Accessibility plan: Working towards barrier-free public health services and an inclusive environment

It has been said that almost everyone will experience a temporary or permanent limitation at some point in life, and as people age they will experience increased difficulty with doing the things they usually do.1 The United Nations estimates that people will spend approximately eight years or 11.5% of their life span with a disability.2 According to the Participation and Activity Limitation Study, one in seven or 15.5% of Ontarians have a disability,3 and this proportion is expected to grow in the next 20 years to one in five or 20% of the population.4 Issues of accessibility for people with varying abilities affect many citizens of our service area now and will impact even more people as our population ages.

In Ontario there are two broad pieces of legislation addressing accessibility for people with disabilities: the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA); and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). In response to the reporting requirements of the AODA, the Sudbury & District Health Unit is pleased to present its Accessibility Plan.

Statement of organizational commitment

As a public service, the Sudbury & District Health Unit (SDHU) is committed to identifying, removing, and preventing barriers for people with varying abilities. Aligned with SDHU’s core value of diversity, providing inclusive services leads to better service for people with varying abilities today and lays the ground work for accommodating our aging population for the future. By adopting the principles of universal design, accessibility has broader impacts, assisting children, older adults, families, and just about anyone who appreciates barrier-free access, clear language, and getting the right service when you need it.

The SDHU is committed to meet the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner.

Section one: Past achievements to remove/prevent barriers

This section includes a summary of the accessibility initiatives that the SDHU has completed up to December 2011.

In March 2010, with the support of the Health Unit’s Executive Committee, the Manager of Human Resources and a lead from the Clinical Services, Health Promotion, Environmental Health, Corporate Services, and Resources, Research, Evaluation and Development Divisions formed an AODA task group. The goal of the AODA task group was to review the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Customer Service Regulation and to develop a strategy based on the following principles:

The AODA task group undertook the following:

General requirements

Policies

Throughout 2010 and 2011, a number of policies related to AODA were developed by the AODA task group and approved by the Executive Committee including:

These policies were posted on the Health Unit website in 2011, well in advance of the 2012 requirement under AODA Customer Service Standard. When necessary, these policies may be provided to the public in an accessible format.

Training

The AODA task group provided group training sessions throughout 2010 and 2011 using the online Serve-Ability – Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service Training course available through the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services website. Sessions were held for employees, volunteers, students and Board of Health members. Training included information on the following:

Two brochures about AODA were developed—one for our clients and one for all individuals who provide services for, or on behalf of, the Health Unit.

Contractors and third parties involved with the Health Unit have been provided with our policies and brochure regarding their requirements under AODA as a Sudbury & District Health Unit service provider.

New employees are required to complete AODA training using the Serve-Ability; Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service Training which is available through the Ministry of Community and Social Services website. In addition, there is an online AODA quiz that must be completed after taking the training.

Client feedback

Client brochures and feedback forms are available at all Health Unit offices. Clients have the ability to provide input, suggestions or express concern about our policies or services in a number of ways. A Client Feedback Form, as well as information on our process, is available on the SDHU website.

All feedback will be forwarded to the Director of Corporate Services.

AODA Integrated Standards

During 2011, the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standard (IAS) was established. The Sudbury & District Health Unit was required to meet provisions outlined in the regulation starting January 1, 2012. As such, the AODA Task Group was expanded to include the Manager, Information Technology; Manager, Communications; and the Facilities Manager. The following pages describe the actions taken by the Health Unit to meet these and other requirements of the IAS.

Information and Communication Standard

Emergency procedures, plans, or public safety information (13)5
Complete, December 2011

Employment Standard

Workplace emergency response information (27)
Complete, December, 2011

Section Two: Strategies and actions—multi-year accessibility plan (2012–2017)

This section includes a summary of the accessibility initiatives that the SDHU completed from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2017.

General requirements

Accessibility Plans (4)

Completed: January 1, 2014

Training (7)

Completed: January 1, 2015

Procurement

Completed: December 2012

Policies for the Integrated Standards (Employment and Information and Communication (3)
Completed: 2012 (Written Communication Policy); January 1, 2014

AODA Integrated Standards

Information and Communication Standards

Feedback (11)

Completed: January 1, 2015

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports (12)

Completed: January 1, 2016

Accessible Websites and Web Content (14)

Completed: January 1, 2014 (new); January 1, 2021 (existing)

Employment Standards

Employee Supports

Completed: January 1, 2016

Built Environment

Design of Public Spaces

Required by: January 1, 2017

Make new or redeveloped public spaces accessible this includes:

Section three: Updated strategies and actions—multi-year acessibility plan (2017–2025)

The following section outlines updates made to the multi-year accessibility plan and Health Unit policies in order to comply with recent legislated changes to AODA.

Integrated Accessibility Standards (previously Integrated Standards)

Customer Service

Establishment of policies (80.46)

Completed: January 1, 2017

Feedback process required (80.50)

Completed: January 1, 2017

Information and Communication Standards

Accessible Websites and Web Content (14)

Required: January 1, 2021 (existing)

Looking forward and monitoring compliance

The Sudbury & District Health Unit is in compliance with the legislation and will continue to improve accessibility of its programs and services. Those staff with responsibilities in the areas of customer service, information and communication, built environment and employment will monitor best practices in these areas and make recommendations for improvements to their manager, where needed. The AODA task group will continue and through an agency plan the legislation will be monitored to ensure ongoing compliance.

SDHU looking beyond AODA

The goal of the SDHU Accessibility Plan is to develop by design, SDHU programs and services internally and externally which are inclusive and accessible to everyone. The SDHU Accessibility Plan is part of the SDHU’s overall goal to create an inclusive environment that is accessible to individuals within our community and within the organization who have varying abilities.

As an agency, SDHU has identified diversity as a value and this is identified in the 2013–2017 Strategic Plan. Moreover, the SDHU has incorporated the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Core Competencies (PHCC) within the SDHU Workforce Development Framework and has endorsed the use of the core competencies as a blueprint to guide skills, knowledge and attitude development at the SDHU. One of the PHCC categories relates to diversity and inclusiveness whereby staff will have the knowledge, attitudes and skills to ensure SDHU programs and services are accessible and inclusive for all individuals in our communities.

In order to achieve a diverse and inclusive environment the knowledge of staff regarding diversity and inclusiveness will continue to be enhanced. Individuals working directly with the AODA standards (i.e. employment, built environment, customer service, information and communication) will identify best practices for SDHU and implement these practices into day-to-day work in order to meet the needs of persons with varying abilities. In addition, smaller task groups will be formed to meet specific tasks needed to achieve the ongoing improvements for accessibility at SDHU, e.g. accessible documents; program planning, i.e. enhancing SDHU’s definition and understanding of People with Disabilities (PWD), including unseen disabilities; reaching PWD in all steps of our program planning cycle.

The SDHU Accessibility Plan will be reviewed at least every 5 years and the AODA task group will continue to be an advisory group as needed to support the work of the SDHU and will engage stakeholders for consultation in order to improve accessibility and remove barriers.

In order to monitor the work of the SDHU, a report card will be developed and presented to the Executive Committee and Board of Health on an annual basis.

Making the plan available to the public

The Accessibility Plan is released to the public by posting it to the Sudbury & District Health Unit website at www.sdhu.com/accessibility.

The Sudbury & District Health Unit Accessibility Plan reports on the actions and progress made to meet the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and to identify, prevent, and remove barriers for people with varying abilities.

While the Health Unit is releasing the Accessibility Plan, the act of identifying and removing barriers is an ongoing activity. Feedback on the accessibility plan and the accessibility of sites and services at the Health Unit is always welcome.

Six ways to send feedback or comments

For more information regarding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and other information related to accessibility in Ontario please refer to the Ministry of Community and Social Services website at www.mcss.gov.on.ca.

Summary

The Sudbury & District Health Unit as a public service is committed to meeting the accessibility needs of our community. Through the implementation of this plan barriers will be identified, removed, and prevented for people with varying abilities. The organization and its AODA task group members will continue to work with their respective staff and management teams to review practices and identify specific needs related to accessibility within the Health Unit.

Appendix A: General definitions

Accessible
Easy to access, use, or understand.

Accessibility6
Accessibility means that the ability of people with disabilities will be enhanced to have equal access to opportunities, live independently and contribute to the community. To be sustainable, accessibility must have long term viability as part of the institution’s systems and culture.

Barrier7
A barrier is anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.

An example of each of the different kinds of barriers is shown below:

BarrierExample
PhysicalA doorknob that cannot be operated by a person with limited upper-body mobility and strength.
Architectural A hallway or door that is too narrow for a wheelchair or scooter.
Information Typefaces in reports or on the website that are too small to be read by a person with low-vision.
Communication Sign language interpretation is not available at public meetings.
Attitudinal A receptionist assumes an individual in wheelchair is not intelligent.
Technological A paper tray on a laser printer that requires two strong hands to open.
Policy/Practice A practice of not allowing job applicants an opportunity to complete job testing in alternate formats.

Disability8

Under the AODA  means:

  1. Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  2. A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  3. A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  4. A mental disorder, or
  5. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1197. (“handicap”)

Footnotes

World Health Organization. World Report on Disability. (2011).

United Nations. Some Facts about Persons with Disabilities. (2006).

Statistics Canada, Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. (2006)

Beer, Charles. Charting a path forward: Report of the independent review of the AODA, 2005. 2010).

The number of each IAS provision corresponds to the section identified in the regulation.

University of Ottawa, 2003-2004 Accessibility Plan.

Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2001.

Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.

This document is available in alternate formats upon request, such as: electronic, audio, large font, text only, or clear language summary. Requests for other formats are considered.

The material in this plan has been prepared for specific use by the Sudbury & District Health Unit and adapted from The Region of Waterloo. (2012). 2012 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan: Working Towards a Barrier Free Region of Waterloo. Kitchener, Ontario.

Contact for more information

Sudbury & District Health Unit
Corporate Services
1300 Paris Street
Sudbury ON P3E 3A3
Phone: 705.522.9200, ext. 446
Toll-free: 1.866.522.9200
accessibility@sdhu.com


This item was last modified on December 8, 2017