2020-2023 TRIBUNALS ONTARIO
MULTI-YEAR ACCESSIBILITY PLAN
The Tribunals Ontario Multi-Year Accessibility Plan for 2020-2023 is a road map that describes how we will continue to prevent and remove accessibility barriers.
Statement of Commitment
Tribunals Ontario is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. As an organization comprised of 14 adjudicative tribunals, we will provide accommodation while maintaining our impartiality and adjudicative independence.
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Definitions and Terms
AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 is a statute enacted in 2005 by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada. Its purpose is to improve accessibility standards for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities to all public establishments by 2025.
OPS: Ontario Public Service provides government services to citizens and promotes an innovative, diverse, eco-friendly and accessible workplace.
Employees: administrative staff who make up Tribunals Ontario workforce. Tribunals Ontario employees support fair, accessible dispute resolution to thousands of Ontarians. Tribunals Ontario employees promote an innovative, diverse, eco-friendly and accessible workplace.
Adjudicators: Appointees (adjudicators) at Tribunals Ontario hold hearings, make rulings, review and analyze evidence and make decisions. Our adjudicators are appointed using an open, merit-based recruitment process.
Clients: a person or organization receiving services at Tribunals Ontario.
Stakeholders: a party that has an interest in Tribunals Ontario and can either affect or be affected by the policies and procedures of the organization. Stakeholders can include the Ontario Public, legal groups, employees, customers, and suppliers.
Extranet website: a controlled extension of the intranet, or internal network of an organization accessible to outside users over the Internet.
IASR: Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (Ontario Regulation 191/11) is a regulation that establishes the accessibility standards in the following five areas: information and communications; employment; transportation; design of public spaces; and customer service.
Internet website: collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and is accessible to the public.
Intranet website: an organization’s internal website that is used to privately and securely share any part of the organization’s information or operational systems within the organization and includes extranet websites.
WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is a series of guidelines created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in order to improve website accessibility. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
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Under the AODA, Ontario Organizations, including Tribunals Ontario, are required to develop multi-year accessibility plans to help make Ontario accessible by 2025.
Tribunals Ontario’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) builds on this work and reaffirms the government’s commitment to accessibility.
Tribunals Ontario is a group of 14 adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve and decide matters arising from over 60 statutes relating to safety, licensing, land, and social justice. Our Tribunals are:
Tribunals Ontario will deliver administrative justice in a fair, independent, effective and efficient manner. We promote public confidence through integrity and excellence, and by being accessible, accountable and responsive.
An accessible Tribunals Ontario means:
- Persons with disabilities receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.
- Information and communications are available in accessible formats to all Tribunals Ontario employees, adjudicators, clients and stakeholders.
- Persons with disabilities, who make up Tribunals Ontario employees, adjudicators, clients and stakeholders, can participate fully and meaningfully in the dispute resolution process.
- There is barrier free accessibility into and out of Tribunals Ontario facilities and other facilities that Tribunals Ontario may use from time to time to host proceedings.
- Tribunals Ontario employees and adjudicators can continually identify barriers to accessibility and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them.
The 2020-2023 Tribunals Ontario MYAP is organized around the following standards and general requirements of the AODA.
The standards are:
- Customer Service
- Information and Communications
- Employment and Diversity and Inclusion
- Accessibility of Tribunals Ontario Facilities and Public Hearing Spaces
The general requirements are:
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The Accessible Customer Service Standard under the IASR requires the OPS to provide accessible services for people with disabilities and to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to support this requirement.
In 2020-2023 Tribunals Ontario will ensure people with disabilities receive quality goods and services in a timely manner, supported by accessibility in customer service, effective policies, procedures, tools and resources that allow for full and meaningful participation in the dispute resolution process. Tribunals Ontario’s primary commitment is to provide fair and accessible dispute resolution to those who appear before our tribunal.
- Work with employees, adjudicators, clients and stakeholders to accommodate any personal support services they use to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs.
- Establish an advisory group within Tribunals Ontario to ensure that policies and procedures support accessibility requirements.
- Each Tribunal will track accommodation requests and steps taken to accommodate.
- Develop a centralized reporting system to record all Tribunals Ontario accommodation requests and actions taken.
- Provide pre-approved links to mental health supports for anyone in crisis (e.g. mental health lines, Canadian Mental Health Association, and other services). Supporting mental health continues to be a priority while dealing with pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources will be found under the heading Accessing our Services of the Tribunals Ontario Website.
Access to Digital Services
- Conduct video, telephone, and written hearings where feasible.
- Enhance its website to serve as one-window into all boards and tribunals.
- Use email wherever possible to communicate with the public.
- Develop an online payment portal to enable clients to easily make payments.
- Provide access to online services such as electronic filing of applications and documents to deliver efficient and effective services.
Policies and Practices
- Review the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy, Common Service Standards and OPS Service Directive and identify opportunities for Tribunals Ontario to reinforce and promote requirements that enhance accessible customer service.
- Examine and address potential barriers to access at Tribunals Ontario spaces.
- Provide notice of any planned or unplanned service disruptions. Notice will explain the reason and estimated duration for the disruption and will include any alternative facilities or services that are available.
- Tribunals Ontario’s work will align with the OPS digital government mandate, which will move more services online. Digital services will be accessible and result in an improved customer experience.
- Tribunals Ontario will consult with persons with physical disabilities and/or mental health issues and/or those from underrepresented groups, to better understand their unique issues when accessing its services.
- Ensure that all employees and adjudicators continue to complete mandatory training, such as the “May I Help You” course, and other foundational training in a variety of formats, including in-class, events, and e-learning, on IASR requirements and disability-related obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- With the guidance of the Tribunals Ontario Training Unit, continue to promote training to support Tribunals Ontario excellence in accessible customer service.
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Information and Communications
The Information and Communications Standards under the IASR requires Tribunals Ontario to communicate and provide information in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Information and communications will be available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all Tribunals Ontario employees, adjudicators, clients and stakeholders.
Tribunals Ontario will ensure that digital services are designed with accessibility at its core, striving for all users to have equal access to information and functionality.
- Tribunals Ontario will always post information on the website in an accessible format.
- The Digital Delivery and Communications teams will review the standards set out in WCAG Level AA to improve website accessibility.
- Providing a fully accessible online platform and ensuring all content is posted in HTML format by default starting January 1, 2021. HTML is considered the most universally accessible online format and will be required for all website postings to ensure compliance with the new requirements of the AODA.
- Converting older Portable Document Format (PDF) and Word documents to accessible HTML format by March 31, 2021.
- Rewriting website content to meet plain language best practices and make it easier for clients and stakeholders to understand Tribunals Ontario’s processes and procedures.
- Posting notices to the website to inform the public about any disruptions to accessibility services in a timely manner and consistent with prescribed service standards.
- Working with technology partners to ensure that the systems being implemented will be compliant with AODA guidelines.
- Working to ensure that all forms posted on its website are in accessible format by March 31, 2021.
- The Tribunals Ontario communications team will be trained on how to prepare documents to ensure they are accessible using assistive technology, such as screen readers. The communications team will develop guidelines for Tribunals Ontario’s constituent boards and tribunals to be able to develop their own accessible materials to provide to clients or stakeholders.
To support boards and tribunals with developing materials that can be posted seamlessly in an accessible format, the communications team will develop tips and guidelines for developing accessible documents for the website.
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Employment / Diversity and Inclusion
The Tribunals Ontario 2020-2023 MYAP outlines commitments to making Tribunals Ontario a diverse, accessible and inclusive organization that promotes unique strengths and skills of each employee and adjudicator.
Tribunals Ontario has identified five key commitments to improve inclusion, diversity and accessibility:
- Inclusive Recruitment
- Leadership Development
- Succession Planning
- Coaching & Mentoring
- Health & Wellness
Tribunals Ontario continues to build the foundation for a successful organization by promoting an inclusive work environment that is diverse, respectful, equitable and accessible.
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Accessibility of Tribunals Ontario Facilities and Public Hearing Spaces
Tribunals Ontario will continuously improve the physical accessibility to our locations and public hearing spaces by removing barriers and providing accessible alternatives, so that all clients may be served in a manner that respects their dignity and independence.
- Individuals without access to digital resources or establishing other accessibility needs may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.
- Develop a checklist that addresses accessibility criteria. This checklist will be used when reserving public hearing space (such as hotels or non-government conference rooms).
- Validate that venues used by Tribunals Ontario in remote areas of Ontario are accessible. Building on the current list of venues, develop a centralized database of available hearing venues that meet Tribunals Ontario accessibility criteria.
- Protect the health and safety of staff, adjudicators and tribunal participants by continuing to monitor COVID-19 developments and update practices and procedures based on advice from Ministry of Health, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and public health officials.
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Under the IASR, accessible procurement applies to all procurements from routine purchases such as using a Purchasing Card to buy office supplies, to using a contract for multi-year projects.
Tribunals Ontario will consider accessibility whenever it buys on behalf of the OPS by removing and preventing barriers in the procurement process.
Accessibility criteria will focus on how individuals will interact with the goods, services and facilities being procured (also known as end users). Tribunals Ontario will ensure that deliverables incorporate accessibility features where appropriate.
Our focus will be on ensuring adaptability and flexibility in goods and services procured to support an accessible workplace and accessible programs and services.
- Meaningful consideration will be given to accessibility by identifying the barriers faced by the end users. Where possible, consultation may involve employees and adjudicators, the network for persons with disabilities and/or disability advocacy groups.
- A clear justification in writing will be on file when accessibility criteria is not included in a procurement.
- Continue to communicate to vendors their obligations to meet accessibility requirements, including issues relating to non-compliance, for example remediation and disqualification.
- Promote and monitor mandatory accessibility procurement training. Training will be provided through a variety of methods, for new and existing employees, as appropriate to their job duties, to educate them on common understanding of obligations under the AODA.
- Continue to ensure that accessibility criteria are incorporated in procurement processes and platforms.
Additional resources, such as templates, sample accessibility language and guidelines, will also be available to help staff understand accessibility requirements and how to embed accessibility at all stages of procurement.
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Tribunals Ontario is committed to providing training in the requirements of Ontario’s accessibility laws and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it applies to people with disabilities. The Tribunals Ontario training unit will provide support and guidance to individual tribunals and units with identified accessibility, diversity and inclusion, cultural competencies and mental health training initiatives.
- Tribunals Ontario will provide support to individual tribunals and units to:
- promote an inclusive work environment which focuses on continuing education and training related to diversity, accessibility and inclusion;
- access training that helps to understand how hidden biases impact workplace interactions and how to prevent biases from negatively impacting persons from underrepresented groups; and
- promote learning events such as lunch-and-learns, seminars and speakers on various topics related to accessibility and inclusion.
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As Tribunals Ontario continues to prevent, identify and remove accessibility barriers, it is important for us to monitor and report on the progress and results in meeting our commitments.
- Establish, maintain, document and post on its website its multi-year accessibility plan to remove barriers. Tribunals Ontario will provide its plan in an alternate accessible format, upon request.
- The Tribunals Ontario annual report will include details of progress in achieving the commitments outlined in the 2020-2023 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, progress complying with the AODA requirements and plan for future compliance. The annual report will be provided in an alternate accessible format, upon request.
- File an accessibility report through a Service Ontario portal, using its unique Business Number. The report will detail its compliance with all requirements. The OPS compliance reports will also be submitted to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.
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For more information on this accessibility plan or to request a copy of this document in an alternate accessible format please contact Tribunals Ontario at:
Tel: (416) 212-6349 or toll free (866) 448-2248
TTY: (800) 855-1155 via Bell relay
See also: The Tribunals Ontario Accessibility and Accommodation Policy.
If you would like to request an accommodation, please visit: https://tribunalsontario.ca/en/accessibility-and-diversity/
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