Emtpy Alleyway

BACKGROUND

As a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, the Inner City Family Health Team here summarizes our accessibility standards for customer service.  Prior to the Act, and throughout our policies, the Inner City Family Health Team has long affirmed the rights and dignity of each person and understood that living with a disability is a human rights issue.  Our approach explicitly recognizes the personal and systemic discrimination faced by persons with disabilities and includes services and practices to support persons living with disabilities with the goal of equal participation of all members of the community including equal access to high quality health care.

In recognition that discrimination on the basis of ability is unjust and unlawful, the ICFHT is committed to ensuring that no such discrimination exists within the ICFHT as a result of its policies or practices whether intentional or unintentional.

The Inner City Family Health Team recognizes the definition of “disability” used in the Ontario Human Rights Code, including physical, mental health, developmental and learning disabilities.  A disability may be visible or not visible.

 

PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

·             Services will be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

·             Services to persons with disabilities will be integrated unless an alternative measure is necessary (temporarily or permanently) to benefit from the service.

·             Persons with disabilities will be given an opportunity, equal to that given to others, to use and benefit from all services.

·             The use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities to use and benefit from all services will be recognized and supported.

·             Persons with disabilities will receive communication on services, accessibility, and policies in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

 

PROCEDURE

1.   To ensure that we provide accessible programs and services, the ICFHT will actively consult with our service users on their major needs on an on-going basis and identify any disability barriers that may limit access to our programs and services. The ICFHT will implement outreach and program strategies to correct any major imbalances in participation or barriers to access.  The ICFHT will offer programs and services in locations that are fully accessible.  The ICFHT will advocate jointly with and on behalf of our diverse community of service users to ensure that their program needs are met.

Multiple parties within the organization will participate in this procedure.  Managers and program staff will include this procedure in on-going and annual program planning and evaluation.  The Board will review programs for service relevance and effectiveness and monitor the strategic plan for the agency.  Management and the Health & Safety Representatives will monitor locations for accessibility barriers and state of repair.

 

2.   To ensure that our programs and services are sensitive and responsive to our service users, the ICFHT will take into consideration the demographic diversity of our service users in the delivery of our services.  The ICFHT will accurately reflect the contributions and achievements of persons with disabilities in our educational, disease management and health promotion programs and curriculum.  The ICFHT will promote positive attitudes towards and respect for differences among the participants in our programs and users of our services.  The ICFHT will review all resource materials (e.g. films, books, art that are used in ICFHT programs), to ensure they encourage the promotion of diversity.    The ICFHT will provide an environment where community members feel comfortable using assistive devices.  Staff will provide assistive devices or special equipment where possible and appropriate and will continuously monitor the state of repair of these devices.

Persons with disabilities may enter our premises and access services accompanied by a guide dog, service animal or support person.  There will be no fees incurred as a result of accompaniment by a support person.  Where the role of a service animal is not readily apparent, a letter from a health practitioner confirming the need for the service animal may be requested.   Assistive devices in this policy include elevators, automated doors, computer equipment, and adjustable phone sets.

 

3.   In order to ensure that we communicate information about our programs and services in an accessible and sensitive manner, the ICFHT will ensure that agency publications and promotional materials are available in multiple formats (ie. print and electronic) in plain language and using inclusive visual images that are reflective of the communities we serve.  The ICFHT will ensure that notices of program changes and closures are available in multiple formats (ie. print signage and voicemail messages).

It is our practice that if accessibility is limited by temporary disruptions (closures, repairs, etc) then we will post information including the reason for disruption, anticipated duration and alternatives to access services, if any.  Such notices will be published in at least two of the following three formats – print signage, telephone voicemail, agency website. The ICFHT will ensure that our program partners have notification of temporary disruptions for communication to mutual service users.

 

4.    In order to ensure that current staff, Board and placement students receive training on the Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Policy, ICFHT will circulate the policy to all staff, Board members and placement.  ICFHT will hold a training session for all staff.  ICFHT will incorporate this training into program training and new staff orientation processes.  All employees and placement students must comply with the policy and failure to do so will have consequences including discipline.

 

5.   In order to ensure that our policy leads to real improvement in access for people living with disabilities, service user satisfaction cards or questionnaires will include the opportunity to provide feedback on accessibility issues.

 

6.    In order to ensure that our policy is followed and customer service problems are addressed quickly and correctly, persons with disabilities and other allies are encouraged to use our Community and Service Complaints Policy to make complaints and seek resolutions including a written response.  Persons with disabilities are welcome to make complaints or enquiries in a manner that takes into account their disability, including verbally in person, through a support person, by telephone, in writing, or via e-mail.  All employees or placement students are also obligated to report customer service problems or failures to follow this policy to their supervisor.  On request, this full policy will be available to anyone with reasonable notice.