Accessibility Standards

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA, 2005)

In addition to the ODA, the Province of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) on May 10, 2005 and received Royal Assent on June 13, 2005. The AODA is a provincial law that recognizes the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario and will require the “…development, implementation and enforcement of standards” for accessibility to goods, services, facilities, employment, accommodation, and buildings for persons with disabilities.

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (O. reg. 427/07)

The Customer Service Standard (O. Reg. 429/07) sets out rules that organizations, businesses and municipalities must follow to serve persons with disabilities. These rules include the development of policies, practices and procedures on providing goods and services, understanding and making provisions for persons with disabilities to use service animals and support persons, training staff on how to serve for persons with disabilities and providing a two-way communication process that respects a person's disability.

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policies and Procedures

The City of Hamilton is committed to ensuring that Council, all levels of corporate management and staff, plan implement and evaluate strategies and opportunities that sustain and maintain the rights of persons with disabilities and their families to barrier-free programs, services and opportunities. In so doing, the City implements the Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 according to the legislation’s standards for municipalities.

The City of Hamilton is committed to providing customer service to persons with disabilities in a manner that:

  • respects their dignity and independence;
  • is integrated as fully as practicable into the method of service delivery;
  • ensures reasonable efforts are made to provide equitable opportunities to accessing goods and services;
  • allows persons with disabilities to benefit from the same services, programs and opportunities in ways that are based on their own needs and self-determination.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, Integrated Accessibility Standards and Customer Service Standard Handbook

Below are the excerpts of policy statements and procedures that all staff, volunteers, consultants and agents working on behalf of the City and third parties must follow.

 

The City of Hamilton welcomes and provides equitable access to all goods, services, programs and opportunities, to persons with disabilities who use personal assistive devices. They must be permitted to use their personal assistive devices, unless prohibited by law. Persons with disabilities must be made aware of any assistive devices, services and service methods, supplied by the City of Hamilton, that may assist with the provision of goods, services, programs and opportunities. Staff must know how to use the devices and equipment available in their specific areas. Assistive devices must be offered in a manner that respects a person’s dignity and independence.

Guiding Principles

To ensure that all persons enjoy barrier-free and equitable access to City of Hamilton goods, services, programs and opportunities while maintaining their dignity and  independence. 

Purpose

To remove potential barriers by ensuring equitable access to goods, services, programs and opportunities for persons with disabilities who use personal assistive devices. 

Goals

To provide a respectful and welcoming environment that maintains the dignity and independence of all persons with disabilities who use personal assistive devices. 

Definitions

A Personal Assistive Device is any technical aid, communication device or medical aid that is designed, made, adapted or customized to assist a person with a disability, to increase, maintain, or perform a particular task. Assistive devices include but are not limited to:

  • canes
  • crutches
  • walkers
  • wheel chairs
  • white canes 
  • identity canes
  • oxygen tanks
  • hearing aids
  • word boards 
  • electronic communication devices
  • augmentative and alternative devices,
  • Bell Relay
  • telephone amplifiers

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below.
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton, will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures. 

Procedures

  1. Persons with disabilities have the right to use their own assistive devices at all times, to obtain, use or benefit from the City of Hamilton’s goods and services.  It is the responsibility of persons with disabilities to ensure that their assistive devices are operated in a safe and controlled manner.
     
  2. Staff may, respectfully, ask persons with disabilities about their preferred method of communication or how the staff member can best provide the required good or service and make every attempt to communicate, using the client’s preferred method. 
     
  3. If the request is for a format that is not usually made available, such as a document to be provided in Braille, then reasonable advance notice is required by the City of Hamilton, in most cases 3 - 5 working days. However, requests for larger and more complex documents could take up to 10 or more working days.  This is to be discussed with the person with a disability who made the request.
     
  4.  If there is a regular fee that applies to providing the document requested to the public, the City of Hamilton will charge the same fee for the alternative format.  No additional charges will be passed on to the person with the disability, for making the document available in an alternative format.
     
  5. Wheelchairs, Bell Relay System, large print, pen and paper are available within the City of Hamilton and text to talk devices and FM systems are available in limited locations, such as Customer Service Counter locations like City Hall, Museums, Tourism sites and some Ontario Works locations. 

    In certain locations, staff will have to post signage to also inform the public of the requirement to book a request for specific assistive devices in advance when not available on site. This information will also be made available to the public on the City’s web site and at customer serving locations. 
     
  6. All management, staff, Council and volunteers of the City, will be trained and made aware of the various assistive devices that may be used by persons with disabilities, while accessing our goods, programs and services.
     
  7. In order to use and/or benefit from the services, programs and opportunities, staff may offer City-owned assistive devices, to persons with disabilities.
     
  8. In the exceptional circumstance, where a person with a disability should want to use a city-provided wheelchair or walker, due to malfunctioning of a person’s wheelchair, walker or scooter, the City of Hamilton staff may, in consultation with the person with a disability, offer the use of a city-provided wheelchair or walker.  Staff will provide instructions for use of city-provided wheelchairs and walkers that are loaned out to residents in these circumstances.
     
  9. In such circumstances, the department management or designates will fill out an incident report and send a copy to the Access & Equity Office by internal mail. 
        9.1 Each department must develop a process for recording, tracking and monitoring of these requests.
     
  10. Each department must provide a list of assistive devices available to persons with disabilities and post this in a visible location on the premises. 
     
  11. City of Hamilton departments must provide and have available, specific guidelines to persons with disabilities regarding how to use the assistive devices. 
     
  12. In exceptional circumstance, where the person who has a disability must be separated from their assistive device, City of Hamilton staff must, in consultation with the person who has a disability, arrange for alternate support to ensure timely and quality provision of the goods, services program and opportunities being sought.  If such a situation can be foreseen, consult with the person with a disability, so that appropriate arrangements can be made.  These arrangements must be made and communicated, in advance, to staff and any other person who may be involved. 

The City of Hamilton’s Mayor, Councillors and staff will communicate with persons who have disabilities in ways that are respectful and take into account the person’s disability. 

Guiding Principles

To ensure that all persons enjoy unhindered and respectful access to goods, services, programs and opportunities provided by the City, irrespective of their method of communication, while maintaining their dignity and independence. 

Purpose

To ensure that all persons providing goods and services on behalf of the City, shall take into account the communication needs of persons with disabilities. 

Goals

  • To facilitate efficient, effective and respectful provision of goods, services, programs and opportunities to persons with disabilities. 
  • To ensure that staff know how to provide service in various manners or know who is able to and/or assigned to provide same including accessing American Sign Language interpreters, interveners, large print, audio formats, Braille, hand-writing and texting formats.

Definitions

  • Communication is a process of providing, sending, receiving and understanding information.  
  • Communication must take place in a manner that takes into account the individual’s disability. This means that you must consider how the disability affects the way that the person expresses, receives or processes communications.  

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton, will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures. 

Procedures

  1. The City of Hamilton staff departments will ensure that inclusive methods of communications will be made available to persons who have disabilities and ensure that they are adapted, where possible, to take into account a person’s disability.
     
  2. Department staff will notify the public, regarding the different kinds of inclusive communication methods available to them, when using and/or accessing goods, services and programs and staff will provide the procedures to the public on how to use these methods.
     
  3. Department staff will be knowledgeable about the variety of communication methods available and must know how to provide them in various ways or know who in the organization has the skill to perform certain functions, or know where to access such services. 
     
  4. Finding a suitable communication method may require staff to explore options, depending upon the situation or circumstances.  For example, someone who is unable to speak or has difficulty speaking, may use gestures, pen and paper or typing back and forth, when the information being exchanged is simple or straightforward. Other people, with speech disabilities, may use electronic communication systems and, though it might be difficult to understand the synthetic voice, taking the time to listen carefully or to observe a visual display of the information, will often allow effective communication.
     
  5. Staff that provides goods, services, programs and opportunities to the public, will be trained on how to communicate with persons with different kinds or types of disabilities.
     
  6. Whenever possible, staff will plan ahead, when providing goods, services, programs and opportunities, to ensure that technical devices, which assist communication, are fully operational and appropriate for the needs of the individuals or group with disabilities.
     
  7. When unavoidable, staff will direct persons with disabilities to alternate locations, where it is convenient to the person requiring service, so that they have access to appropriate communication methods, or arrange a time when a communication device or assistance can be made available.

Guidelines for Public Meetings and Open Houses

  1. Consideration will be given to the Accessible Meeting Checklist when scheduling, organizing and setting up public meetings, information centres and open houses. 
     
  2. Where possible, in accordance with the procedures, accessibility supports such as Real Time Captioners, American Sign Language Interpreters, Interveners, etc. will be made available on request. Note that these services will have to be scheduled or booked at least five working days or more, in advance. 
     
  3. Staff departments must ensure that certain assistive devices are provided at scheduled public meetings, information centres and open houses. Other types of assistive devices may be available on request with advance notice. 
     
  4. These assistive devices may include but are not limited to: infrared hearing systems, FM systems, infrared amplification devices, pen and paper, electronic copies of presentations, text to talk versions of reports or materials, large print documents (where practicable) and magnification devices. 
     
  5. Documents will be made available, on request, in Braille, large print (Clear and Large Print Guidelines) and in electronic format. These requests could take from 24 hours to 10 or more working days to provide materials. Staff will advise the individual of the approximate length of time before their request is filled. Where possible, a limited number of large print copies will be made available. 
     
  6. Advertisements and notices of public meetings, information centres, open houses, including the provision of programs or services, will indicate the level of accessibility of the venue and/or where the accessible locations are and any accessibility supports being provided. 
     
  7. Staff will also provide a contact name and telephone number for persons with disabilities or their designate to call to make arrangements for accessibility support in advance of the public meetings, information centre or open houses (Standard Accessibility Clause). 

Billing

Where reasonably possible, the City of Hamilton will inquire whether billing information, tax bills, invoices, etc., are required in an alternate format, for persons receiving goods and services.  This enquiry can be done in a variety of ways such as inserts in tax bills and correspondence or on the City of Hamilton’s website.  Examples of alternate formats include but not limited to, hard copies, large print, e-mails, Braille, CD and audio format. 

Record Keeping

Where reasonably possible, the City of Hamilton staff, with the written consent of the person with a disability who may be a regular participant or service user, will indicate and record their specific communication needs, for future reference, if deemed necessary and appropriate.

The City of Hamilton will, in advance, where possible and in a timely manner, provide notice when services are temporarily disrupted, particularly those services used by or relied upon by persons who have disabilities. 

Guiding Principles

To ensure all persons who use goods, services and programs provided by the City shall enjoy unhindered and respectful access while maintaining their dignity and independence. 

Purpose

To ensure that persons with disabilities are advised of service interruptions, in a timely manner and in locations accessible to the person using the service. 

Goals

To facilitate efficient, effective and respectful provision of goods, services, programs and opportunities to persons who have disabilities.

Definitions

Disruption of service may include closure of a service or program, whether temporary or permanent and any disruption in service that would normally be considered unanticipated or unexpected.  You must provide a notification of disruption of service for any location, that a person with a disability must use, in order for goods, services and programs to be accessible to them.

Examples of disruption of service can be due to one or more of the following: 

  • Inaccessibility to entrances
  • Lack of safety when accessing an entrance
  • Automatic door openers not working
  • Elevating devices not working
  • Lack of technical aids routinely provided by the City 
  • Insufficient lighting for persons with low vision 
  • Building maintenance 
  • Lack of availability of Interpreters 

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton, will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures.  

Procedures

  1. Where there is any temporary disruption in services, in whole or in part, disruption notices will be posted in a timely manner, as soon as City staff has confirmed the disruption in service.
    1.1 In the event of planned service disruptions, an advance notice shall be provided and posted in conspicuous locations. 
    1.2 In the event of an unexpected disruption, notice shall be provided as soon as possible and posted in conspicuous locations for example, on or near the site of disruption, other obvious locations and on the City’s website. 
     
  2. Written notices will be posted visibly in all public areas by using inclusive communication modes. 
     
  3. Notices of disruption will be provided through phone, e-mail or advance mail to persons with disabilities, who may be involved in community committees or working on projects and initiatives with staff, such as focus groups, consultations and advisory committees.  Efforts will be made by staff to provide alternative opportunities for persons with disabilities, whose participation is negatively impacted by the disruption.
     
  4. Notices will be posted in locations, including (but not limited to): 
    4.1 Notices posted on the City's website 
    4.2 Notices can be provided in recorded telephone messages 
    4.3 Notices, where applicable, will be provided to: 
    1. Information desks 
    2. Reception staff or front counter staff 
    3. Other relevant points of public contact 
    4. Local and regional media where applicable 
       
  5. The notice will include: 
    5.1 Information about the reason for the disruption in the service or  program; 
    5.2 The anticipated duration of the disruption; 
    5.3 A description of any available alternate services. In certain circumstances consent must be received from the person with disabilities regarding the use of alternate services and locations. 
     
  6. City staff may undertake other measures to communicate and respond to disruptions in service which are in line with the spirit of the policy. 

The City of Hamilton welcomes and provides equitable access for persons with disabilities accompanied by a guide dog or service animal to all facilities.  The person will be permitted to enter the facility with the service animal and will be permitted to keep the animal with her/him unless the animal is excluded by law from the premise.  

Guiding Principles

To ensure that all citizens enjoy equitable access to the City of Hamilton services, programs and opportunities, while maintaining their dignity and independence. 

Purpose

To remove potential barriers by ensuring equitable access to programs and services and equity of opportunity for persons with disabilities who use service animals.

Goals

To provide a respectful, safe and welcoming environment for all persons with disabilities who use service animals. 

Definitions

Service animals are animals that are individually trained to carry out tasks for persons with disabilities. Service animals are generally dogs, but may include other types of animals such as, but not limited to cats, rabbits or reptiles. Such service animals may be used to assist:

  • a person who is blind, has a vision impairment or low vision;
  • a person who is deaf, deafened or hard of hearing;
  • a person who has a mobility disability or difficulties with strength or dexterity;
  • a person who has autism or a developmental disability;
  • a person who has a mental health disability

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton, will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures.

Procedures

  1. Animals that function as service animals for persons with disabilities are permitted in all premises that are open to the public, unless prohibited by another law. Ontario Regulation 562, ss 60 (1) (a) and Ontario Reg. 31/05 of Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001,ss. (44) (2) allow service dogs to go to places where food is normally served, sold or offered for sale. Other types of service animals are not included in this exception. 

    In these cases, City of Hamilton staff must determine and carry out an alternative way to provide the same level and quality of goods, services, programs and opportunities, in collaboration with the individual. This will be done in a timely manner.
     
  2. An animal is a service animal for a person with a disability, if:
    2.1 the animal can be readily identified as one that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal; or 
    2.2 the person provides documentation from one of the following regulated health professionals confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability: 
    (i)   A member of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.
    (ii)  A member of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario.
    (iii)  A member of the College of Nurses of Ontario.
    (iv)  A member of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
    (v)  A member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
    (vi)  A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
    (vii) A member of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    (viii) A member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
    (ix)  A member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario
     
  3. When requesting documentation relating to the person’s disability, staff will ensure to ask for written documentation from a designated professional (See 2.2), in a manner that respects the privacy and confidentiality of the person with disability. The person with disability shall not be asked to provide information about the nature of their disability.
     
  4. Persons with disabilities who use service animals cannot be: 
    4.1 asked to remove their service animal from the premises; 
    4.2 isolated from others; 
    4.3 charged extra fees for the use of the animal; 
     
  5. City of Hamilton staff will ensure that clear signage, regarding any specific rules for out-of-bounds or prohibited areas that exclude service animals, is posted in conspicuous locations.
     
  6. In exceptional circumstances where the service animal may be prohibited by law, (The Dog Owners’ Liability Act 2005 prohibits individuals from owning, breeding, selling, importing, abandoning or training pit bulls, including Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier) staff may respectfully ask if an animal is a service animal and will not ask the nature of the person’s disability or purpose of the animal. Staff will explain, in a respectful manner, that the service animal must be removed from the public area due to the Municipal Bylaw and make alternate arrangements or provide the service outside the public area.  In such cases, staff is required to determine the specific secure areas where service animals are permitted to stay, with respect to the law. 
     
  7. A person with a disability, who uses service animals, cannot be denied access or refused service because others have allergies or express a fear of the service animal. All efforts must be made to respectfully accommodate both individuals.
     
  8. Due diligence needs to be paid, to address Health and Safety requirements. For example, if a person’s health and safety could be seriously impacted by the presence of a service animal on the premises open to the public, management must fully analyze all options for safely allowing the service animal. Options could include creating a distance between the two individuals, eliminating in-person contact; changing the time the two receive service or using air purifiers and any other measures that would allow the person to use their service animal on the premises.
     
  9. In very exceptional circumstances that the animal becomes out of control, causing a clear disruption or a threat to the health and safety of others and the animals’ behaviour is not corrected by the owner, a person with a disability can be asked to remove their service animal from the premises. The regular processes for such occurrences will be followed.
    9.1 Once everyone’s safety is assured, City of Hamilton staff must, in a timely manner, determine and carry out, an alternative way to provide the same calibre of service(s), in consultation with the person who has a disability. 
    9.2 An incident report will be filled out (a copy to be sent to the Access and Equity Office and one kept on file in the department). 
     
  10. As a courtesy, particularly if the person and service animal have been in attendance on the premises for a long time, staff may inquire whether the animal requires water, may designate an area in which the service animal can relieve itself and/or inquire whether the staff can be of assistance, pertaining to the service animal.

The City of Hamilton welcomes and is committed to ensuring equitable access to all goods, services, programs and opportunities for persons with disabilities, who are accompanied by support persons.  There may be a need to require a person with disabilities to be accompanied by a support person but only if a support person is necessary to protect the health and safety of the person with disability or the health and safety of others on the premise. 

Guiding Principles

To ensure that all citizens enjoy equitable access to City of Hamilton services, programs and opportunities while maintaining their dignity and independence.

Purpose

To remove potential barriers to ensuring equitable access to services for persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their support persons. 

Goals

To provide a respectful, safe and welcoming environment for all persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their support persons.

Definitions

A support person is an individual hired or chosen by a person with a disability, to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods, services, programs and opportunities.

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants, to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures. 

Procedures

  1. Both the person with a disability and their support person will be provided with access to all public areas, in a respectful manner.
     
  2. There will be no fees charged for support persons for any City of Hamilton services, programs and opportunities while supporting a person with a disability
    2.1 In all circumstances, where admission or entry fees are charged, the fees for entry of the support person will be waived. 
    This policy regarding waived fees for support persons must be documented and communicated to all staff who routinely collect and/or supervise the collection of such fees from the public. 
    2.2 Persons with disabilities will be informed of the waived fee, in accessible formats, including but not limited to the website, large print, Braille, information desks and where applicable, posted on entrance doors. 
    2.3 HSR currently administers a program to assess and prepare identification cards for persons with disabilities who use support persons. These cards are currently being used on all HSR buses 
     
  3. The person with a disability may choose not to introduce the support person.
     
  4. Where confidentiality is important, because of the sensitivity of information discussed, staff may, in appropriate circumstances, require the support person to sign a confidentiality agreement. Each department shall develop a confidentiality agreement that is suitable to the services that they provide and the needs of their staff, clients and patrons.
     
  5. Once the staff member has determined the individual to whom they are providing the service (which individual is the person with a disability), the staff member must address the person with the disability directly, rather than the support person, unless directed otherwise by the person with the disability.
     
  6. Staff may request a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person when on the premises, but only if, after consulting with the person with a disability and considering the available evidence, determines that:
    6.1 a support person is necessary to protect the health or safety of the person with a disability or the health or safety of others on the premises; and 
    6.2 there is no other reasonable way to protect the health or safety of the person with a disability and the health or safety of others on the premises.
     
  7. Staff will be trained to understand respectful ways to interact with a person with a disability, who is accompanied by a support person.  It would be disrespectful to ask for written confirmation stating that the individual is a support person or to ask for an explanation about the type of support being provided.

The City of Hamilton will establish an accessible two-way feedback/ complaints process for receiving and responding to about the manner in which goods, services, programs and opportunities are provided to persons who have disabilities.  The process will be made known to the public including what happens to complaints or feedback when they are received. 

Guiding Principles

All persons who receive goods and services and access programs in the City of Hamilton, shall have the opportunity to provide feedback on what is being done well by the City, what can be improved and an avenue for complaints. 

Purpose

To provide a genuine opportunity through accessible means for persons who have disabilities to give feedback and make complaints regarding the provision of goods, 
services, programs and opportunities provided by the City of Hamilton. 

Goals

To assess and continually improve goods and services provided to persons who have disabilities.

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants to work on behalf of the City of Hamilton will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures. 

Procedures

  1. Communication notices, about the City of Hamilton’s options for receiving and responding to feedback and complaints, will clearly set out various means by which persons with disabilities can provide feedback, compliments and/or complaints regarding access to and the quality of the City of Hamilton services, programs and opportunities provided.
     
  2. Information about the process will be readily available to the public. 
     
  3. The feedback and complaints will be collected and recorded on the Accessibility Feedback and Complaints Form that can be found on the City’s website and will be in supply at all service counters throughout the City of Hamilton.  Feedback, compliments and complaints can be submitted to City staff by any other method chosen by the resident.
     
  4. Staff will provide feedback and complaint forms at the point of service or delivery of programs. 
     
  5. Staff will make available to persons with disabilities a variety of methods for providing feedback, compliments and complaints.
     
  6. The feedback and complaints processes must be developed in inclusive modes, catering for the needs of persons with disabilities. 
     
  7. Persons with disabilities can provide feedback and complaints using the City's Accessibility Feedback and Complaints Form, they can call the Customer Contact Centre and speak with a representative; they can speak to any member of staff, use e-mail, provide their feedback in writing, on a CD or any other method that meets their needs.
     
  8. While receiving the feedback or complaint, staff must explain to the individual how the feedback or complaint will be processed (who reads it, when a response will be provided, if requested, timeframe for resolution or action and follow-up).
     
  9. Department management will ensure that all feedback and complaints are investigated and specific action(s) identified and resolved.  In other words, departments continue to respond to and resolve complaints in a timely manner.
     
  10. When complaints are received they will follow the usual path of being responded to by the department responsible, as quickly as possible and resolved by the appropriate department(s)/division(s).  Complaints will also be recorded on the Accessibility Feedback and Complaints Form or on an existing electronic complaint system such as Amanda, Trapeze or Hansen.
     
  11. All staff will have access to feedback and complaint forms that they will use to record complaints and feedback on behalf of the individual, unless the individual wishes to record and make their own feedback or complaint in a manner that is suitable to them.
     
  12. Management will ensure that information is clearly posted on their premises regarding the process for making complaints or providing feedback including what happens once complaints and feedback is received.
     
  13. All feedback and complaint forms, once completed, unless entered electronically will be sent to the “Attention: Supervisor of Customer Contact Centre” for recording in the electronic tracking system (Hansen).
     
  14. Complaints and feedback will be tracked and monitored by Access & Equity staff in Corporate Services.   Access and Equity staff will run regular reports to be provided to the General Managers and to the Province, if requested.
     
  15. The person providing the feedback or making a complaint will be apprised of the outcomes by staff should they request a follow up. (If the complaint or feedback is anonymous then follow up may not be possible). 
     
  16. Follow up will be within 10 working days, unless there are circumstances that prevent such response time.  If a response is delayed, the person providing the feedback or making a complaint must be apprised of the delay.  

The City of Hamilton will ensure that the Mayor and Councilors, all staff, individuals who develop policies and procedures, volunteers and third parties acting on behalf of the City, are appropriately trained, knowledgeable and skilled in providing goods, service, programs and opportunities, to persons with disabilities.  Training will be provided in an ongoing manner as long as there are changes to policies, procedures and practices governing the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities. 

Guiding Principles

The training will embrace the core principles of ongoing respect for human dignity, independence, integration and equity of opportunity, while recognizing that persons who have disabilities are “People First”. 

Purpose

To ensure that the Mayor and Councillors, all staff, individuals who develop policies and procedures, volunteers and third parties acting on behalf of the City are appropriately trained, knowledgeable and skilled in providing goods, services and opportunities to persons with disabilities pursuant to the Customer Service Standard.

Goals

To provide accessibility and inclusion training that will facilitate efficient, effective and respectful provision of services, programs and opportunities to all persons with disabilities.

Responsibility

  • It is the responsibility of all management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents and/or contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, to follow and carry out the procedures outlined below. 
  • All management, staff, Council and volunteers will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent of this policy and to implement the procedures effectively. 
  • All staff that work with or contracts agents, contractors and/or consultants who work on behalf of the City of Hamilton will ensure that they are made aware of the purpose and intent of this policy and its procedures. 

Procedures

  1. The City of Hamilton will provide Customer Service Standard (CSS) accessibility training to the Mayor, Councillors, all employees, volunteers and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of policies, practices and procedures.
     
  2. The City of Hamilton will provide training on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities to all employees, volunteers and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of policies, practices and procedures.
     
  3. General Managers will ensure that all their staff receives the required training, as soon as practicable.  Each department must develop their own training schedule to achieve this end.
     
  4. General Managers will ensure that employees are being trained on an ongoing basis or made aware, when changes are made to the Customer Service Standard (CSS) policies, practices and procedures and receive updated training, every 5 years thereafter.
     
  5. General Managers will keep records of all staff trained and can request reports from the Access and Equity Office.  The training records will be tracked using the PeopleSoft system.
     
  6. The staff will be provided training that is relevant to their duties, responsibilities and interaction with the public.
     
  7. New managers will be trained on the CSS policies, practices and procedures within one month of being hired or as soon as practicable thereafter.
     
  8. New staff and volunteers will be trained on the CSS policies, practices and procedures at the time of orientation or within a reasonable period of time but no later than three months of starting with the City of Hamilton.
     
  9. New staff and volunteers will be provided with a copy of the CSS policies and procedures awareness handbook.
     
  10. All agents, third parties, contractors and consultants working for the City of Hamilton must, before commencing work on a contract, provide a Statement of Acknowledgment, and when requested, proof of accessibility training, including proof that accessibility training has been given to their employees, agents, volunteers and any subcontractors.  Training must be in accordance with the training requirements of the Customer Service Standard. (See training outline #11).
     
  11. The training curriculum will be reviewed regularly, by the Access and Equity Office, to ensure that it remains up-to-date with current legislation, practices and upcoming Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005 standards.
    Training will include: 
    11.1 The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,  2005 and the requirements of the Customer Service Standard. 
    11.2 How best to interact and communicate with people who have a wide  range of disabilities.
    11.3 How to interact respectfully with people with disabilities who use assistive devices or are accompanied by a service animal or a support person. 
    11.4 How to assist persons who have disabilities access services, programs and opportunities of the City of Hamilton.
    11.5 How to use equipment or assistive devices, e.g. Bell Relay System, wheelchairs and lifts made available on City of Hamilton premises; otherwise, how to access internal staff that will assist them to do so.
    11.6 What to do if a person with a disability appears to be having difficulty accessing the City of Hamilton’s goods and services. This will include asking the person whether they need assistance.
    11.7 The City of Hamilton’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the Customer Service Standard.
     
  12. Training and awareness regarding the Customer Service Standard will be provided to the following groups: 
    12.1 Advisory Committees & Volunteers 
    12.2 All Staff, Mayor and Council 
    12.4 All new Employees 
    12.5 All new Managers 
     
  13. Training will take the form of: 
    13.1 AODA, 2005 Customer Service Standard Handbook; and
    13.2 Either E-learning or other electronic learning programs; or
    13.3 In–class training for management, front line employees, Councillors and staff who develop and review policies, procedures and by-laws, as well as employees providing goods, services, program and opportunities to persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, information clerks, front desk or reception staff, volunteers, transportation staff and security personnel. 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, 2005 defines a disability as:

  • 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; (“handicap”)

In addition, the AODA defines a barrier as: 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 technological barrier, a policy or a practice; (“obstacle”). Making an organization accessible requires you to have regard for visible and invisible barriers to participation. Some of these barriers include:  

  • Architectural or structural barriers may result from the design of a building such as stairs, doorways, the width of hallways and even room layout. 
  • Information and communication barriers can make it difficult for people to receive or convey information. Things like small print size, low colour contrast between text and background, confusing design of printed materials and the use of language that is not clear or plain can all cause difficulty. 
  • Technology, or lack of it, can prevent people from accessing information. Everyday tools like computers, telephones and other aids can all present barriers. 
  • Systemic barriers can occur through policies and procedures. These are any practices or rules that restrict people with disabilities – for example, denying access to a person with a service animal. 
  • Attitude is perhaps the most difficult barrier to overcome. Some people don’t know how to communicate with those who have visible or non-visible disabilities or they simply discriminate against them because of stereotypes and myths and misconceptions that perpetuate. Some people may feel that they could offend the individual with a disability by offering help or they ignore or avoid people with disabilities altogether. 
  • Accessible formats may include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, braille and other formats usable by persons with disabilities. 
  • Communication supports may include, but are not limited to, captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language, sign language and other supports that facilitate effective communications. 
  • Communications means the interaction between two or more persons or entities, or any combination of them, where information is provided, sent or received. 
  • Information includes data, facts and knowledge that exists in any format, including text, audio, digital or images, and that conveys meaning.   
  • Conversion ready means an electronic or digital format that facilitates conversion into an accessible format. 
  • Mobility aid means a device used to facilitate the transport, in a seated posture, of a person with a disability. 
  • Mobility assistive device means a cane, walker or similar aid. 
  • Support person means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies the person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods, services or facilities. 
  • Guide dog means a dog trained as a guide for a blind person and having the qualifications prescribed by the Blind Persons’ Rights Act.  
  • Service Animal: an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability, if the animal can be readily identified as one that is being used by the person for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal. 

Providing accessible customer based on the AODA, 2005, Integrated Accessibility Standards, Customer Service Standards and Ontario Human Rights Code requirements implies policies, processes and practices that are based on equity, dignity, respect and independence and governs interactions between the person with a disability and a provider of goods or services, that ensures the same levels and quality of service are in place as for persons without disabilities.  Essentially, the means to accessing goods, services and opportunities for persons with disabilities may be provided differently. 

The City of Hamilton is committed to ensuring that our accessibility policies, procedures and practices are consistent with the following customer service principles: 

  • Treating all customers with dignity and respect.
  • Flexible service that meets the needs of an individual customer.
  • Putting the person first.
  • Asking ‘How may I help you?’
  • Understanding that some methods of service may not work for all people.
  • Allowing for comments and suggestions on how to improve accessible customer service.
  • Providing as much notice as possible if there is a disruption in service.

Core Principles

  • Dignity
  • Integration
  • Independence
  • Equity of opportunity
  • Never turn a resident/visitor away without delivering services to them. Always try to find an alternative way to provide service.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question or don’t have appropriate assistive devices, ask your manager or call the Access & Equity office.
  • Treat persons with disabilities with the same respect and consideration you have for everyone else.
  • Patience, optimism and a willingness to find a way to communicate are your best tools.
  • Smile, relax and keep in mind that people with disabilities are just people.
  • Don’t make assumptions about what type of disability or disabilities a person has.
  • Some disabilities are not visible. Take the time to get to know the needs of the person with disabilities.
  • Be patient. People with some kinds of disabilities may take a little longer to understand and respond.
  • If you're not sure what to do, ask "May I help you?"
  • If you can’t understand what someone is saying, just politely ask again.
  • Ask before you offer to help — don’t just jump in.  People with disabilities know if they need help and how you can provide it.
  • Find a good way to communicate. A good start is to listen carefully.
  • Look at the person with the disability, but don’t stare. Speak directly to a person with a disability, not to their interpreter or someone who is with them.
  • Use plain language and speak in short sentences.
  • Don’t touch or address service animals – they are working and have to pay attention at all times.
  • Ask permission before touching a wheelchair or a piece of equipment.
  • Know your department’s emergency procedures for persons with disabilities.

All City of Hamilton management, staff, Council, volunteers, agents, contractors and consultants, working on behalf of the City of Hamilton, are required to produce e-mails and printed documents or the information contained in the document, in accessible formats, for persons with disabilities, taking into account the person’s disability. 

It is important to note, that, providing documents in multiple, accessible formats, are a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005, Integrated Accessibility Standards, Customer Service Standard and the City’s Customer Service Accessibility Policies. 

In consultation with the CNIB, the City of Hamilton’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD) and the ACPD Customer Service Sub-Committee, the following Clear, Accessible and Large print guidelines have been recommended and approved for use, by the Mayor, Council and all staff. 
Below are the recommended and approved guidelines for the City of Hamilton. 

Large print guidelines 

What is considered to be large print? Documents are considered to be large print if the font size ranges from 16-48 point text or higher. The scale varies according to the visual disabilities of individuals. 

  • City of Hamilton Guidelines for Large Print is: Arial 18 or Verdana 18.
  • All City of Hamilton documents and publications shall be produced in large print, upon request, from members of the public.

Clear print guidelines

What is considered to be clear print? Documents are considered to be clear print when they are clearly designed, easy to read and formatted in an accessible manner.  City of Hamilton Guideline for Clear Print Guideline is:

  • For e-mail – Arial 14 or Verdana 12
  • For agendas, minutes and printed publications – Arial 12 or Verdana 12

Exceptions to clear print guidelines

  • If departments produce documents that do not meet the clear, accessible and large print guidelines, due to design and formatting restrictions, provisions must be made to reproduce the document, in an alternate format, which meets the proposed guidelines, to suit the needs of the person with the disability, upon request. 
  • Publications produced in a lower font(e.g. Waste Calendar & Recreation Guide) than the Clear Print Guidelines must also be available, on request, in both Clear Print (12 font) and Large Print (18 font) formats.

Design and formatting guidelines 

The accessibility, usability, legibility, ease of reading and comprehension of a document largely depends on its design and formatting. Documents should be designed and formatted in a manner that is clear, easy to read and understandable. 

Font

Font legibility is essential especially for persons with visual disabilities.

Font Style

Do

  • Use clear font (e.g. Arial, Verdana) with easily recognizable characters for documents, printed publications, minutes and agendas
  • Font style should be less ornate (e.g. French Script, Vivaldi, Mistral)
  • Font style should be consistent throughout the document, wherever possible

Don’t

  • Do not use decorative style fonts (e.g. Forte, Bernard MT Condensed, Old English Text)
  • Do not use stylized fonts (e.g. brush script, Vladimir Script, chiller)
  • Do not use italics and upper case letters throughout documents
  • Do not capitalize all words or phrases throughout documents

Font Heaviness

  • Use fonts with medium heaviness (e.g. Arial).
  • Characters should be distinct, not too thick (e.g. Bauhaus 93, Broadway) or too thin (e.g. Bradley Hand ITC, Vivaldi).
  • Do not use light type with thin strokes (e.g. Vladimir script, pristina).

Type Colour

  • Type colour refers to the text colour
  • Use black type on white background or white print on dark background.
  •  Restrict coloured text to titles, headings or highlighted material.

Contrast

It is essential to create documents with high contrast between text colour and background, especially for persons using screen readers or suffering from dyslexia. Achieving a suitable colour palette that will work for everyone is difficult, so the following guidelines should serve as a benchmark to achieve at least 70% contrast.

Tips for achieving high colour contrast 

  • Use high contrast colours for text and background. For example, black and white or dark blue text on a white background or white text on a black or dark blue background.
  • Emphasize the lightness of light colours and darkness of dark colours, when used next to each other, to enhance contrast.
  • Do not use colours which are similar in lightness or darkness next to each other. For example, light green and light red may not be easy to distinguish, for some people with low vision.
  • Do not use similar colours together. For example, red, orange and green together will be a little difficult to distinguish.
  • Do not use achromatic colours (black, white, grey) against colours of similar lightness or darkness. For example, dark grey against black.
  • Do not use text on an image or patterned background as letters and shapes will be harder to identify.

Good colour combinations to help achieve 70% colour contrast

  • Light colours against black background.
  • Dark colours against white background.
  • Light or pale colours against very dark colours background. For example, light pink or yellow against dark blue.
  • Black text on a solid background.

Poor colour combinations

  • Pairing red and green together because it is difficult to distinguish the two.
  • Using dark colours against black background.
  • Pairing pastel colours together or against grey or white.
  • Pairing light or pale colours together.
  • Using jarring complimentary colours like orange and blue together.

Letter spacing

This refers to the spacing between letters.  Make sure the space between letters is wide enough, so the letters and words are easily recognizable.

Margins

  • Make margins wide enough with sufficient space for binding, hole-punching etc.
  • A line of text should be no wider than 6” to 6.5” across an 8.5” size page.

Leading

This refers to the space between lines of text.  It is recommended to use the “format” and “paragraph” functions to set the “before” and “after line spacing” at “auto”, and set the “line spacing” at single or 1.5 point size.

Text alignment

Left alignment is recommended for all paragraph text because the start of each sentence is consistent, which makes it easier to read.

  • Left align all paragraph text.
  • Do not centre text as it can be difficult to find the start of the sentence using magnification devices.
  • Do not align text to the right because it makes it difficult to find the start of the sentence.
  • Do not justify text because it produces gaps between words on a line, posing a challenge for persons using magnification devices.

Paragraph and document headings

Headings allow readers to easily navigate a document by directing readers to the content or paragraph it references.

  • Headings should be clear and distinct.
  • Place headings in close proximity to the paragraph it references, so they remain associated.
  • Keep headings with corresponding paragraphs left aligned.

Columns

Columns can create challenges for persons with visual disabilities, especially those using screen readers and other scanning technologies. If it is necessary to use columns in a document, ensure the following guidelines are maintained.

  • To make columns, use the column function to create standard column width and spacing.
  • Keep corresponding sentences and paragraphs together within columns, wherever possible.

Paper finish & watermarks

  • Use a matte or non-glossy finish to cut down on glare.
  • Avoid watermarks or complicated background designs.

Clear Design and Simplicity

The key to clear design is simplicity. Essentially, less is more. Too much colour, shapes and design is distracting, especially for persons with visual disabilities.

  • Use distinctive colour, sizes and shapes on the cover page of flyers, brochures, presentation documents and reports to make them easier to tell apart from the rest of the document.

Images

Images can be used in a document to convey meaning, ideas or add a creative touch for sighted people. Images can also facilitate the ease of comprehension, for people suffering from dyslexia or visual learners. When using images, be mindful of the following guidelines.

  • Use images only if it conveys a meaning or adds relevance to the document.
  • Always include text describing the image (preferable next to the image or below the image) for persons using screen readers.
  • Do not overlay text on images, wherever possible.

Promotional material

Promotional material should be designed in a size that ensures easy readability.  The following outlines the minimum acceptable sizes for promotional materials, but staff should make an effort to use the largest size whenever possible. 

  • The minimum size for the City of Hamilton logo (measured from the height of the symbol):
    • Pens/key chains: 9.5 mm
    • Any other City of Hamilton promotional material: 15mm
  • The minimum font size for City of Hamilton promotional material such as pens/key chains is Arial 8.
  • The minimum font size for any other printed publications is Arial 12 or Verdana 12.

Summary tips for producing clear, accessible and large print documents

  • Use clear font (e.g. Arial, Verdana), instead of stylized fonts (e.g. Monotype Corsiva, Mistral) for minutes, agendas, documents, printed publication, except, where it is absolutely necessary to accommodate design and formatting purposes.
  • Do not use italics, because it is difficult to read, for persons with various types of disabilities.
  • Use bold text to a minimum, only to highlight a few words, if necessary (e.g. headings, title etc.).
  • Keep text layout simple and consistent.
  • Do not use capitalized text throughout sentences.
  • Do not underline words or phrases throughout documents as it could impact the clarity of documents.
  • Left align all body text and paragraphs because it is easy to read with visual disabilities.
  • Do not use centered and justified text alignment because is difficult to read for persons with visual disabilities.
  • Maintain at least 70% contrast between text and background.
  • Be consistent with text and font styles, to make the document accessible, for persons with disabilities.
  • Maintain distinct spacing between texts.
  • Use descriptive text for images to convey meaning.
  • Create all Microsoft Word and PDF documents, using the guidelines for creating accessible documents.

Creating accessible business cards 

Business Cards must be accessible and available in multiple formats including 
electronic and Braille.  City of Hamilton business cards should adhere to the following guidelines: 

Name The name shall be written in clear, large print, Arial 16 or Verdana 16
Designation/Title The designation/title shall be written in Arial or Verdana font size 9
Telephone Telephone numbers shall be written in Arial or Verdana font size 15 
E-mail/Fax Email /Fax number shall be written in Arial or Verdana font size 9
Departmental Information Additional information shall be written in Arial or Verdana font size 9
Mailing Address Mailing address shall be placed on the back of card in Arial 12 or Verdana 14

Statement of Acknowledgement

Every volunteer, contractor, third party, agent and vendor are required to review the Customer Service Policies within the Customer Service Standard Handbook. Once reviewed, complete the Statement of Acknowledgement (PDF, 304 KB) and submit a signed scanned copy by mail, email or in person to:

Access and Equity Office
Attn: Access & Equity Coordinator
71 Main Street West, 2nd Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext. 6419
Email: maxine.carter@hamilton.ca

Integrated Accessibility Standards

The Integrated Accessibility Standards was enacted on June 3, 2011 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. This new regulation addresses barriers being faced by persons with disabilities in areas of transportation, employment and information and communications.

  • The Transportation Standard focuses on making transportation services accessible including buses, trains, subways, streetcars, taxis and ferries.
  • The Employment Standard will address barriers being faced by persons with disabilities in recruitment, workplace accommodations, performance management, career development, and communications. 
  • The Information and Communication Standard focuses on providing accessible information and communications relating to the provision of goods and services.
  • The Built-Environment Standard provides regulations for new construction and extensive renovations.

Resources

Contact Us

Documents can be made available in multiple, accessible, alternate formats to the public, upon request. For a copy of any AODA 2005 accessibility policies, procedures or information, please contact:

Maxine Carter
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 6419
Email: maxine.carter@hamilton.ca 
May-Marie Duwai-Sowa
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 8080
Email: may-marie.duwai-sowa@hamilton.ca