Kitchener 519-743-6090 Cambridge 519-621-7993

Policies

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Purpose:

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) came into force January 1, 2008. Not for profit service providers must comply with Accessibility Standards by January, 1, 2012. This policy will be revised as other standards are introduced under the ACT. For the purposes of this policy The Literacy Group of Waterloo region will be referred to as The Literacy Group.

  1. Our Mission

The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region is a community based organization that provides accessible literacy training services to empower adults to reach their goals and improve their quality of life.

  1. Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, The Literacy Group strives to provide its programs and services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our programs and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other participants. We are committed to providing people with disabilities with information on accessing the service provider that meets their needs if we do not have the services to serve them.

  1. Providing programs & services to people with disabilities

The Literacy Group is committed to excellence in serving all staff, volunteers and students including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

  • Communication
  • We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disabilities.
  • We will provide communications in clear language formats that are accessible for people with disabilities.
  • We will train staff and volunteers to communicate and interact with various types of disabilities. 
  • Telephone services
  • We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our staff, volunteers and learners.
  • We will train staff and volunteers to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and speak clearly and slowly.
  • We will offer to communicate with clients by e-mail, TTY, or computer if telephone communication is not suitable for their communication needs or is not available.
  • Assistive Devices
  • We are committed to serving people who use assistive devices to participate in and benefit from our programs and services.
  • We will ensure people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access our programs if the technology support is available.
  • We will ensure staff are trained and know how to use the following assistive devices available on our premises. Assistive devices available – Kitchener – Kurzwell program, voice to text-text to voice computer programming, books on CD ROM, Smart Board and clear language resources. Cambridge – all above resources with the exception of Kurzwell. Staff assistive devices – telephone amplification assistive device both sites.
  1. Use of service animals and support persons
  • We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • We will ensure staff, volunteers and learners are trained on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region’s premises with his/her support person. Persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support worker will never be prevented from having access to his/her support person while on our premises.
  1. Notice of temporary disruption

The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region will provide clients with notice in the event of planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its’ anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services if available.

The notice will be placed at all public entrances and classrooms on our premises.

  1. Staff training

The Literacy Group will provide training to all staff, volunteers and students who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures. Individuals in the following positions will be trained:

  • Board of Directors
  • Executive Director
  • Program Manager
  • Volunteer Manager

Training will be provided within 6 weeks of hiring after staff or new Board members begin duties.

Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person
  • How to use the equipment or devices
  • Steps to take if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region’s programs and services.
  • Policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard

Designated staff will be trained on policies, procedures and practices that affect the way programs and services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained when changes are made to these policies, procedures and practices.

  1. Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of The Literacy Group is to meet and exceed customer expectations while serving people with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way The Literacy Group provides services and programming to people with disabilities can be made by e-mail, verbally to staff or by satisfaction surveys. All feedback will be directed to the Executive Director. Volunteers, learners and others can expect to hear back within 2 business days.

Complaints will be addressed according to complaint categories already established in our organizational policies and procedures.

  1. Modifications to this or other policies

We are committed to developing customer service polices that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. No changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.

Any policy of The Literacy Group that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

  1. Questions regarding this policy 

This policy exists to achieve service excellence to all client we serve with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of the policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to:

Executive Director

Board President

Human Resources Committee Chair.