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AODA Policy

AODA Policy

Accessibility and Accommodation Policy – Ontario

Vicwest Inc. 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, identifying and removing barriers that could impede the ability of people with disabilities to access goods and services. This includes employees, clients, and suppliers.

In June 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”). The purpose of this enhanced Act is to develop, implement and enforce standards of accessibility for all Ontarians. Vicwest’s Accessibility Policy is consistent with the AODA and its Regulations.

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline practices and procedures that Vicwest has implemented to help identify and remove barriers that impede a person’s ability to access goods and services. This document sets out Vicwest’s policy on how it will achieve accessibility generally, as well as in customer service, information and communications, employment, and public spaces.

2. Principles of Providing Accessibility to Persons with Disabilities:

2.1. Dignity: Refers to policies, procedures and practices that treat any person, including those with a disability, as a client who is valued and deserving of effective and full service. People with disabilities should not be treated as an afterthought or forced to accept lesser service, quality or convenience. Service delivery needs to take into account how people with disabilities can effectively access and use services and show respect for these methods.

2.2. Independence: In some instances, independence means freedom from control or influence of others’ freedom to make your own choices. In other situations, it may mean the freedom to do things in your own way. People who may move or speak more slowly should not be denied an opportunity to participate in a program or service because of this factor.

2.3. Integration: Integrated services are those services that allow people with disabilities to fully benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other clients. Integration means that policies, practices and procedures are designed to be accessible to everyone including people with disabilities. Sometimes integration does not serve the needs of all people with disabilities. In these cases, it is necessary to use alternate measures to provide goods or services. Alternate measures are ways of serving people that are not completely integrated into the regular business activities of the organization.

2.4. Equal Opportunity: Equal opportunity means having the same chances, options, benefits and results as others. In the case of services, it means that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to benefit from the services you provide. People with disabilities should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain service. They should also not have to accept lesser quality or more inconvenience.

3. Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Our multi-year accessibility plan outlines our strategy to prevent and remove barriers and to meet requirements under the AODA and its Regulations. Our multi-year accessibility plan is posted on our website, and is available in an accessible format upon request. The multi-year accessibility plan will be reviewed and updated at least once every five years.

The plan includes accessibility strategies for:

  • General Accessibility
  • Customer Service
    • Assistive devices
    • Communication
    • Service animals
    • Support persons
    • Accessible Emergency Information
    • Training
    • Kiosks
    • Notice of temporary disruption
    • Availability
    • Feedback process
  • Employment
  • Information and Communications
  • Built Environment – Design of Public Spaces

3.1. General Accessibility

Vicwest will train all employees, volunteers, and others on Ontario’s accessibility standards and on the Ontario Human Rights Code as it applies to persons with disabilities. The training will be appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of the individuals being trained, and will be provided as soon as practicable and upon changes to our accessibility policies.

3.2. Customer Service

Vicwest ensures the identification and removal of barriers to access for people with disabilities by providing products and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.

3.2.1. Assistive devices
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. We will use our best efforts to accommodate all assistive devices. However, if necessary, we will use alternate methods to provide service to customers with disabilities in a manner that takes their disability into consideration.

3.2.2. Communication
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

3.2.3. Service animals
We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public. If the service animal is legally excluded from some parts of the common areas of the premises, we will provide alternate measures to enable the person to obtain, use or benefit from the service.

If it is not readily apparent that an animal is being used as a service animal for reasons relating to the customer’s disability, we may request verification from the customer. Verification may include:

  • A letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
  • A valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or
  • A certificate of training from a recognized guide dog school or service animal training school

If a health and safety concern presents itself, for example in the form of severe allergy to the animal, we will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.

3.2.4. Support persons
A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to have that person accompany them on our premises.

Consent will be obtained from the customer to discuss confidential information with the support person present, prior to any conversation where confidential information is discussed.

Fees will not be charged for support persons.

3.2.5. Accessible Emergency Information
Vicwest is committed to providing its 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.

3.2.6. Training
Vicwest provides training to existing employees and other staff members who deal with the public or other third parties on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training is provided to all new employees and other staff members who deal with the public or other third parties during the orientation process. Training is provided in a way that best suits the duties of the employees and other staff members. Records of training will be maintained.

Training will include:

  • An overview of the AODA and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07;
  • Vicwest’s Accessible Customer Service Plan;
  • 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 a support person;
  • How to use the equipment or devices that are available at our premises or that we provide that may help people with disabilities; and
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Vicwest’s goods and services.

Training will also be provided to people involved in the development of policies, plans, practices and procedures related to the provision of our goods and services.

Staff will also be trained when changes are made to the Accessible Customer Service Plan.

3.2.7. Kiosks
Vicwest has regard for accessibility features that could be integrated into kiosks that best meet the needs of our customers.

3.2.8. Notice of temporary disruption
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for customers with disabilities at any of our facilities, Vicwest will notify customers promptly. This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

The notice will be posted in the area of the disruption, in order to provide an opportunity to make alternate arrangements. Where appropriate, e-mail notification will be provided.

3.2.9. Availability
Vicwest shall notify customers that the documents related to the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, are available upon request and in a format that takes into account the customer’s disability. Notification will be given by having this information available on-site, on the website or by any other reasonable method.

3.2.10. Feedback Process
If you have any questions, concerns or feedback about this policy, its related procedures and how Vicwest provides goods and services to people with disabilities, please contact:

Alicia Bone
Manager, Human Resources
Phone: +1 905-825-2252

Alternate methods of feedback are available upon request.

Customers can expect a response in seven (7) business days. Complaints will be addressed according to our organization’s regular complaint management procedures.

3.3. Information and Communications

Vicwest is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. Vicwest will provide information and communication materials in accessible formats or with communication supports upon request, in a timely manner, taking into account the person’s accessibility needs. This includes publicly available information about Vicwest’s goods, services and facilities, as well as publicly available emergency information. Vicwest will also provide individuals with an opportunity to provide feedback in an accessible format.

Vicwest will consult with persons with disabilities to determine how to provide accommodation for their information and communication needs. It will be provided at no additional cost than the cost charged to other persons.

If necessary, Vicwest will provide an explanation of why the information and communication are unconvertible, and a summary of such information and communication.

Finally, Vicwest has made its websites and web content conform with the World Wide Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Level AA in accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

3.4. Employment

Vicwest values all of its employees and is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible workplace. In keeping with this commitment, Vicwest has developed policies and practices that comply with the employment-related requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Vicwest includes notification of the availability of accommodation for disabilities in recruitment, assessment and selection. In addition, we include notification of accommodation policies with all offers of employment and to all existing employees.

We have created a process for the development of written, individual accommodation plans and return to work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability. Individual accommodation plans are in place for all accommodations, include information on accessible formats and communication supports and identify any other accommodations being provided. There will also be a written return to work process for disability related absences.

For performance management, career development and advancement, and redeployment, Vicwest takes into account accessibility needs and any accommodation plans.

3.5. Built Environment – Design of Public Spaces

Vicwest is committed to incorporating barrier-free design principles in newly constructed and redeveloped public spaces in accordance with the timelines set out in the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Vicwest meets the accessibility standards for all built environments, including:

  • Exterior paths of travel
  • Accessible parking
  • Service counters
  • Fixed queuing guides
  • Waiting areas

We will put procedures in place to prevent service disruption to accessibility to public spaces. In the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the service disruption and alternatives available.

4. Modifications to this or other policies

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

Human Rights legislation
Code of Conduct