Publications

Ministry Accessibility Plans

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
2007-2008 Accessibility Plan


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Introduction

In June 2005, the Ontario government took a strong stand on accessibility when it passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) into law.

The AODA lays out a comprehensive road map to make Ontario accessible to all people through the development, implementation and enforcement of new, mandatory accessibility standards for some of the most important aspects of people's lives.

Five key areas have been identified for the first accessibility standards  : customer service, transportation, information and communications, the built environment, and employment.

The accessible customer service regulations were approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and will come into force on January 1, 2008. An initial proposed standard on accessible transportation has been developed by the Transportation Standards Development Committee. It was posted for public review on June 27, 2007 and will be available for public comment until September 28, 2007.

The Standards Development Committee that will draft the proposed information and communications standard was established and began meeting in April 2007. The committees developing the accessible built environment and accessible employment standards have been selected and will begin meeting in the fall of 2007.

While the government is moving forward to implement the AODA, there will be a transition period where government and the broader public sector will continue to meet their obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). These obligations will remain in effect until they are repealed and replaced by standards under the new act.

Under the ODA, Ontario government ministries, municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges, universities and public transportation organizations are required to develop annual accessibility plans to make policies, practices, programs, services and buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. These plans must be made available to the public. Accessibility Planning efforts to date have developed a strong foundation for the development of accessibility standards that will mean real and effective change.

This ministry intends to build on its achievements by implementing initiatives that support the government's commitment to continue to make Ontario an inclusive and accessible province where people of all abilities have a chance to fully achieve their potential.


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Message from the Minister

Two years ago, Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. This legislation ensures the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards in key areas of daily life across the province.

The legislation mandates that the government, the disability community, and both private and public sectors work together to develop standards to be achieved in stages, with the ultimate goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025.

I am pleased to say that government is leading by example in becoming an inclusive employer and provider of services in accessible locations. We are eliminating barriers, improving accessibility, and working within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, across the government, and with our stakeholders, in such key areas as customer service, employment, communications and information, and the built environment.

Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), all public-sector organizations are required by law to have an annual accessibility plan and to make it available to the public. This is the fifth year in which plans have been written and are being implemented by organizations such as ours across the province.

We are building on the success of our previous four plans while continuing to look for ways to better meet the needs of people with disabilities who come into contact with this ministry, regardless of whether they are staff, members of the general public or ministry stakeholders.

I am proud of what's been achieved to date in making Ontario communities accessible for people of all abilities. Much of the credit for these advances in accessibility goes to the staff of this ministry. I want to thank everyone involved and wish them every continued success.

Sincerely,

George Smitherman
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care


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Report on Achievements


2006 – 2007 Accessibility Improvement Initiatives

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was successful in achieving planned commitments outlined in its 2006-2007 accessibility plan. This section provides a status report.

Commitment   :
The ministry will continue to provide alternative communication systems, with a focus on TTYs to facilitate access to information by clients who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired.

Status   :
Ongoing.

Action  :
The ministry provides TTY service through a dedicated phone line at 1-800-387-5559.

Timeframe  :
Annual and ongoing.

Rationale  :
The TTY service will continue to be available to serve hearing-impaired or speech-impaired persons in Ontario.


Commitment   :
The ministry will continue, on an as request basis, to exempt people with disabilities from attending OHIP offices in person for health care renewal.

Status   :
Ongoing.

Action   :
The ministry will mail a health card to clients once their physicians submit an Exemption Request form certifying that they are unable to attend an OHIP office due to a medical condition.

Timeframe   :
As required.

Rationale  :
The ministry will continue to make alternative arrangements for health card renewal for people with disabilities who are unable to attend an OHIP office in person.


Commitment   :
The ministry will continue to ensure there are no potential barriers in employment policies, processes, practices or tools for people with disabilities.

Status   :
Ongoing

Action   :
The ministry continues to remove any identified barriers that may affect applicants and employees with disabilities.

Timeframe   :
Recruitment and service-delivery processes are reviewed on a continual basis.


Commitment   :
The ministry will continue to provide accessibility training for all new managers.

Status   :
Ongoing

Action   :
Employee accommodation training will continue to be provided as new staff members are hired.

Timeframe   :
The training program is conducted throughout the year.


Commitment   :
The ministry will work with the relevant stakeholders to review communication materials directed at the public to ensure they are accessible.

Status   :
Ongoing

Action  :
The ministry incorporates and promotes the TTY number on relevant ministry web pages, brochures, fact sheets and advertising aimed at the general public for campaigns such as the pandemic influenza and West Nile virus. The ministry also worked with suppliers who specialize in the development of American Sign Language (ASL) videos. Several ASL videos were prepared this year for the West Nile virus, flu and pandemic campaigns and can be viewed on the ministry's corporate website at http://www.health.gov.on.ca.

In addition, the 2006 flu television commercial was close captioned for the hearing impaired.

Timeframe   :
Ongoing

Rationale  : The ministry will continue to produce communications materials that are accessible.


Commitment   :
The ministry will ensure that any future, major public education campaigns will be reviewed and the need for alternate formats assessed.

Status   :
Ongoing

Action   :
The ministry assesses the need for alternate formats when planning campaigns. For example, the influenza ('flu' shot) campaign fact sheets were translated into 24 languages to ensure their accessibility to Ontario's diverse ethnic population. This was also done for the pandemic influenza campaign fact sheets. The ministry also worked with suppliers who specialize in the development of American Sign Language (ASL) videos. Several ASL videos were prepared this year for the West Nile virus, flu and pandemic campaigns, and may be viewed on the ministry's corporate website at http://www.health.gov.on.ca.

Timeframe  :
Ongoing

Rationale  :
The ministry will continue to assess the need for alternate formats in the planning stages of all major public education campaigns.


Commitment  :
The ministry will ensure that practices are in place in partnership with Publications Ontario for the coordination of publications in accessible alternate formats.

Status  :
Complete

Action :
The ministry works with Publications Ontario to facilitate the production of materials in alternate formats as needed.

Timeframe :
As needed.

Rationale :
No requests to produce communications materials in alternate formats were received this year.


Commitment :
The ministry will review and update its Accessibility Plan in consultation with the Accessibility Directorate.

Status :
Complete

Action :
The ministry prepared and electronically posted its annual Accessibility Plan on the ministry's corporate website.

Timeframe :
Fall 2006


Commitment :
The ministry will continue to make accessibility mandatory in all new lease searches.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The ministry has revised its leasing criteria to make accessibility mandatory for all lease searches, including site and building, transportation routes and adjacent facilities. The ministry also reviewed existing sites to determine compliance with ODA standards.

Timeframe :
ODA standards will continue to be taken into consideration as new space is acquired.


Commitment :
The ministry, in partnership with local Joint Health and Safety Committees, will deal with any issues relating to ODA compliance.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The ministry continues to work with the local Joint Health and Safety Committees across the province to identify and address compliance issues as they arise.

Timeframe :
This process will be ongoing for existing leased sites.


Commitment :
The ministry will continue to use specifications it has developed for furniture, seating and furniture accessories in accordance with ergonomic standards that are suitable for use by people with disabilities.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
All furniture purchases are made through the Vendor of Record (VOR) using its pre-set selection. As furniture, seating and furniture accessories are purchased, the specifications developed by the ministry are taken into consideration.

Timeframe :
The ministry will continue to update the furniture and chairs Vendors of Record as new ergonomic features become available.


Commitment :
The ministry will perform self-assessment barrier analyses on five OHIP offices by March 2007.

Status :
In progress

Action :
The ministry completed evaluations of three OHIP offices to ensure compliance with Barrier-Free Standards.

Timeframe :
To be completed by March 2008.

Rationale :
The remaining two evaluations will be conducted this year.


Commitment :
The ministry will conduct site audits of all potential new OHIP outreach sites to ensure access to people with a range of sensory and mobility impairments.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The ministry will ensure that all potential sites for OHIP offices will incorporate Barrier-Free Standards in their design and construction.

Timeframe :
As required.


Commitment :
The ministry will, in partnership with the Ministry of Government Services, ensure that OHIP offices locating in ServiceOntario Centres are designed in accordance with ODA requirements.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The ministry continues to partner with Ministry of Government Services to ensure accessibility is considered whenever locating OHIP offices within ServiceOntario Centres.

Timeframe :
As required.


Commitment :
Health care transfer partners will be notified that, in planning for any capital project for their facility, issues of health, safety and accessibility are to be addressed in compliance with all applicable codes and requirements.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
On a regular basis, the ministry advises health-care facility boards/owners of their responsibility to comply with applicable codes (e.g. Ontario Fire Code, Ontario Building Code) and requirements. Through the publicly accessible Capital Planning Manual (1996), and regular correspondence from the ministry, facility boards/owners are notified of their responsibility for ensuring that each capital project they plan/undertake "is designed and tendered in accordance with existing guidelines, code requirements, regulations, standards and ministry policies."

As well, when supporting a health-care facility to tender its respective capital project, standard ministry correspondence to a transfer partner states : "It remains the responsibility of the health-care facility and its agents to ensure that all applicable provincial codes and requirements, including those of the Ontario Fire Marshal, are met."

Timeframe :
Notification to health-care facilities regarding their responsibilities continued throughout 2006-2007 as approved capital projects progressed through design and implementation and as the ministry approved new project proposals. Specific timelines associated with each health-care facility capital project are treated individually, based on a particular facility's construction schedule.

Rationale :
As transfer partners are approved to undertake capital projects, they are reminded during the course of their respective projects about their responsibility to comply with all applicable codes and requirements.


Commitment :
Legal counsel and ministry staff will continue to consider accessibility, including the identification and removal of barriers, when reviewing existing acts or regulations or developing new acts or regulations.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The 2006-2007 Accessibility Plan was distributed to legal counsel, who were specifically reminded of this commitment. During the year, legal counsel and ministry staff reviewed acts and regulations on a case-by-case basis, as they were developed or revised, to identify and address accessibility issues. No accessibility issues were identified in ministry legislation during 2006-2007.

Timeframe :
This continues as acts and regulations are being developed or revised.


Commitment :
The ministry will continue to comply with the legislative requirements in all facility/accommodation initiatives.

Status :
Ongoing

Action :
The ministry continues to work with Ontario Realty Corporation and SNC Lavalin ProFac to ensure updates to Building Code compliance are reviewed, facilities are assessed and any necessary corrective action is taken.

Timeframe :
This action is being incorporated in each new renovation project as needed.


Commitment :
The ministry is investigating the feasibility of modifying its interactive voice response system to enable hearing-impaired clients to use TTY to retrieve private well water test results. The ministry is also investigating the expansion of the existing 'water retrieval system' website for public access. Currently, INFOline staff access test results for the public when the caller has a rotary telephone.

Status :
In progress.

Action :
Modifications to the "Proof of Concept" are being finalized by Computer Talk Technologies (CTT).

Timeframe :
Re-testing, sign-off, and implementation due by fall 2007.


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Ongoing Accessibility Improvement Initiatives

The Ministry of Ministry of Health Long-Term Care was successful in achieving and in some cases surpassing, its commitments described in the accessibility plans it issued before 2006 - 2007. This section provides a status report.

Commitment 
To ensure all Public Health Laboratories are accessible and meet barrier-free requirements.

Status
Ongoing.

Action
Renovations to buildings in Central Region, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Sudbury, and Windsor Public Health Laboratories have been completed.

Renovations are planned or underway for Orillia, Peterborough, and Thunder Bay Public Health Laboratories.

Timeframe
2007-2008.

Rationale
Barriers at the Thunder Bay Public Health Laboratory will be reviewed once the laboratory is relocated to another building.


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Commitments – Measures to Prevent New Barriers

In the coming year, the ministry commits to assess its acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services to determine their effect on accessibility for persons with disabilities. This section summarizes these commitments.

Customer service
  • Mental Health Centre Penetaguishene (MHCP) commits to increasing the number of staff trained in TTY to improve service delivery. Consideration will be given to the installation of a TTY phone on Level 2 of the Toanche Building at MHCP.
  • MHCP will examine the feasibility of installing a speech-access telephone system which will enable callers to reach directly the person they are calling.
  • MHCP will examine the feasibility of installing speech recognition software, which will convert voice to document.
Employment
  • With the establishment of the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) across the province, the ministry will ensure that accessibility will be considered, and any issues identified during employee redeployment to new work locations.
  • The ministry commits to developing an internal protocol on the Health Reassignment process to better manage the reassignment of employees to alternate positions based on medical needs, and meet the requirements under the revised Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy for Health Reassignment.
  • MHCP will provide employee accommodation training to managers, as well as training in evacuation processes during emergencies.
Built environment
  • The ministry will continue to require that health-care facilities address accessibility issues, in accordance with existing statutes and regulations, in the design and construction of their capital projects.
  • The ministry will continue to remind Family Health Teams (FHT) to comply with accessibility requirements, through ministry funding agreements, FHT guides, and a facility improvement checklist, which requires them to determine the accessibility of their proposed site and identify any barriers.
  • MHCP will consider the feasibility of installing visual alarms within the facility's clinical areas to assist those people who are deaf or hearing-impaired.
  • MHCP will be negotiating a new lease agreement in the town of Midland, and will ensure compliance with barrier-free guidelines.
Acts and regulations
  • Legal counsel and ministry staff will continue to consider accessibility, including the identification and removal of barriers, when revising existing acts or regulations or developing new acts or regulations.

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Commitments – Barriers to be Addressed

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care commits to identify, remove and prevent barriers to persons with disabilities in the coming year. This section summarizes these commitments.

Employment accommodation

Barrier

The revised Employment Accommodation Operating Policy, which became effective on January 2, 2007, requires that all human-resources staff receive training.

Commitment

All human resources consultants, assistant human-resources consultants, and employee relations consultants will be trained on the new and revised Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy, to ensure they are knowledgeable about the new policy requirements to effectively assist managers and employees.

Responsibility

Human Resources Branch

Timeline

2007-2008


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Built environment

Barrier

The ministry will continue to require that health-care facilities address accessibility issues, in accordance with existing statutes and regulations, in the design and construction of capital projects.

Commitment

The ministry will continue to require that any health-care transfer partner (health-care facility), including a hospital, proposing or undertaking a capital project for new construction and/or renovation, is notified of its responsibility to comply with all applicable codes and requirements.

On a regular basis, the ministry will advise health-care facility boards/owners of their responsibility to comply with applicable codes (such as the Ontario Fire Code and the Ontario Building Code) and requirements.

Through its publicly accessible Capital Planning Manual (1996), the ministry will advise boards/owners of health-care facilities that, among their other duties, they are responsible for ensuring that each of their capital projects "is designed and tendered in accordance with existing guidelines, code requirements, regulations, standards and ministry policies."

When supporting a health-care facility to tender its respective capital project, standard ministry correspondence to the facility will advise health care facilities that, "It remains the responsibility of the health-care facility and its agents to ensure that all applicable provincial codes and requirements, including those of the Ontario Fire Marshal, are met."

Responsibility

Capital Planning and Strategies Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Timeline

Ongoing

Barrier

Main entrance doors and public washrooms in ministry offices on 12th floor of 5700 Yonge Street do not have automated door openers.

Commitment

Ministry is working with property management to determine the feasibility of installing automated door openers.

Responsibility

Supply and Financial Services Branch

Timeline

2007


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For More Information

Questions or comments about the ministry's accessibility plan are always welcome.

General inquiry number  : 1-866-532-3161 (in Toronto: 416-314-5518)

TTY number  : 1-800-387-5559

E-mail  : infoline@moh.gov.on.ca

Ministry website address  : http://www.health.gov.on.ca

Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services Accessibility Ontario web portal at  : www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario a barrier-free province.

Alternate formats of this document are available free upon request from  :

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