. The session was held in May 2014 and was delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association. The session focused on the relationship between stress and mental health and strategies for ensuring one’s mental health.

Employee Engagement and Feedback from Employees with Disabilities

This section outlines commitments and measures taken to identify and respond to concerns and needs of ministry employees with disabilities, in order to make improvements to ministry workplaces for our employees with disabilities.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will continue to review the recommendations made by the Employees with Disabilities’ Focus Groups and options will be explored to provide more training for managers about workplace discrimination and harassment. Other strategies for addressing concerns raised through the focus groups will be considered.

Measures Taken: In 2012, the ministry held focus groups with employees with disabilities that explored concerns and recommendations they had about accessibility in the workplace and employment accommodation. Some steps were taken in 2013 and reported on in last year’s plan. In a 2014 the HR SBU consulted with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) about some of the concerns identified in the focus groups. MGCS is now working on a new Disability Support Strategy to improve supports to employees with disabilities and their managers.

2013-2014 Commitment: The Employee Engagement survey will be conducted which includes an assessment of the needs of employees with disabilities.

Measures Taken: All ministry staff were invited to participate in the OPS-wide Employee Engagement Survey conducted in February 2014. The SBU is conducting analysis of the ministry results as they relate to employees with disabilities. This will be used as the basis for initiatives to improve engagement of employees with disabilities in the ministry.

Mentoring for Career and Inclusion Program

In October of 2014, the ministry's Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office, began piloting a new mentoring program called Mentoring for Career and Inclusion Program (MCIP). Diversity training is an essential part of the MCIP experience. Participants are invited to self-identify as being a member of one of five under-represented groups, including people with disabilities.

It is intended, through mentor and partner discussions, that mentors will have an opportunity to understand organizational culture from the perspective of employees under-represented in senior management and understand the experiences, challenges, and barriers that may be faced by employees different from themselves. Partners will have the opportunity to increase their understanding of organizational culture and successful career management through regular interactions with a more senior individual with whom they may not have otherwise connected. The pilot program will run to October 2015.

Accessible Built Environment

MYAP Key Outcome:

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures Taken by the Ministry of the Attorney General in 2014:

Accessible Built Environment Strategy

In 2013 the ministry developed an Accessible Built Environment Strategic Framework to help guide decisions for meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements, and improving accessibility in the built environment and achieve the goal of accessible buildings by 2025. Here are the goals of the framework:

  • Develop and monitor multi-year plans to identify, remove, and prevent barriers in MAG’s built environment.
  • Create ministry Accessible Design Standards and related implementation policies and processes for ministry facilities.
  • Strengthen engagement and consultation with people with disabilities and others with disability and accessibility expertise, to help ensure the ministry’s decisions are informed by current and anticipated needs and industry best practices.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will continue working on its Accessible Built Environment Strategy which outlines how the ministry will achieve accessibility in its buildings by 2025. The following is planned for 2014 and future years:

  • Accessibility audits of court facilities will be conducted to understand which areas need improvement. (Timeframe - On-going)
  • There will be continued development of the Accessible Design Standards that outline advanced accessibility features and best practices for courthouses and other ministry buildings. (Timeframe - 2015-2016)
  • Development of an implementation policy that will outline how the standard may apply to new projects, planning and feasibility studies. (Timeframe - 2014-2015)
  • Creation of a multi-year implementation plan that will outline priorities and projects to remove and prevent barriers in buildings, in incremental stages to 2025. (Timeframe - Nov. 2014 & on-going)

Measures Taken: The ministry continued to make progress on the strategy. Facilities Management Branch is leading this strategy. In 2014, the following was accomplished:

  • Consulted with the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee which is a key ministry stakeholder committee that includes representation from the judiciary, the bar, the ministry and the disability community.
  • Developed a multi-year project schedule and consultation plan, and conducted accessibility audits of two courthouses in support of the standards development.
  • Began the development of the ministry’s Accessibility Design Standards that will set-out requirements based on best-practices for accessible design in ministry spaces. Once complete the standards will be applied to all projects.

This work will continue in 2015 and 2016.

Increasing Accessibility and Removing Barriers – New Buildings, Construction and Renovations

2013-2014 Commitment: The Associate Deputy Minister’s Office - Innovation Office will continue working on a plan to redesign and reconfigure existing office space at 720 Bay. The redesign will allow for more work space and a more flexible work environment which will include a collaborative workspace.

Measures Taken: The Innovation Office’s space was reconfigured with expanded corridors and ample individual work space in each of the three work areas. This increase in open space allows for greater access for people using mobility devices, such as wheelchairs.

In addition to the above, Facilities Management Branch ensures that accessibility is integrated into the design of new and renovated courthouses and other ministry buildings. The branch continues to apply accessibility principles or requirements as outlined in the Ontario Building Code, local by-laws and standards, and Infrastructure Ontario’s Barrier Free Design Guidelines for Government Buildings.

Here is a list of all accessibility improvements made to ministry buildings in 2014:

New Courthouses:

  • Opened the new Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas and the new Thunder Bay Courthouse. Accessibility for people with disabilities was integrated into the design and construction of these courthouses. Features include barrier-free access to public spaces, public counters, courtrooms, jury boxes, witness boxes, and spectator areas as well as more advanced accessibility features, such as height-adjustable lecterns.

Toronto Region:

  • College Park (444 Yonge) Courthouse: Meeting room retrofit to a small courtroom with a barrier-free dais and witness box, construction of a barrier-free public counter for the Crown Attorney office, and construction of a fully-accessible video remand booth.
  • 311 Jarvis Courthouse: Reconfiguration of the court services public counter to include a barrier-free wicket.
  • 47 Sheppard Courthouse: New small claims/civil courtroom to include a barrier-free dais and barrier-free witness box.
  • 361 University Courthouse: Retrofit of Crown Attorney public counter to be barrier-free.
  • Ontario Children’s Lawyer office: Added automatic door openers for all main doorways including the unisex washroom door, modified an existing workstation to accommodate a staff person, widened some doorways, and added an emergency call system to the unisex washroom.

North Region

  • Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse: Basement reconfigured to meet functional needs and fully address accessibility needs for Crown interview rooms, court staff, Law Association, police and the public.
  • Parry Sound Courthouse: Modification of the entrance areas to accommodate staff with physical disabilities.
  • Gore Bay Courthouse: Reconfiguration of Crown Attorney office and kitchenette to incorporate accessibility.
  • Sudbury and Dryden Courthouses: Installation of automatic door openers to meet accessibility needs.

East Region:

  • Ottawa Courthouse: Reconfigured of two public washrooms into two accessible units and addressing accessibility needs through an expanded queuing area.
  • Ottawa and Cornwall Courthouses: Modified of existing 12 person jury boxes to create 14 person jury boxes with accessible juror position.
  • Lindsay Courthouse: Reconfigured the existing counter with accessibility improvements.
  • Peterborough and Cornwall Courthouses: Reconfigured Crown/Victim Witness Assistance Program offices and counter to incorporate accessibility.

Central Region:

  • Brampton Courthouse: Modification of existing jury box to accommodate 14 persons with an accessible juror position. Also, three judicial chambers recently constructed as fully-accessible.
  • Barrie Courthouse: Renovations include retrofit of courtroom to be fully accessible to the public (witness box, public gallery), accessible washrooms for the public, and 3 barrier-free judicial chambers. Construction of an accessible prisoner/lawyer consulting room also underway.
  • Newmarket Courthouse: Modular addition includes accessible public washrooms and courtrooms that are fully accessible to the public (jury box, lectern, witness box, and public gallery). Accessibility improvements also made to the Crown/VWAP offices, including barrier-free public counter, automatic door operator, barrier-free public waiting area, and accessible washroom.

West Region:

  • London Courthouse: Retrofit VWAP entrance and waiting areas to be accessible.
  • Hamilton Courthouse: Retrofit courtroom and judicial corridor to be accessible for the judiciary.

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will prepare for the January 1, 2015 compliance with the public spaces requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation. Accessibility audits that are being conducted as a part of the ministry’s Accessible Built Environment Strategy will include an evaluation of the accessibility of service counters, exterior paths of travel and spaces, and accessible parking.

Measures Taken:

  • The following accessible built environment requirements apply to the ministry:
    • The Barrier-free Design Guidelines for Ontario Government Facilities, established by Infrastructure Ontario.
    • The new Design of Public Spaces Standard under the IASR sets requirements in a number of areas. The areas that have an impact on the ministry are: service counters, waiting areas, maintenance, exterior paths of travel, and parking.
    • The updated barrier-free requirements in the Ontario Building Code which set out new requirements in areas such as interior paths of travel, washrooms, doorways, etc.
  • The ministry's Facilities Management Branch will ensure compliance with all of these requirements. The ministry has plans to ensure that appropriate staff are made aware of these requirements through training.
  • The accessibility audits conducted in 2014 have focused on the accessible design features that are unique to the ministry (e.g., courtrooms). Going forward, the ministry will continue to conduct accessibility audits which include an evaluation of a broad range of accessibility features and spaces, like service counters, as well as courtrooms, washrooms, building entrances, etc. The audits will help to identify areas that need improvement.

Other Accessibility Achievements

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures Taken by the Ministry of the Attorney General in 2014:

In addition to accomplishments noted in other sections of this Plan, below are things the ministry has done in 2014 to support continuous accessibility improvements in ministry policies, programs, services and facilities.

Accessibility in Procurement

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will continue to inform employees of the requirement to purchase goods and services that meet or exceed accessibility requirements. Management staff will be reminded of the accessibility procurement resources provided by the OPS and the ministry.

Measures Taken:

  • The ministry has controls in place to ensure accessibility in procurement. All areas of the ministry receive a “Procurement Strategic Outline” form from the ministry’s Controllership Unit once they start a medium to large-sized procurement. The form provides links to resources about incorporating accessibility into procurement. While working on procurement files, the Controllership Unit regularly refers staff to the ministry’s Accessibility Unit for advice. This process continues and has been in place for a number of years. It serves as a reminder to staff and management about incorporating accessibility into procurements.
  • The ministry’s Accessibility Unit developed a resource about detailed accessibility requirements to ensure website and software application related procurements support the ministry’s commitment not to create new barriers. The requirements will be posted and available to staff throughout the ministry to be adapted for specific procurements as needed.

Here are examples of how accessibility has been incorporated into procurements in 2014:

  • The Facilities Management Branch continues to ensure that accessibility is integrated into all vendor agreements and contracts when designing and constructing new or renovated spaces. The branch also builds accessibility into the procurement of furniture throughout the province by ensuring universal design and flexibility of furniture items that support a wide range of sizes and needs.
  • Court Services Division (CSD) established a new vendor for court transcriptions. Accessibility was incorporated by requiring that the vendor provide help desk services by TTY, as well as email and phone. Also, the vendor is required to make the court transcription request form available in both accessible portable document formats (PDF) and accessible Microsoft Word formats.
  • CSD continued its procurement of Family Mediation and Information Services at courts in Ontario. Service contracts were finalized in April 2014 which included expectations about providing accessible services.
  • Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) ensures that all procurements consider and incorporate accessibility. Accessibility requirements are included in criteria for selecting vendors. For example, VVPD will often rent space for events for staff training and regional meetings and consider features such as accessible entrances, washrooms, and layout of the meeting/training room.

Accessibility Leadership

2013-2014 Commitment: In last year’s plan, the ministry made the following commitments embed accessibility in leadership practices:

  • The ministry’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will continue as the ministry’s Accessibility Executive Champion, and will continue as a member of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee and as a member of the Ontario Public Service Inter-ministerial Accessibility and Diversity Council.
  • The ministry’s leadership team will support strategies what will assist the ministry to meet its IASR obligations in areas such as web accessibility, procurement and public spaces.
  • The ministry will explore opportunities to engage disability stakeholders

Measures Taken:

  • In 2014 the ministry’s Senior Management Committee developed a strategic plan for the ministry supported with three key priorities. Accessibility is embedded in these priorities and the defined strategic goals, helping to ensure that emphasis is placed on strategies that will advance accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • The CAO, in his role as the ministry’s Accessibility Executive Champion, has steered the development of the following key corporate initiatives aimed at ensuring the ministry is well-positioned to meet accessibility goals by 2025:
    • The development of a multi-year accessibility strategic plan that will set clear goals and identify areas of focus for the next 10 years. The development of this plan is in progress and will be completed in 2015.
    • Continued focus on the Accessible Built Environment Strategy in support of the goal of accessible facilities by 2025. For more information, go to the Built Environment Section.
    • As a part of these above initiatives, there are plans to engage disability stakeholders.
  • The CAO continued as a member of the Ontario Public Service Inter-ministerial Accessibility and Diversity Council. In addition, the CAO and other ministry senior management and staff participate on the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (OCAC), which is co-chaired by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General of Court Services Division. Through the OCAC, the ministry gains insight from stakeholders and together with the committee discusses ways to advance accessibility for people with disabilities in courts.
  • The ministry’s Senior Management Committee (SMC) has supported initiatives to improve accessibility in services. For example, under the ministry’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, each Senior Management Committee has committed to hosting learning events aimed at improving staff capacity to implement inclusive practices and addressing barriers to people with disabilities in services, programs and employment. In February 2014 the ministry’s Communications Branch and the Office of Legislative Counsel co-hosted an open-forum panel discussion about the benefits of plain language use in legal documents. Tools and resources about creating plain language documents were made available on the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility intranet site. Justice Technology Services (JTS) is hosting training about creating accessible documents and websites. Planning for this event is underway.
  • In support of the commitment to improve accessibility for people with disabilities across the OPS, the Policy and Adjudicative Tribunals Division (PATD) is playing a leadership role in supporting other ministries in the review of high-impact statutes for accessibility barriers. Fifty-one high-impact statutes are being reviewed in total, including 15 Acts that the ministry supports. See Section Three: Addressing the Identification of Barriers for more information.

Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office

2013-2014 Commitment: The ministry will continue to offer a centre of accessibility expertise and strategic advice to ministry staff and management. The Accessibility Unit will continue to work with the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee and its subcommittees as well as with the ministry Accessibility Executive Steering Committee and the Courts Accessibility Subcommittee to monitor and improve accessibility in the courts and in the ministry.

Measures Taken:

  • The Accessibility Unit (AU) is a part of the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office. The AU continued to offer strategic advice and support to all divisions in the ministry about identifying, preventing and removing barriers to people with disabilities in services, programs, facilities and employment. The unit also coordinates AODA compliance activities and provides subject matter advice on individual accommodations for court users with disabilities.
  • The ministry’s AU collaborated with a leader in the disability community and the Human Rights Commission to deliver a class as a part of Ryerson University’s Access to Civil and Family Justice course (a course in the Masters of Public Policy and Administration Program). The focus of the class was on access to justice and courts for people with disabilities. This was an opportunity for the ministry to highlight the importance of accessibility as a component of public policy and administration.
  • In addition to other projects and activities that are outlined in this Plan, the office supports three key accessibility committees that continued to meet regularly:
    • Accessibility Executive Steering Committee – This committee includes representatives from all ministry divisions and is responsible for steering and advising the ministry on accessibility initiatives, compliance, and planning.
    • Courts Accessibility Subcommittee – This subcommittee includes representatives from Court Services Divisions (CSD), Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD), and Criminal Law Division (CLD). This committee provides guidance and direction on accessibility coordinator services offered for courthouses.
    • Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (OCAC) – This committee provides input about improving the accessibility of the courts. It includes representation from the judiciary, the bar, people with disabilities and the ministry. A variety of presentations and consultations were provided to the committee including accessibility in social justice tribunals, a mental health strategy in development by Legal Aid Ontario, and the development of the ministry’s Accessibility Built Environment Framework. A group of committee members were also provided a tour of the accessibility features of the Quinte Courthouse in Belleville which is one of the ministry’s newer courthouses.

Diversity and Inclusion Support for Agencies and Tribunals

  • Ministry agencies are responsible for preparing their own multi-year accessibility plans as required by the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. The ministry continued to provide support and advice to these agencies and tribunals in matters of diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Here are some key achievements for 2014 that were led by the Office of the Chief Diversity Office for Agencies (OCDOA):
    • Continued to lead all agencies to achieve their compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and support them to develop and implement strategic plans for diversity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives within their organizations.
    • Continued to chair and coordinate an agency-wide Inclusion Community of Practice (CoP) which met monthly. The CoP is a forum for sharing knowledge across agencies about diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
    • Set-up an accessible forms working group to identify training needs and beginning to review and update key forms to make them more accessible to people with disabilities. The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) from OCAC University has provided advice to this group. The work of this group continues into 2015.
    • Hosted a full-day session called “Better Justice through Inclusive Practice”. Half of the day focused on accessibility of information and how to create accessible documents and forms led by IDRC. Agencies and tribunals, as well as ministry staff attended this session which informed plans for converting forms into more accessible formats.
    • Led a project to migrate 20 OPS diversity, inclusion and accessibility e-learning courses and tools to a centralized intranet site for agencies. This provided 1300 agency staff with access to relevant resources and training about diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
  • During the fall of 2014, the work of the OCDOA was transitioned to the ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office.

Section Two: Report on Measures Proposed by Ministry for 2015 & 2016

Customer Service

OPS MYAP Key Outcome:

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures Proposed by the Ministry for 2015 & 2016:

Courthouse Accessibility Coordinator Services

  • The courthouse accessibility coordinator services remains central to the delivery of accessible services in courthouses. Court Services Division, Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division and Criminal Law Division will continue to provide courthouse accessibility coordinator services. Timeframe: 2015, 2016 and ongoing.
  • The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division will take the lead on organizing and offering training to courthouse accessibility coordinators and leads, and other ministry staff about serving people with hearing disabilities. The training will help to ensure the communication needs are met. Timeframe: 2015
  • The Courts Accessibility Subcommittee will also consider and provide other opportunities to build knowledge about providing disability-related accommodations. Timeframe: 2015 and 2016

Promoting Awareness of Fragrance Sensitivities

  • The Accessibility Unit will continue to coordinate work on ministry-wide plans to promote awareness of fragrance sensitivities. Timeframe: 2015

Development of Mental Health Training for Justice Sector Professionals

  • The Accessibility Unit (AU) will continue to coordinate the ministry’s participation in a project to develop a course for justice sector professionals. The course is being developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (Toronto). The training focuses on communicating with people with mental health disabilities in justice-sector settings.
    • The Office will coordinate ministry participating in the pilot delivery of the training. Timeframe: 2015
    • Once complete, the Office will work with divisions to implement the training across the ministry. Timeframe: 2015 to 2016

Human Rights Training for OPS Lawyers

  • The ministry will research and develop the curriculum for a course about human rights of persons with disabilities as it applies to different area of legal practice in the Ontario Public Service (OPS). Timeframe: 2015
  • Once the course curriculum is completed, the course will be offered as part of training available to legal staff across the Ontario Public Service. Timeframe: 2015 to 2016

Information and Communications

MYAP Key Outcome:

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures Proposed by the Ministry for 2015 & 2016:

Communication Supports

  • Each division will consider and identify appropriate locations for the implementation of TTY lines to improve accessibility for the Deaf community and people who have speech impairments. Timeframe: By Spring 2015
  • Court Services Division (CSD) continues to be committed to the goal of improving the availability of qualified sign language interpreters in court for people who are Deaf. In the coming year, CSD will continue to investigate the availability of providing qualified sign language interpreters for court. Timeframe: 2015
  • CSD’s Court Interpretation Unit will work with the ministry's Accessibility Unit on providing best practices and guidance for courthouse Accessibility Coordinators about the effective use of sign language interpreters in courts. Timeframe: 2015

Accessible Websites and Documents

  • The ministry will comply with the accessible website requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). This includes ensuring that all public websites and new or substantially updated internal websites meet the accessibility standards outlined in the IASR. Below are specific activities to help ensure compliance:
    • Communications Branch will continue to build accessible content for the ministry’s current public websites. The branch will also meet accessibility standards as web content is updated as a part of the transition of the ministry’s website to the new Ontario.ca platform. Timeframe: 2015
    • Each division will develop and implement accessible websites and documents compliance plans. Timeframes: Winter 2015 (to develop compliance plans); By January 1, 2016 (to implement compliance plans)
    • The Justice Technology Services (JTS) working group, which was established in October 2014, will continue its work to assess accessibility gaps and propose solutions in the areas of accessible websites, accessible information and technology and related procurement. Timeframe: 2015
    • The ministry’s Accessibility Executive Steering Committee with support from the ministry’s Accessibility Unit will consider and recommend ways to support divisional learning plans about how to create accessible documents. Timeframe: Winter 2015

Employment

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures Proposed by the Ministry for 2015 & 2016:

Employee Engagement

  • In 2014 the OPS conducted an Employee Engagement Survey. All OPS employees were invited to respond to the survey. The ministry will assess findings and develop strategies to respond to the concerns identified by employees with disabilities through this survey. Timeframe: By Spring 2015

Mentoring for Career and Inclusion Program

  • The ministry will continue to pilot a new mentoring program called Mentoring for Career and Inclusion Program (MCIP). Diversity training is an essential part of the MCIP experience. Participants are invited to self-identify as being a member of one of five under-represented groups, including people with disabilities. For information about go to Section 1 Employment: Mentoring for Career and Inclusion Program. Timeframe: October 2014 to October 2015.

Training and Awareness

  • Vicarious trauma can happen when someone’s physical, neurological or mental health is affected when listening to traumatic stories and events day after day. This can happen to ministry employees that are exposed these stories and events as a part of their jobs. To support employees, the Criminal Law Division will continue to explore a divisional initiative involving manager and staff training about vicarious trauma to support employees. Timeframe: 2015
  • The Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office will develop and coordinate training to managers about bias/barrier-free recruitment, selection and employment practices. Timeframe: 2015

Built Environment

MYAP Key Outcome:

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures Proposed by the Ministry for 2015 & 2016:

Accessible Built Environment Strategy

Facilities Management Branch (FMB) will sustain its focus on the Accessible Built Environment Strategy to support the goal of accessible buildings by 2025. Below are FMB’s plans for 2015 and 2016:

  • Continue to build accessibility into renovated spaces (as appropriate) and new courthouses and facilities. Continue to be open and transparent on all accessibility projects for existing and new courthouses. Encourage feedback from staff, stakeholders and the public about how the accessibility of all ministry facilities can be improved. Welcome opportunities to meet with different groups to discuss accessibility concerns. Timeframe: 2015 and 2016
  • Continue accessibility audit research. This audit research will inform the ministry’s accessible design standards and accessible implementation policy noted below. Timeframe: 2015
  • Develop Accessible Design Standards for ministry facilities. Timeframe: 2015 to 2016
  • With the ministry’s internal Accessible Built Environment Advisory Committee, develop a policy for implementing the accessibility standards and guide capital investments for creating accessibility in ministry buildings. Timeframe: 2015
  • Ensure ministry’s compliance with the new Design of Public Spaces accessibility standards, the new barrier-free requirements in the Building Code, and the Guidelines for Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities. Timeframe: 2015 and ongoing.

Other Outcomes Deliverables

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures Proposed by the Ministry for 2015 & 2016:

Accessibility Strategic Plan

  • The ministry’s Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office (DIA) will work with all divisions to finalize the ministry’s multi-year Accessibility Strategic Plan. The plan will set out priorities and activities to achieve the goal of accessibility throughout the ministry by 2025. This includes related supports for staff to increase their capacity to prevent and remove barriers on a continuous basis. The ministry will consult with the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee and other stakeholders on the plan. Timeframe: Summer 2015

Accessibility Unit

  • The Accessibility Unit (AU) of the Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office will continue to offer accessibility support and expertise to the ministry and its agencies and tribunals about preventing and removing barriers. Timeframe: Ongoing.
  • The AU working with divisions, will research specific topics and gaps to customers with disabilities in ministry services. The Office will support consultations with people with disabilities and others to gain a better understanding of barriers and potential strategies and solutions. Timeframe: 2015 and 2016

Section Three: Addressing the identification of barriers

In support of the commitment to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, the ministry will continue to review government initiatives, including Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services for the purposes of identifying and removing barriers.

Accessibility Legislative Review

Recognizing the importance of addressing accessibility barriers in laws that have a high impact on members of the public and persons with disabilities, the government is following a three-pronged strategy that prioritizes the review of high impact legislation including:

1. Development of a standardized process and tools for identifying and addressing accessibility barriers;

2. By the end of 2014, review of 51 targeted high-impact statutes that meet the following criteria:

  • Statutes that affect persons with disabilities directly;
  • Statutes that provide for the delivery of widely applicable services or programs;
  • Statutes that provide benefits or protections; or
  • Statutes that affect a democratic or civic right or duty.

3. Review procedural rules, policies and guidelines for select high-impact legislation, where necessary.

In 2013 the OPS made significant progress in conducting this phase of the review which is estimated to be completed by the end of 2014.

As part of this process, the Ministry of the Attorney General is reviewing the following 15 Acts:

  • Blind Persons’ Rights Act
  • Compensation for Victims of Crime Act
  • Election Act
  • Employers and Employees Act
  • Family Law Act
  • Human Rights Code
  • Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002
  • Juries Act
  • Legal Aid Services Act, 1998
  • Limitations Act, 2002
  • Public Guardian and Trustee Act
  • Real Property Limitations Act
  • Substitute Decisions Act, 1992
  • Trustee Act
  • Victims’ Bill of Rights, 1995

The ministry will continue to report on the progress of the review in our annual accessibility plan.

Links

Accessibility for People with Disabilities at the Ministry of the Attorney General

OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan - Leading the Way Forward,

Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service

Ontario Accessibility Website

Accessible, Fair and Sustainable Services for People with Developmental Disabilities program

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Contact Us

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

General inquiries: 416-326-2220

General inquiry TTY number: 416-326-4012

Toll-free number: 1-800-518-7901

Toll-free TTY number: 1-877-425-0575

E-mail: attorneygeneral@ontario.ca

Ministry website address: www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral

Visit the Ministry of Economic, Development, Trade and Employment web portal. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario an accessible province for everyone.

Alternate formats of this document are available upon request from:

ServiceOntario Publications

Phone: 1-800-668-9938

TTY: 1-800-268-7095

© 2014 Queen’s Printer for Ontario

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