AODA – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

This policy is intended to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Valiant is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, agents, and/or contractors who act on behalf of Valiant. The Company will make every effort reasonable to ensure that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.

Integrated Accessibility Standards Ontario Regulation 191/11

Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

Assistive Device – is a technical aid, communication device or other instrument that is used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Personal assistive devices are typically devices that customers bring with them such as a wheelchair, walker or a personal oxygen tank that might assist in hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, breathing, remembering and/or reading.

Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by Valiant. In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern (i.e. oxygen tanks near open flames) or where accessibility might be an issue (i.e. no elevator service where an individual requires wheelchair or walker), other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services.

Guide Dog – is a highly-trained working dog that has been trained at one of the facilities listed in Ontario Regulation 58 under the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, to provide mobility, safety and increased independence for people who are blind.

Service Animal – as reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if: it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability or if the person provided a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

A customer with a disability that is accompanied by a guide dog or service animal will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. The customer is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all times. A “No Pet” policy does not apply to guide dogs or service animals.

If you cannot easily identify that the animal is a service animal, you can ask the person for a letter from a regulated health profession. The documentation must verify that the animal is required for reasons relating to their disability.

 Support Person – as reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07, a support person means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him/her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods and services.

If a customer with a disability is accompanied by a support person, the support person will be allowed to accompany the individual to any part of premise that is open to the public or to third parties. In the event that confidential information may be discussed, consent will be obtained from the customer, prior to any conversation where confidential information might be discussed. If Valiant requires a support person to accompany a person with a disability for health and safety reasons, Valiant will consult the person with a disability to better understand their needs.

 Communication and Information

Notice of Disruption in Service

Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of Valiant. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that customer’s with disabilities rely on to access or use Valiant’s goods or services reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice. In some circumstances such as in the situation of unplanned or temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible. Where disruptions occur, Valiant will provide notice by posting notices in the building at the main entrance, in the main lobby, basement level (if there is one) by the elevator. Contacting customers with appointments, or by any method that may be reasonable under the circumstance.

Accessible Information and Communication

Valiant is committed to meeting the communication needs of employees and customers with disabilities. Valiant will consult with employees and customers with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs. Upon request, Valiant will provide or arrange for accessible formats and communication supports for information that is needed to perform the employee’s job or to meet a customer’s needs.

Valiant will continue to inform its employees and customers of it policies used to support employees and customers with disabilities, including provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee’s accessibility needs due to a disability.

Valiant will ensure that our internet websites, including web content, conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Upon request, Valiant will provide, or arrange for accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities in a timely manner, taking into account the person’s accessibility needs due to disability. Valiant will consult the person making the request to determine the suitability of an accessible format or communication support. Valiant will notify the public of the availability of accessible formats and communication support.

 Accessible Emergency Information

Valiant is committed to providing employees, customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.

 ccommodation Plan For Customers

Valiant has in place a process for developing and documenting a written accommodation plan for customers with a disability. We will take into consideration the customer’s needs in the development of the accommodation plan, by reviewing timelines for the provision of accommodations, frequency with which the individual accommodation plan will be reviewed, steps taken to protect the customer’s personal information. If it is not possible due to undue hardship to implement an accommodation, Valiant will review other solutions, and next best steps to accommodate.

 Accessible Employment

Recruitment, Assessment and Selection

Valiant will notify employees and the public of the availability of accommodations for job applicants with disabilities:

Performance Management, Career Development and Advancement

Valiant will assess employee’s performance through formal and informal performance reviews   and will provide employees with feedback and coaching on ways employees can improve their performance, productivity and effectiveness.

Valiant encourages professional development through additional responsibilities within an employee’s current position and the movement of employees from one job to another job within the company. Employees are encouraged to learn new skills through Valiant’s Professional Development process. Valiant will take the steps required to ensure that accessibility needs are taken in account in deciding career development and redeployment processes.

Accommodation Plan For Employees

Valiant has in place a process for developing and documenting a written individual accommodation plan for employees with a disability. The employee will participate in the development of the accommodation plan, the means by which an employee is assessed, timelines for the provision of accommodations, frequency with which the individual accommodation plan will be reviewed, steps taken to protect the employee’s personal information.

Return To Work Plan

At Valiant all members of our team are considered to be valuable, skilled employees and productive contributors to the success of this company. Therefore, we are committed to developing and maintaining a healthy and safe work environment.

However, there may be times when a member of our team will experience an injury or illness and Valiant will make every effort to return the employee to their employment as soon as possible. Valiant has developed a process and a method to assess the Return To Work (RTW) program which will meet or exceed the Ministry of Labour / WSIB / AODA requirements.

Accommodation plans will be discussed with employees returning to work after an extended absence due to disability. Valiant will provide the employees with RTW training when necessary.

Transportation

Transportation standards have been identified as crucial for people with disability to participate in aspects of daily life such as going to work, school or shopping. Valiant will address aspects of accessible transportation and how it may relate to providing services to our customers.

 Built Environment Standard

Accessible build environment standard will address access into and within buildings and outdoor spaces and are expected to be harmonized with the Ontario Building Code. Valiant will review all aspects of the design of public spaces when building or making major modification (including counter heights, aisle and door width, parking and way-finding signage) to its public spaces.

 Feedback

Valiant shall provide customers with the opportunity to provide feedback on meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Feedback forms will be available in the rental office, each site office on our website or by email to feedback@vrpl.ca

Training

All employees, volunteers, agents, and/or contractors will be trained on the purpose and requirements of Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers, agents and/or contractors. Any changes to the act will be provided to employees, volunteers, agents, and/or contractors as they come into effect.

Multi-Year Plan

 General

Company polices – policies are reviewed and revised as required to meet accessibility standards

Multi-Year Plan – a multi-year plan has been reviewed, outlined and posted 2014 and will continue to be reviewed ongoing to meet with compliance dates

Integrated Accessibility

Customer Service

Standard – policy written, reviewed ongoing for updates and changes

Training – has been completed for all employees, volunteers, agents and contractors and ongoing training is provided to all new members.

Information and Communication

Standard – policy written, reviewed ongoing for updates and changes

Training – completed for all employees, volunteers, agents and contractors have been trained; ongoing training is provided to all new members.

Feedback – feedback forms located throughout the company at each work site. Feedback links added to website. Feedback email set up and monitored daily

Website – website restructured in 2014, new website tested and meets the WCAG 2.0 Level A accessibility requirements, reports filed. Website will be reviewed ongoing and changes made as necessary to meet accessible standards.

Accessible documents – documents will be reviewed and changed to accessible formats as required. Accessible documents will be provided upon request. Persons making the request will be consulted to determine their communication needs.

Workplace emergency response information – emergency response information provided to persons with disabilities as part of our emergency evacuation procedures

Notice of Disruption in Service – will be provided in advance where possible in all buildings.

Accommodation Plan – will be reviewed with employee or customers as requested. Individual needs will be taken into consideration in creating an accommodation plan. The plan will be reviewed ongoing with the individual.

 Employment

Recruitment – job posting and offers of employment have been revised to include accommodation statements

Return to work – return to work policies have been updated to include accommodation plans for employees returning to work after an extended absence due to disability.

Career Development – accessibility needs and accommodations will be made in assessing employee’s performance and career development plans.

Transportation

Valiant will address all aspects of accessible transportation and how it may relate to providing services to our customers. Transportation requirements will be reviewed and revised as required to meet the accessibility standards.

Built Environment

Valiant will review all aspects of the design of public spaces when building or making major modifications to its public spaces. Built Environment requirements will be reviewed and revised as required to meet the accessibility standards.