Accessibility Policy / Plan

Search Engine People- Policies, Practices and Procedures

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“the AODA”) is a Provincial Act with the purpose of developing, implementing and mandating accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities, with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises.

Statement of Commitment

Search Engine People is committed to providing a respectful, welcoming, accessible, and inclusive environment for all persons with disabilities in a way that is respectful of their dignity and independence. Search Engine People is committed to removing accessibility barriers and meeting legislative requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to providing accommodations should they be required.

We are committed to becoming a barrier free environment and meeting the requirements of all existing legislation and its own policies and goals related to identifying, removing and preventing barriers to people with disabilities that might interfere with their ability to interact with Search Engine People.

Search Engine People ensures that all persons within its community are aware of their rights and responsibilities to foster an accessible and inclusive environment with and for persons with disabilities.

Search Engine People is committed to, and will strive to ensure that, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, its regulations, standards and all other relevant legislation concerning accessibility, are rigorously observed in a timely fashion.

Accountabilities & Responsibilities

Search Engine People Executive Leadership

  • Implementing and promoting the policy in their area of direct report and throughout the organization.
  • Drive the culture to a high level of understanding regarding disability and accommodation.
  • Fostering open and constructive communication with the team & organization as a whole.
  • Demonstrating sensitivity to and respect confidentiality of information.
  • Participating and co-operating to facilitate workplace accommodation.

Human Resources:

  • Participating and cooperating with all parties.
  • Acting as a resource for all parties and participants.
  • Supporting and educating managers in their obligations.

Employees:

  • Participating and cooperating with all parties to facilitate workplace accommodation.

General Definitions

Accessible Formats: include, but are not limited to accessible electronic formats, Braille, text transcripts, large print, recorded audio, and other formats accessible to persons with disabilities.

Assistive Device: a technical aid, communication device or other instrument that is used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Personal assistive devices are typically devices that members and guests bring with them such as a wheelchair, walker or a personal oxygen tank that might assist in hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, breathing, remembering and/or reading.

Barrier: as defined by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his/her disability. This includes:

  • A physical barrier,
  • An architectural barrier,
  • An informational or communications barrier,
  • An attitudinal barrier,
  • A policy, practice and procedure barrier.

Communication Supports: include but are not limited to sign language, plain language and other communication supports that facilitate effective communications.

Disability: a key feature of the AODA is its definition of “disability”. Under the AODA, the definition of “disability” is the same as the definition in the Ontario Human Rights Code [2]:

Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement including, but not limited to:

  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Epilepsy;
  • A brain injury;
  • Any degree of paralysis;
  • Amputation;
  • Lack of physical coordination;
  • Blindness or visual impediment;
  • Deafness or hearing impediment;
  • Muteness or speech impediment; or
  • Physical reliance of 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.
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, 1997.

The definition includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effects of which may come and go. This is a broad definition, and one that must be considered closely when educating our employees in the appropriate response to our customers.

  1. Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation Policy

Purpose and Background

The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (Regulation 191/11) (the “IASR”) under the AODA provides standards for private sector organizations to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities specifically in the areas of:

  • Information and Communications
  • Employment

Accessibility Plan

In order to achieve our goals, Search Engine People has developed a multi-year Accessibility Plan which documents Search Engine People’s strategy and commitment to meet the applicable standards of the IASR.

The Accessibility Plan will be reviewed and updated at least once every five years.

(1) Training

Search Engine People will ensure that timely training is provided to all necessary persons, that it aligns with the requirements of the accessibility standards referred to in the IASR and  Search Engine People will continue to provide training on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities. Appropriate records of training are maintained.

Training, using the most appropriate methodologies, as appropriate, is provided to the following person(s):

  • All employees via onboarding, documentation sign off, and e- leaning modules through a third party supplier.

 (2) Information and Communication Standards

(a) Feedback

Search Engine People will ensure that its processes for receiving and responding to feedback are made available to persons with disabilities, whether members of the public, clients, customers or employees, in an appropriate, accessible format or communication support, upon their request, and that members of the public are notified of the availability of such an option.

(b) Accessible Formats and Communication Supports (to be effective in full by January 1, 2016)

Search Engine People will, upon request provide information and communications under our control about our goods and services to people with disabilities using the appropriate accessible format or communication support wherever possible. Search Engine People will review and determine its current offerings of accessible formats and communications supports and will engage in an ongoing process of identifying additional accessible formats.

(c) Accessible Websites and Web Content

Search Engine People will ensure all of its websites, content, and applications directly controlled by  Search Engine People or through its contractual relationships, will be in conformity with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, as required by the IASR, by January 1, 2021, as practicable.

(3) Employment Standards (to be effective in full by January 1, 2016)

(a) Recruitment

Search Engine People will notify its employees and external applicants about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment process. Search Engine People is committed to removing accessibility barriers and meeting legislative requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to providing accommodations should they be required.

Applicants should reach out to jdosanjh@sep.ca should they require any accommodations during the recruitment/hiring process

(b) Recruitment, Assessment or Selection Process

Search Engine People will ensure that job applicants are notified when they are individually selected to participate in the assessment or selection process and that accommodation for disabilities are made available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used. Search Engine People will consult with individuals who request accommodations and will provide for appropriate accommodations. There is accessible parking in front of the building, large spacious office space and front foyer.  As a company we have also invested in technologies such as skype, slack and zoom meetings for remote interviews and conferencing in.

(c) Notice to Successful Applicants

When presenting offers of employment, Search Engine People will notify the successful applicant of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities. AODA is covered in the general Health and Safety package sent out to new hires. We will also discuss what accommodations will be needed prior to the individuals start date to ensure a smooth and successful transition into the organization.

(d) Informing Employees of Supports

Search Engine People will ensure that employees are informed of all accessibility policies (and any updates to those policies) used to support employees with disabilities, including policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee’s accessibility needs due to disability. This information will be provided to new employees as soon as possible after commencing employment.

(e) Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees

Upon request of an employee with a disability, Search Engine People will consult with the employee to provide, or arrange for accessible formats and communication supports for information that is needed to perform his/her job, and information that is available to other employees. In order to determine the suitability of an accessible format or communication support, Search Engine People will consult with the employee making the request. Accessible formats and communications support regarding general workplace information will also be provided to employees with disabilities.

(f) Workplace Emergency Response Information

Search Engine People provides employees with disabilities individualized workplace emergency response information when the employee’s disability is such that the information is required and Search Engine People has been informed of the need to accommodate the employee’s disability.

(g) Documented Individual Accommodation Plans

Search Engine People currently accommodate the needs of its employees with disabilities as required under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Search Engine People will develop individualized accommodation plans for its employees with disabilities.

(h) Return to Work Process

Search Engine People will maintain a documented return to work process for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and who require disability-related accommodations and support in order to return to work. The return to work process will clearly define and outline the steps to facilitate the return to work and will include documented accommodation plans for each individual as part of the process. The above stated return to work process will not replace, hinder or override any other return to work process created by or under any other statute (i.e., the Workplace Safety Insurance Act, 1997).

(i) Performance Management, Career Development and Advancement and Redeployment

Search Engine People will continue to consider the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as individual accommodation plans, when conducting performance management reviews, providing career development and advancement to employees and when redeploying employees.

  1. Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy

Purpose and Background

Under the AODA, Ontario Regulation 429/07, entitled “Accessibility Standards for Customer Service” (the “Service Regulation”), came into effect on January 1, 2008. The Service Regulation establishes accessibility standards specific to customer service for private sector organizations that provide goods and services to members of the public or other third parties.

The objective of this policy is to identify what the equal treatment provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, through the AODA and the Service Regulation, require with respect to service delivery to persons with disabilities and addresses the following:

  • The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities;
  • The Use of Assistive Devices;
  • The Use of Guide Dogs and Service Animals;
  • The Use of Support Persons;
  • Notice of Service Disruptions;
  • Customer Feedback;
  • Training; and
  • Notice of Availability and Format of Required Documents

Statement of Commitment and Accountabilities

Commitment

Search Engine People is committed to providing a respectful, welcoming, accessible, and inclusive environment in the provision of goods and services for both customers/clients and employees alike. Search Engine People is committed to, and strives to ensure that, the AODA, the standards and all other relevant legislation concerning accessibility, are rigorously observed. Search Engine People ensures that all persons within its community are aware of their rights and responsibilities to foster an accessible and inclusive environment with and for persons with disabilities.

Search Engine People is committed to becoming a barrier free environment and meeting the requirements of all existing legislation.

Scope

  1. This policy applies to the provision of goods and services at premises owned and/or operated by Search Engine People as well as any interactions with employees and customer/clients via telephone, email or written mail.

Additional Definitions:

Guide Dog: A highly-trained working dog that has been trained at one of the special facilities to provide mobility, safety and increased independence for people who are blind.

Service Animal: The Service Regulation[3] defines a “service animal” as “an animal for a person with disability”. In this policy, a service animal is:

  • Any animal used by a person with a disability for reasons relating to the disability; or
  • Where the person provides a letter from a physician confirming that they require the animal for reasons relating to their disability; or
  • Where the person provides a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada or a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.

Support Person: 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, medical needs or access to goods and services.

Customer Service Policy, Practice and Procedure

(1) The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities

Search Engine People will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity by:

  • ensuring that all customers receive the same value and quality;
  • allowing customers with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as this does not present a safety risk;
  • using alternative methods when possible to ensure that customers with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
  • taking into account individual needs when providing goods and services; and
  • communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.

The term “persons with disabilities” will be the norm, and if a specific condition must be referenced, the condition will be referenced last (e.g., person with low vision). The following are some general tips that may help make communication and interaction with or about people with all types of disabilities more successful:

  • Remember to put people first. It is proper to say person with a disability, rather than disabled person or the disabled.
  • It is best to wait until an individual describes his or her situation to you, rather than to make your own assumptions. Many types of disabilities have similar characteristics and assumptions may be wrong.

 (2) Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by Search Engine People. In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services. For example, where elevators are not present and where an individual requires assistive devices for the purposes of mobility, service will be provided in a location that meets the needs of the customer.

 (3) Guide Dogs and Service Animals

A customer with a disability that is accompanied by a guide dog or service dog will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. Dog Owners’ Liability Act, Ontario: If there is a conflict between a provision of this Act or of a regulation under this or any other Act relating to banned breeds (such as pit bulls) and a provision of a by-law passed by a municipality relating to these breeds, the provision that is more restrictive in relation to controls or bans on these breeds prevails. If a guide dog or service animal is excluded by law, Search Engine People will try to offer alternative methods to enable the person with a disability to access goods and services, when possible.

(4) Support Persons

If a customer/client with a disability is accompanied by a support person, Search Engine People will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter the premises together and that the customer/client is not prevented from having access to the support person. All customer/client confidentiality requirements and practices will also apply to support persons.

(6) Training

Training will be provided to all employees who deal with the public; revised training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation. Search Engine People will keep a record of training that includes the dates training was provided, the number of employees and names of employees trained.

The training will include information on the purposes of the AODA, requirements of this Service Regulation, how to communicate and interact with people with disabilities, how to interact with service animal or support person, how to utilize assisted devices that are available at our premises.

There is a general sign off in our standard Health & Safety Package along with a formal AODA online training component. This will be adminsistered and completed within the first three months of employment with the company.

(7) Notice of Disruptions in Service

Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of  Search Engine People In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that customers with disabilities rely on to access or use, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice.

(8) Feedback Process

Search Engine People shall provide customers/clients with the opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided to persons with disabilities. Information about the feedback process will be readily available to all customers/clients and notice of the process will be made available on our website, through email at hr@searcheginepeople.com .

Administration

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or its related procedures please contact: Jasmine Dosanjh jdosanjh@sep.ca  or 905 421-9340 x 402