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Accessibility Plan 2008-2009: Report on Other Accessibility Commitments

This section of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services accessibility plan reports on the results of ministry accessibility commitments and unplanned additional achievements made last year in the areas of information and communications, the built environment and employment. It also includes new accessibility commitments and planned activities for these areas for December 2008 to December 2009.

Information and Communications

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The Integration Branch of the Youth Justice Services Division will consult with the Communications and Marketing Branch to determine if any barriers exist on the Youth Justice pages of the ministry’s intranet site.
Results Achieved: The intranet site is an internal ministry website used by ministry employees. A review found that the Youth Justice Services Division’s intranet web pages needed an option to increase the font size. The pages also needed to offer a text description for images. By September 2008, a feature was added to the web pages to allow employees with disabilities, such as those who have low vision or those with learning disabilities, to adjust the size of the text. In addition a feature called the “alt attribute”, for “alternate attribute” was used to give text names for images on the pages. This feature lets an employee with a disability who uses a speech output system read aloud the name of the image so they know what it is.
Implementation Timeframe: October 2008

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The North East Region of the Program Management Division will upgrade the TTY machine in the South Porcupine Office to improve communications with clients who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
Results Achieved:
The South Porcupine Office in Timmins installed a new TTY machine in September 2007. Staff received training on the new TTY from the Canadian Hearing Society. Implementation Timeframe: September 2007

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
Communications materials for the Ontario Child Benefit will be available in alternate formats.
Results Achieved: The English and French versions of the Ontario Child Benefit brochures are posted on the ministry’s website in HTML format that is compliant with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Priority II Standard (Double-A level). These documents are accessible to people with disabilities who use assistive devices to read electronic information.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Policy
Commitment: New
The Child Welfare Branch of the Policy Development and Program Division, will improve and increase the accessibility of communications with the child welfare sector.
Planned Actions: A new strategy to improve and streamline communications between the ministry and the sector will be developed. This strategy will include plain-language products delivered in a variety of methods to make ministry messaging more accessible.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 - June 2009

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Capacity Development Office will seek input from employees with disabilities on the accessibility of the Ontario Public Service Employee Engagement Survey.
Planned Actions: The Capacity Development Office will lead the development of a ministry-specific communications strategy for the 2009 Employee Engagement Survey. The office will hold focus groups to gather feedback from employees, including employees with disabilities, and will inform the Ministry of Government Services of any accessibility issues or barriers.
Implementation Timeframe: November 2008 – January 2009

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Child Care Unit of the Strategic Policy and Planning Division will improve access to information on the Licensed Child Care Resource website and the Ontario Early Years Centres’ website.
Planned Activities: The Child Care Unit, in cooperation with the Communications and Marketing Branch, will coordinate an accessibility audit of the websites and develop a plan to improve accessibility.
Implementation Timeframe: January 2009 - January 2010

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Communications and Marketing Branch will continue to make the ministry website accessible by providing materials in alternative formats.
Planned Actions: The ministry’s website will continue to provide:
- clear and consistent navigation mechanisms, page layout and recognizable graphics;
- text size options in the upper right of web pages;
- transcripts of video and audio files posted as Word documents;
- text designed with the foreground and background color combinations providing sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen;
- page templates designed without horizontal scrolling
- cascading style sheets to simplify HTML code for screen readers and to control style and layout
- TTY (Telephone Teletypewriter) numbers posted with other telephone and fax numbers; and
- Instructions on how to access the Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft WORD reader plug-ins where applicable.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 - December 2009

Focus Area: Information and Communications
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
Ministry program areas, in consultation with the Communications and Marketing Branch, will help make public education program materials available in alternative formats on request.
Planned Activities: The Communications and Marketing Branch will provide advice to ministry program areas on producing public materials in alternative formats (e.g., Braille, CDs) for major new initiatives. The branch will also work with ministry program areas and Service Ontario to respond to requests for alternative formats.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 - December 2009

Built Environment

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The Youth Justice Services Division, in partnership with the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, will, where possible, work to improve the accessibility of current youth probation offices through renovations or relocation. This is a multi-year project which began in 2004 and will be completed in 2008.
The division will also disseminate best practices for boardrooms to managers.
Results Achieved: Over the past four years, the ministry has renovated or relocated forty-eight youth probation offices that required retrofits to meet the barrier-free design standards of the 1997 Ontario Building Code. At new sites, new furniture was purchased with consideration of ergonomic requirements. The division has also disseminated best practice information on accessible boardrooms.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2004 – October 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Program and Service
Commitment: Completed
The Specialized Services and Supports Branch of the Policy Development and Program Design Division will continue to work with Children’s Treatment Centres across the province to identify needed accessibility improvements.
Results Achieved: Since summer 2007, the branch has been part of a working group led by Capital and Accommodations Services Branch to develop a multi-year infrastructure strategy for Children’s Treatment Centres. Building Condition Assessments which include accessibility requirements and issues have been completed for the centres. These accessibility needs are now tracked in a central database so that they can be addressed at the earliest opportunity.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
Through the year, ministry construction, renovation or relocation projects will continue to be required to meet the barrier-free design standards of the 1997 Ontario Building Code or the requirements of the Ontario Realty Corporation's Standards for Barrier-Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities.
Results Achieved: The Capital and Accommodation Services Branch of the Business Planning and Corporate Services Division was responsible for accessibility upgrades at ministry corporate offices on the 14th and 15th floors of 56 Wellesley Street in Toronto. These upgrades included measures such as new ergonomic furniture and accessible boardroom designs.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Program
Commitment: Completed
As a regular component of planning capital initiatives, the Child Parent Resource Institute will renovate residential homes, buildings and walkways to eliminate accessibility barriers.
Results Achieved: Projects completed to improve accessibility in 2007-2008 included:
- six sidewalk and ramp repairs;
- one staff and two client washroom upgrades;
- access upgrades for seven conference rooms;
- flooring replacements for two residential units; and
- open concept office environment in a clinical program area.
- Planning for accessibility is now automatically included in strategic planning and environmental management work plans so that accessibility is addressed as a strategic priority.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – October 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
Hamilton/Niagara Regional Office of the Program Management Division will continue to work with Capital and Accommodation Services Branch to improve the accessibility of offices for clients and employees.
Results Achieved: The following projects were completed in 2007-2008:
- the Hamilton Office installed frosted glass on reception doors to accommodate persons with visual impairments;
- the St. Catharine’s office provided a self-contained office space with appropriate ventilation to accommodate a staff member with sensitivity to scented products and improved lighting for staff with visual impairments; and in the Simcoe Office, an employee with a hearing impairment was provided with an office. As well, changes were made to the office’s entrance and the counter was lowered to accommodate people with mobility disabilities.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 - November 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The South West Regional Office of the Program Management Division will work to identify and remove barriers to accessibility in its offices.
Results Achieved: In cooperation with Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the Ontario Realty Corporation and property manager ProFac, plans have been completed for the renovation or relocation of the Stratford and Woodstock offices. The design meets the accessibility requirements of the Ontario Realty Corporation’s barrier-free design guidelines.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – October 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
Thistletown Regional Centre will continue to renovate residential homes, buildings, and walkways to eliminate accessibility barriers as a regular component of capital planning initiatives.
Results Achieved: Wheelchair accessibility issues at Thistletown’s SAFE-T building #1 are being addressed through the Ontario Realty Corporation.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The Eastern Regional Office of the Program Management Division will monitor built environment and other accessibility issues and work to resolve them.
Results Achieved: In October 2007, the Eastern Regional Office moved to a new building on Preston Street in Ottawa. The following accessibility issues were identified and addressed in the past year:
- The new building and offices were designed to meet Ontario Realty Corporation barrier-free design requirements - An inter-ministerial building committee consulted with a community organization that provides barrier-free assessments
- Accessible transportation issues were raised with OC Transpo and a Para-Transpo drop-off spot was arranged
- Concerns were raised about safe street crossing and accessible parking for clients. This resulted in handicapped parking spaces being provided directly facing the Preston Street building and a pedestrian-activated signal crossing installed in front of the building
- Video conferencing services were installed
- An ergonomic consultant was hired to help ensure chairs and desks were adjusted properly for each worker and to recommend special equipment and arrangement for specific employees who required it. These efforts will help to reduce the chance of staff injury or disability.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – October 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Additional Achievement: Completed
In the Thunder Bay office of the Northern Region, a number of accessibility improvements were made within and around the building:
- A system providing voice announcements of floors was added to the elevator to accommodate people with visual disabilities
- A lighting system that flashes green as doors are opening and red as doors are closing as well as matching colours on the door open and close buttons helps accommodate people with hearing impairments
- Benches were added near the route from the parking area and at the bus stop to provide rest areas
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 - October 2008

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Ongoing
The Youth Justice Services Division, in cooperation with the Capital and Accommodations Services Branch will establish new youth secure custody facilities that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Results Achieved: The Donald Doucet Youth Centre in Sault Ste. Marie was opened in July 2008. This new facility was designed and built to meet Ontario government barrier-free design guidelines and additional accessibility requirements identified by the Youth Justice Services Division. The design for the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre in Brampton also meets these accessibility requirements. For example it includes areas open to the public, secure washrooms, bedrooms and common areas which are designed to be accessible. A TTY is also available.
Planned Actions: The design plans and construction of two new youth secure custody facilities in Fort Frances and Thunder Bay and for the expansion of Ottawa’s William E. Hay Youth Centre will meet the accessibility requirements of the government’s barrier-free design guidelines. The centres are expected to be completed by April 2009.
Implementation Timeframe: January 2006 – March 2009

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Ongoing
Through coordination by the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the ministry will negotiate new leases and lease renewals that address the accessibility requirements of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and the Ontario Realty Corporation’s Standards for Barrier-Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities.
Results Achieved: In the past year, there were no new leases or lease renewals requiring accessibility upgrades.
Planned Actions: In the coming year, the ministry will continue to consider Ontario Public Service accessibility requirements when entering into new leases for ministry buildings, offices or facilities.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – December 2009

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Youth Justice Services Division’s Northern Regional Office in North Bay will be renovated and will meet the accessibility requirements of the Ontario Realty Corporation’s Standards for Barrier-Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities.
Planned Actions: In cooperation with the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the division will identify the accessibility needs for the renovation.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 – January 2009

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Youth Justice Services Division will work with the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch to review the accessibility requirements of the division’s guidelines for its offices.
Planned Actions: In cooperation with the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the division will review and update its office design guidelines regarding accessibility. It will also work to address the accessibility issues of its older offices. The review will include consideration of whether the issues can be addressed through renovations.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 - March 2009

Focus Area: Built Environment
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
Through the coordination of the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the ministry will identify barriers in its buildings and offices and will make plans to improve accessibility as offices move or are renovated. Planned Actions:
As changes to an existing or new site are required, the ministry will implement the accessibility requirements of the Ontario Realty Corporation’s Standards for Barrier-Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities. In the coming year there will be a focus on upgrading the accessibility of reception areas in ministry offices and facilities.
Implementation Timeframe: December 2008 – December 2009

Employment

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Policy
Commitment: Completed
The Research and Outcome Measurement Branch of the Strategic Policy and Planning Division will continue to accommodate staff and applicants with disabilities.
Results Achieved: No requests for employment accommodation were received in 2007-2008.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Program
Commitment: Completed
The Strategic Planning Branch of the Strategic Policy and Planning Division will develop data on workers with disabilities in the children and youth sector to help identify strategies for increasing participation by disabled people.
Results Achieved: It was determined that this approach to gathering data could not be pursued at this time. The ministry will continue to look for opportunities for promoting participation by people with disabilities in the children and youth sector.
Implementation Timeframe: February 2008 – May 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Policy, Programs, Services
Commitment: Completed
The Operational Support Branch of the Program Management Division will develop and conduct a survey of corporate stakeholders to help identify accessibility issues in policy, programs, or services.
Results Achieved: The purpose of the Stakeholder Accessibility Survey is to help corporate stakeholders identify accessibility issues in their service delivery and business practices. The survey was administered to division corporate stakeholders (Quality Assurance and Accountability Branch and the Business and Innovations Branch) in August 2008.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – August 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Policy
Commitment: Completed
The Toronto Region of the Program Management Division will support managers in learning and fulfilling their obligations to accommodate employees with disabilities.
Results Achieved: In November 2007, a full day of training on accommodating employees with disabilities was provided to all managers by an occupational therapist. The training included revised information on the Ontario Public Service Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy. In addition, an Employment Accommodation Tracking Sheet was developed to assist managers in meeting the accommodation needs of staff and reviewing them on an ongoing basis. Training and updates on employment accommodation are provided to all managers on a regular basis. Employment accommodation and return to work are now included as topics in an all-day orientation session that is offered to all staff.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
Toronto Region of the Program Management Division will support managers in accommodating applicants with disabilities in the recruitment process.
Results Achieved: Assistive technology or other tools were provided to applicants upon request. For example, tests were converted into braille and American Sign Language Interpreters were provided as needed. At times, applicants will request use of their own equipment which was permitted.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Completed
The Hamilton Niagara Regional Management Team of the Program Management Division will support managers in accommodating individuals with disabilities.
Results Achieved: Hamilton Niagara Region managers were provided with various presentations on accommodating employees with disabilities including topics such as fragrance sensitivity and scented products and how to access the Ontario Public Service Employment Accommodation Fund. In addition, a representative from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health provided a presentation on how to accommodate employees with addiction or mental health issues as part of Accessibility Week activities. The Ontario Public Service booklet , “Attracting the Talent: A Handbook for Recruiting People with Disabilities into the Ontario Public Service” and the ministry “Manager’s Guide on Best Practices for Facilitating the Use of Ministry Meeting Rooms and Boardrooms for Persons with Disabilities”, were distributed and reviewed with region managers. The Ontario Public Service diversity strategy has been reviewed with managers at regular meetings. Open job postings are now forwarded to service providers of the Employment Supports program of the Ontario Disability Support Program to encourage applications from qualified people with disabilities.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – September 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Policy
Commitment: Completed
The South West Regional Office of the Program Management Division will support the provision of accommodation to staff by identifying and removing barriers in work spaces.
Results Achieved: The regional office worked with the Capital and Accommodation Services Branch, the Ontario Realty Corporation and property manager ProFac on updating several offices. The region also initiated discussions with its new landlord in London to attempt to address the recommendations in the barrier-free evaluation report of 217 York Street prepared by the Ontario March of Dimes. To ensure prompt evacuation of staff with mobility issues at 217 York Street in an emergency, an emergency evacuation chair, the Ferno EZ Glide Evacuation Chair, was purchased.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – November 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Additional Achievement: Completed
To improve the provision of ergonomic assessments to staff, the Central East Region trained select staff in providing ergonomic assessments of work stations to their colleagues.
Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 – September 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Additional Achievement: Completed
The Human Resources Strategic Business Unit canvassed employee interest in a user group for employees who use assistive technology to operate their computers.
Results Achieved: In cooperation with the Centre of Excellence for Information and Information Technology (I&IT) Accessibility, the Human Resources Strategic Business Unit conducted a survey of a sample group of employees with disabilities who use assistive technology to operate their computers. The employees reported using a variety of technology including speech input, speech output and large print systems. The employees unanimously agreed to participate in a pilot of an assistive technology user group to share tips and best practices on using assistive technology to operate their computers. The survey also identified that there was a preference to use the current email system rather than a collaboration tool as the method of communication at this time. The I&IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence will follow up with this group to establish a pilot of the user group.
Implementation Timeframe: April 2008 – August 2008

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Policy
Commitment: Ongoing
The Youth Justice Services Division will support managers in appropriately applying Ontario Public Service policies and processes on employment accommodation for staff in regional offices and dedicated youth facilities.
Results Achieved: Since April 2007, the Youth Justice Services Division and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have worked together on a pilot project to develop an effective and fair, early and safe return to work and workplace accommodation process for employees who are ill, injured or have disabilities. The Workplace Health and Productivity Program is a return to work process based on collaboration, consensus and interest-based problem solving. A six-month pilot of the program began at Brookside Youth Centre in March 2008 and a second pilot began at the Bluewater Youth Centre in June 2008. Select managers and OPSEU bargaining unit members were designated as advisors on employment accommodation and return to work. They received comprehensive training on the Health and Productivity Program return to work process and on government policy. The corporate Human Resources Branch provided support throughout the early stages of the pilot.
Planned Actions: The project team will extend the Workplace Health and Productivity Program pilot projects at Brookside and Bluewater Youth Centres until March 2009. Pilots of the program will also be started at the Cecil Facer Youth Centre and the Sprucedale Youth Centre. The project team is evaluating the pilot on an ongoing basis. Implementation Timeframe: April 2007 – March 2009

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Commitment: Ongoing
The Human Resources Strategic Business Unit will promote and monitor the use of the Centre for Leadership and Learning’s online accessibility training on accommodating employees and applicants with disabilities.
Results Achieved: In 2008, the Human Resources Strategic Business Unit encouraged all ministry managers and supervisors to complete the online training currently entitled Ontarians with Disabilities Act: Maximizing the Contribution of Employees and Applicants with Disabilities. As of October 6, 2008, over 75% of current ministry managers and supervisors had completed the training.
Planned Actions: In 2009, the Strategic Business Unit will inform new managers and supervisors of their obligation to take the ODA online training on accommodating employees and applicants with disabilities and will monitor their compliance. Implementation Timeframe: September 2007 - December 2009

Focus Area: Employment
Impact: Service
Commitment: New
The Centre of Excellence for Information and Information Technology (I&IT) Accessibility will develop a pilot project to coordinate an employee user group for employees who use assistive technology to operate their computers.
Planned Actions: The Centre of Excellence will work with identified employees to establish the Assistive Technology User Group pilot. The centre will provide a User Group Coordinator to support the project and to provide information updates on assistive technology and related subjects to the user group. The Centre will also conduct an evaluation of the pilot by fall of 2009.
Implementation Timeframe: January 2009 – December 2009


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Report on Status of Customer Service Commitments
  3. Report on Other Accessibility Commitments
  4. For More Information