As the first AODA standard to become law in 2010, the Customer Service Standard has provided a framework for educational institutions to establishing policies, practices, and procedures for the delivery of goods and services to people with disabilities. These standards address the following:
- Ways to communicate with persons with disabilities, including those who are accompanied by a support person and/or a service animal
- Ways to communicate with people who use assistive technology
- How to use assistive technology in our teaching and workspaces.
- What to do if our service provisions are creating barriers for a person with disabilities
- How to provide information (curriculum, emails, worksheets, media, etc.) in accessible formats
- Developing accessible feedback mechanisms for people with disabilities to report back on how school boards are performing and how the feedback will be addressed.
The aim of the Transportation Standard is to ensure that transportation is accessible to people with disabilities, so that they can get where they need to go. This impacts educational institutions and transportation (e.g. school bus) companies when it comes to designing policies, practices, and procedures for transporting students to and from school, and on school-related trips. This standard addresses both conventional and specialized transportation service providers and addresses topics such as accessibility of vehicles, fares, policies and practices (e.g. reducing wait times), every day and emergency procedures, and training for transportation providers, among other topics. This includes a section specifically targeted to schoolboards to ensure students are provided with appropriate accessible transportation and that the roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated to all involved.
The Employment Standard aims to expand Ontario’s labor pool and improve access for persons with disabilities into the workplace. This Standard addresses:
- Providing accommodation during the recruitment and interview stages, as well as when employed at the company
- Providing documents in alternate formats and provision of communication supports
- How to communicate with employees to share information about policies and practices around accessibility
- Creating emergency response information in a format specific to the employees needs
- Supporting return to work after a disability related leave from the company
This standard could apply to accommodation of educators and other school staff, and is applicable to students who are graduating from school and entering the workforce. It is important to ensure students have an understanding of the obligations of potential employers, so that they know their rights when applying to and working in future jobs.
Information and Communications
The Information and Communication Standard focuses on ensuring persons with disabilities have access to information. When applied to education, this standard focuses on ensuring that all information and communication related to teaching and learning is accessible. The definition of information and communication is broad and can include posters, handouts, worksheets, brochures, feedback forms, videos, telephone calls, e-mails and messages, web content, and face-to-face interactions. The goal of these standards are to promote the inclusive design of information and communication platforms across Ontario and to illustrate what measures are required to remove barriers for persons with disabilities when creating, conveying, and receiving information and communication.
More information is available on the SNOW site on how the INSERTLINKLATER Information and Communication Standard applies to educational content.
Design of Public Spaces Standard
In 2013, the Design of Public Spaces Standard (Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment) was added to the Integrated Accessibility Standards. Beginning in 2016, educational organizations will have to meet accessibility requirements when constructing and maintaining new or redeveloped elements of public spaces including:
- Recreational trails and beach access routes
- Outdoor eating areas for public use
- Outdoor play spaces (such as playgrounds)
- Exterior paths of travel (such as walkways across parks or between buildings)
- Accessible on- and off-street parking
- Service counters and waiting areas
The standard only applies when organizations build new or make major changes to existing elements of public spaces. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is developing potential enhancements to current accessibility requirements in buildings.