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Our Accessibility Plan
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES PLAN
Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties is committed to excellence in serving all customers, trades and vendors including people with disabilities. This policy will apply to all applicable management and employees of the Company, including agents, contractors, third parties or any other individuals who interact with the public or other third parties, who represent or act on behalf of the Company in any manner.
It is the responsibility of all applicable management, staff and volunteers working on behalf of CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties to follow and carry out the procedures outlined in this policy.
All applicable management and staff will be made aware of and trained to better understand the purpose and intent behind this policy and to implement the procedures effectively.
We will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices we have on site or what we provide that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.
Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices to access or benefit from the Company goods or services, unless those assistive devices are prohibited due to health and safety or privacy issues.
It is the responsibility of the disabled person to ensure that his or her assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times.
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. This means that staff will communicate in a means that enables persons with disabilities to communicate effectively for the purposes of requesting/obtaining goods or services.
We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed to facilitate on any on- site visits and are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public.
In the event the service animal is prohibited from entering the premises due to other law enforcement, the Company shall ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain and benefit from the Company goods or services. It is the responsibility of the disabled person to ensure that the service animal is kept under control at all times.
A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to have that person accompany them on our premises open to the public, to enable the person with a disability to obtain and benefit from the Company goods or services.
Notice of Temporary Disruption
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to our facilities for customers with disabilities, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will notify customers promptly. This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services if available.
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties head office, Décor Studio and all Construction sites that are permissible. The notice will be made publicly available at all of these locations and shall include reason of disruption, anticipated duration of disruption, alternate services and immediate contact information.
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will provide accessible customer service training to all applicable managers, employees, volunteers and all those involved in the development of policies, practices and procedures as well as those dealing with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of the Company.
Individuals in the following positions will be trained on the accessibility policy once hired: Managers and Supervisors (in office and on the Construction sites), Sales Representatives, Office Employees and Office Administrators.
This training will include, but not limit to the following:
• An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
• CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties plan related to the customer service standard & policies
• How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
• How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
• How to use the equipment or devices available on-site or otherwise that may help with providing goods or services to people with disabilities
• What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties goods and services
Staff will also be trained when changes are made to our accessible customer service plan.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
Accessibility for All Ontarians
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005. Under this landmark legislation, the government of Ontario will develop mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living. The standards will apply to private and public sector organizations across Ontario.
We All Need Accessibility
Disability impacts the lives of many Ontarians, and the numbers of people with disabilities is increasing. Today, 15.5% of Ontario's population has a disability and this number will continue to grow as the population ages.
Improving accessibility is the right thing to do. It's also the smart thing to do. According to the Royal Bank of Canada, people with disabilities have an estimated spending power of about $25 billion annually across Canada. People with disabilities also represent a large pool of untapped employment potential. When we make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities everyone benefits.
Think Of the Broad Range of Disabilities
When we think of disabilities, we tend to think of people in wheelchairs and physical disabilities - disabilities that are visible and apparent. But disabilities can also be non-visible. We can't always tell who has a disability. The broad range of disabilities also includes vision disabilities, deafness or being hard of hearing, intellectual or developmental, learning, and mental health disabilities.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) uses the same definition of "disability" as the Ontario Human Rights Code, which includes both visible and non-visible disabilities.
Focus On Five Key Areas
Standards Development Committees are developing proposed standards in five key areas.
Accessible Customer Service - The standard addresses business practices and training needed to provide better customer service to people with disabilities.
Accessible Information and Communications - Standards to address the removal of barriers in access to information. The standards could include information being provided in person, through print, a website or other means.
Accessible Built Environment - Standards to address access into and within buildings and outdoor spaces and are expected to build on Ontario's Building Code. The standards could include things like counter height, aisle and door width, parking, and signs.
Employment Accessibility - Standards to address paid employment practices relating to employee-employer relationships, which could include recruitment, hiring, and retention policies and practices.
Customers who wish to provide feedback on the way CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties provides goods and services to people with disabilities can provide feedback verbally or by emailing our Human Resources department. All feedback, including complaints, will be directed to the Human Resource department for resolution. All feedback will be kept confidential and only used to improve a service.
Notice of availability
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will notify the public that our documents related to accessible customer service, are available upon request by posting a notice at each of our public entrances.
Modifications to This or Other Policies
Any policy, practice or procedure of CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties that does not respect and promote the dignity, independence integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
COUNTRYWIDE HOMES and CONDOR PROPERTIES Accessibility Policy
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties acknowledges there are many types and degrees of disability. We advise all employees to consider a person’s disability when communicating with them. Openly communicating and responding to our customers’ needs is the key to excellent customer service for all. When our staff is unaware of the best approach, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties management suggests politely asking the person with the disability how we can best communicate with them.
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties allows assistive devices, service animals and support persons in any part of our premises that is open to the public. We will advise customers when accessible services aren’t available and invite customers to provide feedback.
People with Physical Disabilities
If a CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employee is having a lengthy conversation with someone who uses a wheelchair or scooter, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties recommends the employee sit down so they can make eye contact at the same level.
An employee shall refrain from touching items or equipment, such as canes or wheelchairs, without permission.
If an employee receives permission to move a person’s wheelchair, they will ensure they do not leave the individual in an awkward, dangerous or undignified position, such as facing a wall or in the path of opening doors.
People with Vision Loss
If one is aware that an individual has vision loss, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees will not assume the individual can’t see them. Many individuals who have low vision still have some sight.
All employees will identify themselves when they approach and speak directly to the customer and offer their elbow to guide them if needed.
Employees will ask the individual if they would like them to read any printed material out loud to them. When providing directions or instructions, staff will be precise and descriptive.
People Who Have Hearing Loss
Once a customer has identified themselves as having hearing loss, employees will ensure they are in a well-lit area so the individual can see their face and read their lips. As needed, staff will attract the customer’s attention before speaking, by either a gentle touch on the shoulder or wave of their hand.
If the customer uses a hearing aid, employees will attempt to reduce background noise or move to a quieter area. If necessary, the employee will ask if another method of communicating would be better, such as pen and paper.
People Who Are Deaf Blind
An individual who is deaf blind is generally accompanied by an intervener, a professional support person who helps with communication. When CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees are communicating with an individual who is deaf blind they will ensure they speak directly to the customer and not the intervener.
People with Speech or Language Impairments
Individuals with cerebral palsy, hearing loss or other conditions may have difficulty pronouncing words. CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees will never assume that a person with a speech impairment also has another disability. Whenever possible, staff will ask questions that can be answered “yes” or “no”.
Staff will always be patient, and not interrupt or finish the customer’s sentences.
People Who Have Learning Disabilities
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees will be patient in all circumstances as some individuals with learning disabilities may take a little longer to process information, to understand and to respond. Staff will provide information in a way that takes into account the customer’s disability.
People Who Have Intellectual/ Development Disabilities
Staff will never make assumptions about what an individual can do. They will use plain language and provide one piece of information at a time when communicating with individuals who have intellectual and development disabilities.
People Who Have Mental Health Disabilities
If an employee is aware that a customer has a mental health disability they will be sure to treat them with the same respect and consideration they have for everyone else. They will take all reasonable steps to be confident, calm and reassuring.
If the customer at any times appears to be in a crisis, the employee will ask the individual to tell them the best way to help.
How to Interact With Individuals Who Use Assistive Devices
An assistive device is a tool, technology or other mechanism that enables a person with a disability to do everyday tasks and activities, such as moving, communicating or lifting. Personal assistive devices can include items like wheelchairs, hearing aids, canes or speech amplification devices.
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees will not touch or handle any assistive devices without permission. Staff will never move assistive devices or equipment out of the customer’s reach.
Upon entering CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties, staff will inform customers about accessible features in the immediate environment that are appropriated to their needs i.e. accessible washrooms, etc.
All employees of CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will be trained on equipment or devices for customers with disabilities, making sure they know how to use them by providing instructional manuals or an instruction sheet posted where the device is located or stored i.e. Lifts, which raise or lower people who use mobility devices, wheelchairs, etc.
How to Interact With a Person Who Has a Guide Dog or Other Service Animal
Service animals will be allowed on all premises of CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties that are open to the public.
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties employees will remember that the service animal is a working animal not a pet and will avoid touching or addressing them at all times.
An employee will ask the individual if they are unaware if the animal is a pet or a service animal.
How to Serve a Person Accompanied By a Support Person
CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will welcome all support people to our facility; they are permitted to access any part of our premises that is open to the public.
Staff will ensure they speak directly to the customer, not their support person. If you are unsure which person is the customer, take lead from the person using or requesting your goods or services or simply ask.
Emergency Response Plan
When CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties becomes aware that an employee or an individual entering our facility has a disability, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties staff will provide them and anyone designated to help them in an emergency, with emergency response information.
Based on communication with the individual, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties staff will determine what kind of information employees need and if they need it in accessible format.
If an individual is unable to hear a fire alarm, CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties staff will designate one or more staff members that work in close proximity to advise the individual in the event of a fire. CountryWide Homes and Condor Properties will ensure they receive the individuals consent and never share details of the employee’s disability with other employees, they will just advise what kind of help they need.
Condor Properties Ltd. & CountryWide Homes Ltd.
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