Family Respite Services Multiyear Accessibility Plan

This accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions that Family Respite Services Windsor-Essex will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities who are involved with our organization in any manner, including the provision of services and information.

Statement of Commitment

Family Respite Services is committed to providing excellent service to all persons. Our organization is committed to ensuring equal access and participation for people with disabilities.  The very nature of our service is to recognize that some persons have differing abilities which require plans to remove barriers and provide adequate support for them to access full citizenship in the community.  We recognize that while some things may be done on a broader scope, removing barriers to accessibility is also a personal process that involves open discussion and problem-solving with the individuals who wish to access our services and support.  Our services are provided in a variety of settings.  We are flexible to accommodate people and will meet people to provide information or services in alternative settings to accommodate their needs.  Many people are served in their own homes.  Our out-of-home staffed respite programs are all physically accessible.  Our main office location was also built with accessibility standards in mind.

We understand our obligation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), and we have developed a multi-year accessibility plan.  We view this as an evolving plan that will require ongoing review and feedback.  We also understand that these standards do not substitute or limit our obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or any other laws.

Accessibility in Ontario: About the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (AODA) was passed in 2005 with the vision of creating a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.  The AODA gave the Province the mandate to create sets of standards in accessibility, which will apply to both public and private sector organizations.  The Province has since committed to developing and implementing standards in:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communication
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Built Environment

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Services (Ontario Regulation 429/07) was passed in January 2008.  Family Respite Services has been required to comply with the standards for Customer Service since 2011.  The next three standards- Information and Communication, Employment and Transportation- have been combined into the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). 

Customer Service:

Family Respite Services has implemented the standards for customer service. 

FRS is committed to communicating with people with disabilities in ways that consider their disability.  In addition, we are committed to providing communication methods to remove barriers for people with disabilities, and training staff to familiarize staff with communication, equipment, and support devices and tools such as service animals.

Family Respite Services will also accommodate and develop an individual plan to assist people in accessing services in our print materials.

Information about any disruption of service will be provided through means such as our telephone answering machine, posting on social media, or through personal phone calls where applicable.

Access to Services:

We welcome people accessing our services to use assistive technology and devices.  We also welcome service animals as required.

Information and Communication Standard:

Family Respite Services provides information in a variety of ways, including through our website, individual and group meetings, written information, and email.  Our website incorporates accessible electronic formats that conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A. 

Alternative formats of written information will be provided upon request to accommodate any accessibility barriers.

Accessible Emergency and Public Safety Information:

Family Respite Services has a variety of emergency plans in place for different components of the service programs.  FRS will ensure that the following steps are in place:

  • At the beginning of every meeting open to the public, the meeting facilitator will outline the emergency evacuation steps.
  • Regular fire drills will ensure that the children with disabilities are familiar with emergency procedures.  This is documented in our licensing process in our licensed respite homes.
  • Staff members who have members of the public attending meetings in their office will ensure that the person is made familiar with any emergency response procedures.
  • Upon request, or as necessary, an individual plan will be developed with any staff person or person attending a program or meeting at any FRS site to ensure their safety.

Training:

Family Respite Services will provide training to all employees, volunteers, and other staff members on Ontario’s accessibility laws and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities.  Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers, and other staff members, including in-person training sessions and written information through our handbooks, and other information tools.  As a part of every employee’s orientation and hiring practice, they are required to complete training on a variety of topics including accessibility and interacting with people with disabilities.

Employment:

Family Respite Services is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. 

We will take the following steps to notify the public and staff that, when requested, Family Respite Services will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes and when people are hired. 

We will develop individualized plans to accommodate the needs of individuals who have disabilities who are seeking interviews with our organization or who are employed by Family Respite Services. 

Family Respite Services will take the following steps to develop and put in place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return-to-work policies for employees who have been absent due to a disability:

  • Develop an individual accommodation plan for any employee who has been absent due to disability as necessary, consulting with the person about accommodations that need to be made to enable them to perform their duties.
  • Allow the use of personal assistive devices or service animals.

Design of Public Spaces:

Our office is fully accessible.  However, our staff are fully committed to meeting with families in a space that accommodates their needs, including the family home, or other space at the request of the family.

Reviewing and Monitoring the Accessibility Plan

Family Respite Services' multiyear accessibility plan will be reviewed and updated yearly.  Feedback from consumers is welcomed.  This plan will be posted on the website for Family Respite Services in an accessible PDF version.  Alternative formats are available upon request.