Accessibility Plan, 2008-2009



 
Previous Accessibility Plans:



Table of Contents


Introduction

Ontario is making progress toward building an accessible province by 2025. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) has laid the foundation to meet this goal. Under the act, Ontario is developing standards that will remove the barriers faced by people with disabilities.

On January 1, 2008, the first accessibility standard under the act came into force. Through the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, people of all abilities will be able to get the service they need. Public sector organizations, including the Ontario government, will need to comply with this standard by 2010. Private sector and non-profit organizations will need to comply by 2012.

Next year, more standards will be released in other important areas, including:

  • Information and communications
  • Transportation
  • Employment
  • The built environment.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' sixth annual accessibility plan highlights 2007-2008's achievements to break down barriers for people with disabilities. It also outlines this ministry's commitments in the coming year to make programs, policies and services more accessible for all Ontarians.

Last year, the ministry provided more than $41.6 million to publicly assisted postsecondary institutions to help students with disabilities succeed in postsecondary education. This funding helps to ensure students with disabilities receive individualized services and have access to tools and technologies such as: interpreters; note-takers; offices for students with disabilities; and transcription of educational materials.

Funding also helps universities and colleges improve access for postsecondary students with disabilities and provide support services to help them make a successful transition from school to employment.

This year, the ministry will invest $1.8 million in direct funding to support apprentices with disabilities. This funding will give apprentices with disabilities attending colleges in Ontario access to additional supports so they can participate in apprenticeship training programs including the Pre-apprenticeship Program and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.

Institutions will use these funds to accommodate training to the specific needs of an individual–for example, through large print text and special services such as interpreters–as well as for disability assessment and modifying equipment to train apprentices with disabilities.

This accessibility plan is unique, because it reflects our transition between the AODA and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). The ODA applies to the Ontario government and all broader public sector organizations. Under this act, the ministry develops annual accessibility plans to make its policies, programs, services and buildings more accessible to people with disabilities.

Through the ODA, accessibility planning has laid a strong foundation for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to build on. This ministry will continue to help make Ontario more accessible for people with disabilities and a more inclusive society for all Ontarians.

An executive summary of all Government of Ontario Ministry Accessibility Plans is available.

Report on Status of Customer Service Requirements

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities was successful in achieving, and in some cases surpassing, planned commitments for Customer Service for the past year, outlined in its 2007-2008 accessibility plan. This section provides a status report as of August 22, 2008.

As well, in the coming year, the ministry commits to assess its acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services to deliver accessible customer service to persons with disabilities by January 1, 2010. This section summarizes these commitments.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: Will be complete September 07 – November 08

The ministry will complete an initial review of the ministry's customer service practices, in preparation for the implementation of the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Implementation Timeline: 2007-2008

Results Achieved:

To prepare for implementation of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, a regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the ministry will complete a survey of all offices in the fall. Survey results will identify gaps between existing service levels, and those required under the AODA.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: New

In preparation for the implementation of the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the ministry will continue to address gaps identified in the 2008 initial review of the ministry's customer service practices.

Implementation Timeline: December 2008 – December 2009

Planned Actions:

Continuing the work initiated in the fall of 2008, the ministry will identify and prioritize the actions required to ensure compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service – O. Reg 429/07.

The ministry will implement strategies in priority order to ensure compliance by January 2010.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will promote OPS training modules to employees, to ensure delivery of high levels of customer services to customers with disabilities.

Planned Actions:

The ministry will continue to promote to all staff, the on-line training module May I Help You? Welcoming Customers with Disabilities – Part A. The ministry will promote the on-line training module May I Help You? Welcoming Customers with Disabilities – Part B when available.

Report on Commitments

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

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities commits to assess its acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services to identify, remove or prevent barriers to persons with disabilities. This section summarizes these commitments as of August 22, 2008.

Focus Area: Built Environment

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry through our Corporate Finance and Services Branch will ensure that the new Standards for Barrier Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities released in October 2004 to improve barrier-free accessibility in ministry buildings, are implemented. The ministry will continue to improve accessibility when planning major capital projects, especially converting washrooms to barrier-free washrooms. The ministry will undertake the same diligence with respect to the renewal of rental agreements to ensure that existing ministry properties are accessible.

Results Achieved:

To meet this commitment, the ministry

  • began replacing all elevator lobby security doors with glass doors and automatic door openers in the entire Mowat Block,
  • started re-designing Mowat Block and all new leased space to open space concept design to reduce the number of enclosed offices,
  • requested that all ORC contracts with design firms include a clause stating that all design must meet ODA and upcoming AODA requirements, and
  • negotiated several upgrades with the landlord for staff with disabilities at 33 Bloor Street East.

Planned Actions:

To ensure that the new Standards for Barrier Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities are implemented we will:

  • continue to replace elevator lobby security doors with glass doors and automatic door openers in the Mowat Block;
  • continue to re-design Mowat Block and all new leased space to open space concept design;
  • continue to ensure all ORC contracts with design firms include a clause stating that all design must meet ODA and upcoming AODA requirements.

The ministry will continue to identify projects to improve the quality of accessibility to existing buildings.

  • Continue to convert standard washrooms to barrier-free washrooms, and
  • In collaboration with ORC, continue to install ramps and automatic doors to buildings.

Focus Area: Employment

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to build on ministry managers' and employees' awareness of employment practices and continue to provide training opportunities to ensure improved accessibility for persons with disabilities. Specifically, the ministry will

  • implement a staff survey to promote awareness of disability issues and to promote the new on-line training module scheduled for release in 2007;
  • promote corporate accessibility events/initiatives to staff;
  • profile external accessibility initiatives such as World Usability Day – November 8, 2007;
  • provide regular updates to senior management on AODA standards development process to ensure full participation, support and readiness to implement; and
  • continue to promote management training utilizing the online training module - The Ontarians with Disabilities Act–Maximizing the Contributions of Employees with Disabilities.

Results Achieved:

The ministry completed the following initiatives to ensure improved accessibility for individuals with disabilities -

  • On December 3, the Deputy Minister, promoted the 2007 International Day of Disabled Persons via email to all staff,
  • The Deputy also suggested that staff review the new online training resource – May I Help You? – to learn more about issues that are important to the ministries,
  • On May 28 – via email announcement, the ministry encouraged staff to attend the Accessibility Expo, a corporate accessibility event,
  • On May 30, the ministry provided advice on how to make information accessible, in the online document – Tips on how to make information accessible: A guide to alternate formats,
  • Ongoing updates on AODA standards development were provided to the Senior Management Team and divisional management teams, and
  • Deferred to 2009 – following the analysis of the survey of office service levels, the ministry will implement a staff survey to promote awareness of accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

The Service Delivery Branch (SDB) in the Employment and Training Division (ETD) has participated in internal and external conferences pertaining to the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities. SDB was present at the Accessibility Expo in Toronto on May 28, 2008 and the Making Cent$ of Disabilities conference held in Kitchener/Waterloo on June 3, 2008. In both instances, a post conference overview was circulated to appropriate managers for review and further distribution as required.

The ETD has delivered information sessions to staff pertaining to the ODA and AODA and the standards that accompany the Act.

Planned Actions:

The ministry will

  • continue to promote on-line training modules scheduled for release in 2008-09;
  • promote corporate accessibility events/initiatives to staff;
  • profile external accessibility initiatives such as the UN International Day of the Disabled;
  • provide regular updates to senior management on AODA standards development process to ensure full participation and support, and readiness to implement;
  • continue to promote management training utilizing the online training module – The Ontarians with Disabilities Act–Maximizing the Contributions of Employees with Disabilities; and
  • implement a staff survey to promote awareness of disability issues.

ETD will continue to hold information updates and presentations to staff about the AODA and standards as required or as new information becomes available.

Focus Area: Employment

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

ETD will continue to ensure that staff is made aware of the commitments of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) through information sessions and presentations

Planned Actions:
Communication to ETD staff to ensure awareness about AODA will include conducting information sessions for ETD staff.

Focus Area: Employment

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to support awareness initiatives for emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.

Results Achieved:

The ministries have posted a link on our intranet to Emergency Management Ontario's (EMO) website. EMO has developed a webpage for emergency preparedness for people with disabilities and has also developed an Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs.

Planned Actions:

The ministries will continue to promote the Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs developed by Emergency Management Ontario, via the intranet and during Emergency Preparedness Week.

Focus Area: Information & Communications

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

Lack of awareness of tools and resources on accessibility and the ODA can be a current and future barrier to the development of integrated, accessible I & IT business solutions.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to post on ClusterNET relevant ODA resource materials. (ClusterNET is a cluster-wide intranet that allows cross-ministry collaboration and information-sharing of I & IT knowledge.) Specifically, links to current ODA/AODA standards and policies, as well as tools for ODA-compliancy will be made available for all staff across the seven ministries of the cluster.

Results Achieved:
The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries fulfilled its commitment to post relevant ODA resource materials on ClusterNET. This commitment expanded into developing a section of the Resource area that was populated with links to current ODA/AODA standards and policies, video and demos, as well as tools for ODA support and compliance.

Planned Actions:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries continues its commitment to posting on ClusterNET relevant ODA resource materials for the cluster.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue to maintain and update links to current AODA standards and policies, as well as tools for ODA-compliancy that are now available for all staff across the seven ministries of the cluster.

This commitment includes the expanded section of the Resource area that is populated with links to current AODA standards and policies, video and demos, as well as tools for ODA support and compliance.


Focus Area: Information & Communications

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

Successful integration into the workplace for persons with disabilities requires a variety of support tools (i.e. software.)

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to the maintenance and updating as required, of the current checklist of software and applications, designed to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities in day-to-day work activities.

Results Achieved:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries continued its commitment to the maintenance and updating as required, of the current checklist of software and applications, developed in 2004-05, designed to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities in day-to-day work activities.

This checklist is now available to all OPS staff on ClusterNET.

Planned Actions:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue to maintain and update as required, the current checklist of software and applications in use across the cluster.

Focus Area: Information and Communications

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that the ministry intranet and website meet or exceed accessibility requirements.

Results Achieved:

The Communications Branch continued to ensure that both ministries' intranet and websites are ODA-compliant.

Planned Actions:

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that both ministries' intranet and websites are ODA-compliant.

Focus Area: Information and Communications

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that ministry publications are available in alternate formats on the website.

Results Achieved:

Publications continue to be posted in HTML, PDF and/or plain text formats on the websites.

Planned Actions:

Publications will continue to be posted in HTML, PDF and/or plain text formats on the websites.

Focus Area: Acts and Regulations

Impact: Act and Regulation

Commitment: Ongoing

The Legal Services Branch will ensure that Acts, Regulations, Guidelines and Standards reflect the principles of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).

Results Achieved:

In accordance with this commitment, the Legal Services Branch continues to review existing Acts, Regulations, Guidelines and Standards to ensure that the principles of the ODA are reflected.

Planned Actions:

In accordance with this commitment, the Legal Services Branch will continue to review existing Acts, Regulations, Guidelines and Standards to ensure that the principles of the ODA are reflected.

Focus Area: Act and Regulations

Impact: Act and Regulation

Commitment: Ongoing

During 2007-08, the Legal Services Branch in the ministry commits to assess any new Acts or Regulations to ensure that they are compliant with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.

Results Achieved:

The Legal Services branch has been reviewing all new Acts and Regulations to ensure that they are compliant with the ODA.

Planned Actions:

The Legal Services Branch will continue to review all new Acts and Regulations to ensure that they are compliant with the ODA.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

Additional funding will be provided to colleges and universities through the Access to Opportunities Strategy.

Results Achieved:

$4.445 million (plus $0.5 million in one-time priority funding) resulted in increased services for students with disabilities.

Planned Actions:

Additional funding will continue to be provided to colleges and universities for services for students with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to provide support to publicly assisted postsecondary institutions to meet their obligations to students with disabilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Results Achieved:
The ministry provided more than $41.6 million in 2007-08 to help students with disabilities succeed in postsecondary education.

Planned Actions:
The ministry will continue to provide ongoing funding to postsecondary institutions.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

In reviewing policy submissions, frameworks and proposals, the ministry will ensure that the needs/issues of persons with disabilities are considered.

Planned Actions:

The ministry's new Directors Policy Committee, in taking a comprehensive approach to addressing policy and planning initiatives, will, among other things, ensure that under-represented groups, including those with disabilities, are considered in policy directions.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Complete

The ministry will continue to support through funding from the Employment and Training Division (formally the Labour Market and Training Division), the Goal Ontario Literacy for the Deaf (GOLD) project; specifically professional development of literacy and basic skills practitioners

Implementation Timeframe: 2007-08

Results Achieved:
ETD continued its support of the Deaf Literacy Initiative (DLI), formally known as Goal Ontario Literacy for the Deaf (GOLD). In March of 2008, DLI conducted a two day training event which was attended by Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) Program Coordinators and Practitioners titled, Foundation Skills for a Continuous Improvement Performance Management System (CIPMS).

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: 2008-09

The ministry will continue to support through funding from the Employment and Training Division, the Deaf Literacy Initiative.

Planned Actions:
The ministry will review the support funding from the Employment and Training Division to the Deaf Literacy Initiative

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry is committed to increasing apprenticeship registrations across Ontario. The April 2008 Budget contained a three year commitment of $75 million for the expansion of Apprenticeship and $45 million for the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund, including support for Apprentices with Disabilities. ($1.8 million in 08/09)

Implementation Timeframe: 2008 to 2010

Results Achieved:
The Employment and Training Division (ETD) has established $1.8 million in direct funding to support apprentices with disabilities. Apprentices with disabilities attending colleges in Ontario will have access to additional supports, assessment and modifications to equipment for apprenticeship training.

Planned Actions:
ETD will provide continued financial support and monitor and review.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to support organizations with a specific focus of delivering training and employment supports to persons with disabilities through funding from the Employment and Training Division (ETD).

Implementation Timeframe: ongoing from 2007-08

Results Achieved:

ETD commitments over the past year included over $26.6 million to support numerous organizations across all of Ontario (e.g. The Canadian Hearing Society, Audio Tactile Network, Canadian Mental Health Association etc.). These organizations have agreements with the ministry to deliver specific training or employment support functions (Employment Assistance Services, Job Creation Partnerships, Labour Market Partnerships, and Target Wage Subsidies) to persons with disabilities. It is estimated that 10,800 participants have been or will be served over the reporting period.

Planned Actions:

ETD will continue to review and financially support agreements that have a direct impact on delivering training and employment supports across Ontario for individuals with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: Ongoing to 2008-2009 or until standards have been finalized

The ministry continues to support the Government's commitment to the creation of accessibility standards as part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Results Achieved:
All divisions of the ministry have provided feedback to draft documents that will be a part of the creation of accessibility standards for the AODA.

Planned Actions:
The ministry will continue to provide input to the development of accessibility standards of the AODA.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry acknowledges the need for different branches and divisions of the ministry to share information pertaining to persons with disabilities to ensure that clients are obtaining appropriate service from the government and that any shortcomings or gaps can be addressed collectively.

Results Achieved:
Strategic Policy and Programs Division has the lead on formalizing an interdivisional working group on persons with disabilities to share information/issues among divisions of the ministry.

Planned Actions:
All divisions will continue to collaborate and share information on the needs/issues of persons with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: Ongoing

French Language Services & Delivery Coordination (FLS&DC) Unit of the Service Delivery Branch is to conduct an assessment of accessibility to provincial training and employment programs within Employment Ontario. The results of the analysis are to be documented and used to increase awareness and identify gaps within delivery of our Employment Ontario programs. Accessibility assessments include the following streams: Aboriginal, Francophone, Persons with Disabilities, Older Worker and Newcomers.

Results Achieved:
FLS&DC has identified a position within their unit to be responsible for assessing of accessibility to provincial training and employment programs within Employment Ontario for persons with disabilities. The individual will hold the lead for inquiries and communication regarding the accessibility for individuals with disabilities stream.

Planned Actions:
FLS&DC will continue to assess accessibility, analyze barriers and recommend implementation for accessibility solutions within Employment Ontario, for individuals with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: New

French Language Services & Delivery Coordination Unit (FLS&DC) will develop and implement an Action Plan that includes increasing awareness and identifying gaps within delivery of our Employment Ontario programs. Accessibility assessments include the following streams: Aboriginal, Francophone, Persons with Disabilities, Elder Worker and New Immigrant.

Implementation Timeline: Ongoing from 2008-2009

Planned Actions:
Documented findings will form the basis for reviewing program intentions and outcomes at the Employment and Training Division. The identification of barriers to access and outcomes, will inform planning and operational decisions, and will be shared with the Strategic Policy and Programs Division to help shape program design and developmental decisions

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: New

The Employment and Training Division (ETD) is committed to being informed of the needs of persons with disabilities by continuing to communicate directly with organizations that serve different disability types and through participation in conferences across the provinces that have a focus on accessibility and persons with disabilities.

Implementation Timeline: Ongoing

Planned Actions:
ETD will attend meetings and conferences in an effort to further understand the needs of persons with disabilities and increase our communication within the community of persons with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Program and Service

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to provide support to the Postsecondary Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (PACDI) with the mandate of providing advice to the Minister on:

  • education-related disability issues affecting publicly-funded postsecondary students with disabilities to ensure impact of ministry's funding can be maximized; and
  • priority disability-related research initiatives.

Results Achieved:
The Postsecondary Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (PACDI) met once in 2007, and through the work of its subcommittees continued to focus on financial assistance and transition supports from secondary to postsecondary studies and from postsecondary studies to employment, and other identified research priorities.

Planned Actions:
The ministry will continue to convene meetings of the Postsecondary Advisory Committee on Disabilities Issues (PACDI) to provide input into initiatives to address current and emerging issues for students with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with disabilities may need additional financial assistance to accommodate the disability/special need, and to help them succeed in postsecondary studies.

The ministry will provide direct financial assistance to students with disabilities through the Bursary for Students with Disabilities for disability-related services and equipment required to participate in postsecondary studies.

Through the Bursary for Students with Disabilities Attending Out of Country Postsecondary Institutions, the ministry will provide financial assistance to deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing students to attend postsecondary institutions outside Canada where the language of instruction is American Sign Language.

Results Achieved:
In 2007-08, 4,785 students received a Bursary for Students with Disabilities for a total of $3.59 million, and 68 students received a Bursary for Students with Disabilities Attending Out of Country Postsecondary Institutions for a total of $1.37 million.

Planned Actions:
The ministry will provide bursaries to eligible postsecondary students.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Service

Commitment: Ongoing

Information technology goods and services (hardware/software) may pose barriers if there are no processes to check for ODA-compliance.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to the OPS procurement guidelines to ensure that accessibility has been considered in the procurement of goods and services.

Results Achieved:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries continued its commitment to OPS procurement guidelines to ensure that accessibility has been considered in the procurement of goods and services.

The ODA Procurement Requirements Checklist is used by the Project Management Office (PMO) to ensure ODA-compliance across developing business solutions.

Planned Actions:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to update and apply the ODA Procurement Requirements Checklist to ensure ODA-compliance across developing business solutions in the Learning Ministries.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Service

Commitment: New

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will investigate the use of Web 2.0 technologies and other social networking tools in relation to their possible support of accessibility for OPS users in the workplace environment.

Implementation Timeline: Ongoing from 2008-09

Planned Actions:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will explore these new tools to research and measure how they may enhance I & IT accessibility in the OPS workplace for all employees, including those with special needs.

Focus Area: Other

Impact: Policy

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, led by the Corporate Finance and Services Branch, will continue to adhere to the guidelines for procurement of accessible goods and services.

Results Achieved:

All procurement projects in the ministries have adhered to the guidelines for procurement of accessible goods and services.

Planned Actions:

The ministries will continue to adhere to the guidelines for procurement of accessible goods and services, will use applicable checklist and include the appropriate wording in all solicitation documents.

For More Information

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

Please phone:

General inquiry number: 416-325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514

TTY number: 1-800-268-7095

1-800 number: 1-800-263-2891

E-mail: info@edu.gov.on.ca

Ministry website address: www.tcu.gov.on.ca

Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services Accessibility Ontario web portal at: www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/index.aspx. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario a barrier-free province.

Alternate formats of this document are available free upon request from:

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