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December 15, 2017
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Library Board Policies - Accessibility Policies (AODA)

PURPOSE:

This policy is intended to meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 191/11 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

This policy aims to ensure that persons with disabilities are given equal opportunity to:

a.       obtain information about and communicate with the Halton Hills Public Library.

b.      obtain, use and benefit from the library’s resources, services and facilities.

c.       to be employed by the Halton Hills Public Library.

Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that:

  • Communications with a person with a disability are conducted in a manner that takes the person’s disability into account.
  • All library resources, programs and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
  • The library resources, programs and services provided to persons with disabilities are integrated with the resources, programs and services delivered to others unless an alternate measure is necessary to allow the person with a disability to benefit from these resources, programs and services. The alternate measure may be temporary or permanent.
  • People with disabilities may use assistive devices, service animals and support persons as is necessary to access the library’s resources, services and facilities.
  • People employed by or those seeking employment with the library will receive accommodations appropriate to their disability.

Background

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was created with the goal of developing standards that would improve accessibility for people with disabilities across the Province. The AODA allows the Provincial Government to develop specific standards of accessibility and enforce them. The standards are made into regulations pursuant to the AODA.

Ontario Regulation 191/11, the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, incorporates standards for Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation, Design of Public Spaces, and Customer Service. The regulation sets out the requirements for each of these standards, as well as general requirements that apply to all, such as:

  • developing accessibility policies and plan

  • training employees and volunteers, and

  • considering accessibility when purchasing goods or services.

The regulation applies to public, private and not-for-profit businesses and organizations that:

  • provide goods, services, or facilities either directly to the public or to other businesses or organizations and

  • have at least one employee in Ontario.

These requirements are being phased in over time between 2011 and 2021.

Policy Statement

The Halton Hills Public Library is committed to providing equal access, communication, information, and opportunities to people with disabilities.

DEFINITIONS:

AODA refers to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Assistive Device is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of a person with a disability.

Barrier as defined by the AODA means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technology barrier, or any other such policy or practice.

Disability or Disabilities,  as defined by the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code, are:

  • any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  • a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  • a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • a mental disorder, or
  • an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Service Animal As reflected in the 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 provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

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

SCOPE/STAFF PRIMARILY AFFECTED

This policy governs the provision of resources and services by the library to persons with disabilities which includes the provision of resources and services by library employees, volunteers, board members, students and any others engaged in the provision of library services.

POLICY DETAILS:

I.  Information and Communication

        a.Service Disruptions

In the event of a planned service disruption to facilities, services or systems that are relied upon by people with disabilities to access the library’s resources, services or facilities, notice of the disruption shall be provided in advance.

Notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities, services or systems that may be available.

Notice may be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place on library premises or on the library website or by such other method as is reasonable under the circumstances.

In the event of an unexpected disruption, notice will be provided as soon as possible.

        b.Format of Documents

The Library will provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication support for persons with disabilities, upon request, including:

1. Library policy documents.

2. Information available to the public regarding emergency procedures, plans or public safety information.

3.Accessible Websites and web content.

4. Provide access to, or arrange for, the provision of access to accessible materials where they exist.

       c.Feedback Process

The library shall create and maintain a feedback process so that members of the public are able to comment on the provision of resources and services to people with disabilities.

The feedback process will allow for comments in person, by telephone, in writing, or by delivering electronic text by email, or otherwise.

The feedback process will specify the actions that will be taken by the library, if complaints or suggestions are received

II.  Customer Service

        a.Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices in accessing the library’s resources, services and facilities.

Exceptions may occur in situations where the library has determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of the person with a disability or to the health and safety of others on library premises. In these situations, the library may offer a person with a disability other reasonable measures to assist him or her in obtaining and using library services, where the library has such other measures available.

It is the responsibility of the person with a disability to ensure that his or her assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times.

        b.Support Persons

Persons with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their support persons in areas/premises that are open to the public, when accessing library resources, services and facilities.

The library may deem it necessary to require a support person for a person with a disability in order to protect the health and safety of that person or of others on the premises. This will occur after consultation with the person with a disability and when it is the only means to allow the person with a disability to access the library’s resources, services or facilities.

A support person, when assisting a person with a disability to obtain or use library services, will be permitted to attend at no charge where an admission fee is applicable.

        c.Service Animals

Persons with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animals and keep those animals with them in areas that are open to the public when accessing library resources, services and facilities, unless otherwise prohibited by law.

In the event that a service animal is prohibited from the premises, the library will ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the library’s resources, services or facilities.

If it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal or a guide dog, library staff may ask the person for confirmation of the animal’s status, as outlined by the definition of a service animal.

Service animals must be supervised by their owners and kept in control when used to access the library’s resources, services and facilities.

        d.Training

As required by Ontario Regulation 191/11, the following individuals will receive training on the topics outlined in the regulation:

- Staff, volunteers, agents/contractors and any other individuals who interact with the public or other third parties on behalf of the library; and

- Staff, volunteers, agents/contractors and any other individuals who participate in the development of library policy, practices and procedures governing the provision of resources and services to members of the public.

III.  Employment

During the recruitment process, employees and the public will be notified about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities during the assessment or selection process.

Successful applicants will be notified of Town and Library policies and any other additional supports pertaining to the accommodation of employees with disabilities.

The Library will provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication job supports, upon request.

The Library will provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability.

The Library will develop and have in place a written process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

The Library will develop and have in place a return to work process for employees who have been absent due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work.

During performance management, career development/advancement and redeployment, managers and supervisors will take into account the accessibility needs or their employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans.

POLICY REVIEW

The Accessible Customer Service Policy will be reviewed when additional accessibility related regulations are enacted by the Government of Ontario, or as required.

Revised/Approved: September 13, 2017

Revised/Approved:  March 11, 2015

Next Scheduled Review: January 2022