Joule Accessibility Policy

Overview Statement

Joule is committed to providing an accessible, respectful and inclusive environment for all persons with disabilities. Joule continuously promotes an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, a barrier free environment and a positive workplace of equal opportunity; this policy is a reflection of how we do that while meeting the requirements of the Customer Service Standard. [1]

  1. Policy Statement
    1. All staff, elected and appointed members, contractors, students and visitors and are entitled to be treated equally with courtesy and respect, in a manner that is supportive of individual dignity and self-esteem and free of discrimination. Joule promotes an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect for the public, its members and employees. We believe it leads to a higher level of personal and corporate performance that ultimately delivers better outcomes for all. Our values are consistent with the principles outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to effectively provide services to people with disabilities. In keeping with our values, Joule aims to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
    2. We will honour a person’s dignity by ensuring we provide the same level of service, quality or convenience; regardless of their level or ability.
    3. We honour a person’s wish for independence by respecting their choices and integrate our services to ensure persons with disabilties fully benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar ways as other members.
    4. We make efforts to ensure persons with disabilities have the same chances, options, benefits and results as others. We offer a variety of means to access our services to help ensure persons with disabilities do not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain a service.
  2. Purpose
    1. The purpose of this policy is to describe the way in which Joule provides goods and services to persons with disabilities, in a way that respects a person’s dignity, independence, integration and equality for opportunity.
    2. Outline the procedures for communication, use of service animals, use of support persons, feedback and notice of temporary disruption.
    3. Outline the training requirements for all Joule employees.
  3. Scope
    1. This policy applies to all Joule employees, Joule Board and Joule Committee members, its officers and directors, shareholders, agents and visitors where business or work related activities are pursued.
  4. Procedures
    1. Communications: Joule offers products and services through four channels of communication; these are: voice, mail, face-to-face and electronic. When communicating with a person with a disability, we will offer to communicate by the method best suited for their communication needs.
      1. Advertising
        1. When creating or updating communications whose purpose is to offer goods or services, we document how they meet the requirements of this Policy.
        2. The format in which they are produced may indicate how flexible the communications can be. In cases where the communication cannot be offered in an alternate format, we document how the persons with disabilities can obtain the information through an alternate channel.
      2. Telephone Services
        1. Where service by telephone is not accessible for persons with disabilities, we offer alternate channels such as TTY line or face-to-face meeting.
      3. Assistive Devices
        1. We allow (as technology permits) individuals with disabilities to use their assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services. Where an individual with a disability is unable to access our services through the use of their own personal assistive device, we will asses service delivery and potential service options to meet the needs of the individual. 
    2. Service Animals: Persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal will be permitted to enter parts of our premises that are common areas and to keep the animal with them, unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law for any other reason (health of the occupants) from the premises. If the animal is legally excluded from some parts of the premises, alternate measures to enable the person to obtain, use or benefit from its services will be made available.
    3. Support Persons: A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Joule’s premises together and will not deny access to the support person while on our premises.
    4. Feedback: Feedback regarding the way Joule provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made through the Member Service Center or any communication vehicle in which Joule is engaged. All feedback submitted to Joule addressing issues or concerns is treated as a complaint and is dealt with through our standard complaint procedures as outlined in the Code of Conduct and Joule’s Respectful Workplace Policy. Information about how to give feedback is maintained on our internal and external websites.
    5. Notice of Temporary Disruption: Joule will provide notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its an ticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice will be posted on the premises, where appropriate in the circumstances.
      1. Where the website is not working, notification will be posted to the website as soon as possible.
      2. Where the phone lines are not working, the calls are re-routed or a message will be engaged to inform the caller of the disruption.
    6. Training: All Joule staff is trained on the provision of services to persons with disabilities on  annual basis and updated as required. Training includes infor ming employees of their responsibility to meet the expectations of this policy and will include:
      1. Purpose of requirements of the Act
      2. Tips for serving persons with disabilities
      3. Definitions of Assistive devices, Support persons and Service animals
      4. Feedback mechanism
      5. Link to resources and more detailed courses
  5. Responsibilities
    1. The Cultural Innovation Department is responsible for implementing this policy and ensuring the procedures are carried out by all employees.
    2. All Joule employees are responsible for the participation and facilitation of workplace accomodation.
    3. Joule will not tolerate any form of discrimination and a breach of this Policy is considered a breach of the Joule’s Code of Conduct Policy.
    4. Joule, is responsible for ensuring all persons with disabilities are treated in a manner that meets the expectations outlined in this Policy. This responsibility includes the following:
      1. Providing training to all applicable employees;
      2. Ensuring that the Joule office building is an accessible structure, or that alternate locations are provided for meetings;
      3. Reviewing all feedback provided about the way Joule provides goods and services; and
      4. Ensuring all communication produced meets the expectations of this Policy;
    5. Joule Cultural Innovation department is responsible for creating and maintaining  the Policy
    6. Joule Legal & Governance is responsible for reporting on this Policy.
    7. Records are kept for 7 years from the date of publication, unless otherwise stated.
  6. Definitions
    1. Assistive Devices: include a broad range of products such as wheelchairs, walkers, white canes, oxygen tanks, portable chalk boards and electronic communication devices that people may bring to our premises.
    2. Disability: includes physical, mental or developmental disabilities which may or may not be visible or permanent. [I]
    3. Feedback: comments regarding the manner in which we provide goods or services to persons with disabilities.
  7. Related Policies and Impacting Regulations
    1. Code of Conduct Policy
    2. Joule’s Respectful Workplace Policy
    3. Canadian Human Rights Act (R.S.C., 1985, c.H-6)
    4. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
    5. Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
    6. Recruitment & Job Posting Policy

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

1) 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,
2) A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
3) A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language, or,
4) A mental disorder.
5) The definition includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effects of which may come and go.