Accessibility Policy & Standards Statement

Accessibility Policy Statement

“Several laws in Ontario address accessibility and some requirements have existed since the 1980s. Since then, progress on accessibility has been made in some areas and by some organizations.

Despite this, accessibility remains limited. People with disabilities still do not have equal access to services, employment, transportation, information or buildings that others in Ontario enjoy. They cannot count on accessibility being available. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 was passed with the goal of creating standards to improve accessibility across the province.” 

Excerpt from the AODA Customer Care Guide

The AODA sets out a framework by which all organizations (business and non-profit) will work towards making Ontario fully accessible to all Ontarians by 2025.  The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same kinds of opportunities to participate in Ontario society, as people without disabilities.

This law was developed to :

  • Provide a greater understanding of the barriers that people with disabilities face,
  • Identify, remove and prevent such barriers, and
  • Promote a more inclusive society in Ontario
  • As such, the Province of Ontario has created and will enforce certain mandatory “accessibility standards” that businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to people in Ontario have to meet.

    These standards reference the full range of disabilities, including physical, sensory, health, mental health, developmental, medical, learning, or injury, which may or may not require an assistive device or service animal.

    Standards have been developed in three areas:

  • Customer Service Standards
  • Integrated Accessibility Standards covering:
  • Information & Communication, Transportation and Employment
  • Standards will be developed in the future for Building Environments.

    Standards in each area are unique and legislated “Regulations” specify the elements that organizations must comply with in order to make goods and services equally accessible to those with and without disabilities.

    Sunbeam Community & Developmental Services, and all of its programs and departments are committed to ensuring that its services and supports to individuals, and access to such services, their environments, their employment practices and their information/communication strategies follow legislative requirements.

    This commitment is supported by an organizational Strategic Plan and Policies and Procedures.  These formal documents include organizational Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Priorities which collectively recognize the dignity, independence, equality of opportunity, and right to integration into the community, of all citizens who approach us.

    A Multi-Year Accessibility Plan has been developed to identify processes, strategies and commitments which ensure Sunbeam’s ongoing compliance with Provincial Standards, as well as associated Sunbeam Policies which are reviewed and updated regularly to keep pace with any changes to accessibility legislation that may occur.  A copy of the organization’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan may be requested via written, verbal or electronic means.

    Refer to policy:  AD-ge-109

    Statement of Customer Services – Accessibility Standards

    In concert with our Mission, Sunbeam Community & Developmental Services strives, at all times, to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with all disabilities.

  • We are committed to providing people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.
  • We are committed to quality service to all customers, including people with disabilities, and demonstrate that commitment in the following areas and manner.
  • Communication

  • We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that consider their disability.
  • We will communicate via a variety of media, e.g., in person, by telephone, by email, or by mail to accommodate the individual’s disability.
  • We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various disabilities, using a variety of media, in clear and plain language.
  • Where we provide goods and services that we charge a fee for, we will provide “accessible” invoices, upon request, in formats that consider a person’s disability, e.g., hard copy, large print, email. 
  • Assisted Devices

  • We recognize that people with disabilities may require assistive devices to learn about, obtain, or benefit from our services.
  • We will ensure that our staff are familiar with and know how to use a variety of assistive devices that may be used by people while accessing our goods and services. We will have or obtain devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, braces, grab bars, commodes, and lifts, or otherwise, available at our services delivery sites, for individuals’ use.
  • Use of Service Animals and Support Persons

  • We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal into those parts of our physical environments that are open to the general public or certain other areas, so long as it is not otherwise excluded by law, and the health and well-being of other disabled individuals that might be present in those environments are not compromised by the presence of the service animal.
  • We will train our staff, volunteers and others who deal with customers, in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person into our physical environments.  While in our environments, the person will not be prevented from having access to his/her support person.
  • No admission fee is charged, in general, to a support person who accompanies a disabled individual into our environments.  If we charge a fee for attending an event, no such fee will be charged to the support person, except that if we charge a fee and we require the support person to also pay the fee, a notice to this effect will be communicated to the customer, including the posting of such notice in relevant environments.
  • Notice of Temporary Disruption

  • We provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.  This notice will include the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternate facilities or services, if available.  The notice may be written, and placed at public entrances to our premises or provided to customers by hard copy or email or may be verbal, and conveyed in person, or by telephone.
  • Training of Staff

  • We will provide training to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public in the provision of goods and services in AODA, its regulations, and in Sunbeam’s Customer Service Standards, Policies and Procedures.
  • More specifically, this training will include:

  • Purpose of AODA, its Customer Service Standards and the organization’s customer service policies and procedures;
  • Methods of interacting and communicating with persons with disabilities, and information about any assistive devices, service animals or support  persons they may use;
  • Use of equipment and assistive devices employed by the organization;
  • How to assist individuals who may have difficulties accessing Sunbeam goods and services.
  • Sunbeam Community & Developmental Services will provide ongoing training if/when policies and procedures are changed and will keep records of the training provided.

    Feedback Process 

  • We will meet or exceed customer service expectations. Feedback, including complaints, regarding our provision of services to people with disabilities and our Customer Service Standards may be made to the Chief Executive Officer via written, verbal or electronic means.
  • Customers can expect a response from the Chief Executive Officer, or delegate, within two business days of its receipt.  Such response shall be communicated via written, verbal or electronic means, being in a format that takes into account the disability (if any) that the feedback provider has.

    Refer to policy:  AD-ge-111