Annual Accessibility Plan 2014-2015
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Table of Contents

  1. Section One: Report on Measures Taken by Ministry in 2014
  2. Section Two: Report on Commitments Proposed by Ministry for 2014 and 2015
  3. Section Three: Addressing the identification of barriers
  4. Links
  5. Contact us

Introduction

Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), ministries are required to produce, and make available to the public, annual plans that identify how ministries will recognize and remove barriers to accessibility.

The ODA Accessibility Plan (the Plan) is an opportunity to showcase the ministry's accomplishments and to demonstrate how it is modeling compliance to regulated accessibility requirements.

In 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) began complying with the first accessibility standard established under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) - Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. In 2011, the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) was introduced, establishing phased-in requirements in the following accessibility standards:

  • Information and Communications;
  • Employment;
  • Transportation; and,
  • Design of Public Spaces

Each year, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) as an obligated organization confirms its compliance with the requirements of these standards to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. The ODA Plan provides an opportunity for OMAFRA to go beyond confirming compliance with these regulated minimum requirements. Specifically, the Plan allows the ministry to highlight the measures taken to identify and remove barriers in the previous year while proposing measures for the coming year that will make the ministry more accessible.

The IASR establishes that obligated organizations, shall create and maintain a multi-year accessibility plan (MYAP) that outlines the organization's strategies to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility. To meet the MYAP requirement, the OPS released Leading the Way Forward in 2012.

Organizations are also required to develop an annual status report that highlights progress in advancing the MYAP strategy and in meeting the requirements of the IASR. In 2013, the OPS released its first Annual Status Report, highlighting progress made in 2012.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs' 2014 ODA Plan demonstrates how the measures the ministry has taken and how the proposed measures for the coming years supports the key outcomes and deliverables of the MYAP.

To access the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs' and other ministries' 2014 ODA Accessibility Plans, visit Ontario.ca.

Section One: Report on Measures Taken by Ministry in 2014

Customer Service

OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) Key Outcome:

OPS customers with disabilities receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. All new staff and management will be required to take accessible customer service training. Training will be tracked and monitored throughout the year. Accessible customer service training modules include, "May I Help You? - Welcoming Customers with Disabilities", and "May I Help Supplementary - Ten Things you need to know about Accessible Customer Service".
  2. OMAFRA will continue to ensure service disruption notice procedures are in place at all ministry locations when services are unavailable. This includes communicating with regional offices related to various scenarios such as power outages and inclement weather.
  3. OMAFRA will encourage the use of the OPS Inclusion Lens in project development and approval processes.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. Mandatory accessible customer service training was required of all new staff (including summer, co-op and contract staff) and management; not only frontline service providers as currently required by the AODA. The training includes the requirement for staff to review the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy to complete the module. Staff were informed of the training requirements through orientation documents.
  2. To support continued business and accessibility of services, OMAFRA continued to work with our service provider partners to ensure service disruption notices were posted in a timely manner and an alternate service location was indicated.
  3. OPS Inclusion Lens training was delivered to various branches and project teams within the ministry. As part of the training, staff were encouraged to document the findings of their review to support evidence based decision-making.

Information and Communications

MYAP Key Outcome:

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. The ministry will continue to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards as outlined in the IASR.
  2. OMAFRA will launch a new financial services intranet site with accessible design features and accessible content including procurement information and resources. Training will be offered to staff on how to navigate the new site.
  3. All ministry specific project plan/management tools and templates will be provided in an accessible format, using best practices and guidelines for creating accessible documents.
  4. OMAFRA staff that create PDF files will be provided with training in preparing accessible versions of PDFs.
  5. The ministry will communicate the availability of accessible formats and communication supports to the public by January 1, 2014.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. The ministry continues to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards as outlined in the IASR. OMAFRA's Web Publishing Coordinator continues to review all new web content to ensure it meets accessibility guidelines.
  2. OMAFRA launched four new financial services modules on the ministry's intranet site. The modules were designed consistent with the OPS I&IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence web accessibility best practices. Staff with disabilities were encouraged to provide feedback and make recommendations to enhance accessibility. Training on how to navigate the new site was provided to staff that use the financial service site regularly and is now incorporated into orientation training for new staff.
  3. Live hands-on demonstrations of the functionality of screen readers were featured at the OMAFRA Administrative Professionals conference in November 2013 and to commemorate International Day for Persons with Disabilities, in December 2013.
  4. Training on how to build accessibility into the development of emails and various document formats such as PDF, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint was provided to staff through facilitated training sessions in May 2014.
  5. By creating accessible documents, the ministry is better prepared to respond to requests for accessible formats and communication supports; an obligation of the OPS effective January 1, 2014 and outlined in the new OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy.

Employment

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. The ministry will continue to increase manager awareness of and compliance with employment accommodation directives, policies and plans by providing additional tools and resources including a new guide for the ministry titled: "My Work Unit is Accessible! OMAFRAs Guide for Managers in Meeting Compliance Requirements of the AODA".
  2. The ministry will increase manager and employee awareness of OPS programs and resources related to accessibility and inclusion by posting more direct links on the ministry's intranet site when new policies or guides are released.
  3. The ministry will continue to support accessibility performance commitments as part of annual performance planning at all levels of management.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. An online resource was developed to provide managers with a list of activities that could be undertaken in their work units to support AODA requirements. The draft guide is being piloted among select managers with the goal to launch the final version in December 2014.
  2. The ministry is increasing manager and employee awareness of OPS programs and resources related to accessibility and inclusion by posting more direct links on the ministry's intranet site when new policies or guides are released. A human resource specific area of the ministry's intranet site was updated this year and has pages dedicated to accessibility and to diversity and inclusion that both managers and employees can access. The diversity page includes the ministry's 2013-2016 Inclusion Plan. On the accessibility page, there are tips on how we can ensure compliance with the AODA as well as a suggestion box that contains a form for people to submit ideas on how the ministry can make the workplace environment more accessible (i.e. improvement in physical, attitudinal or systemic practices).
  3. All levels of management have accessibility performance commitments included in annual performance management plans including the requirement for individualized emergency response plans for staff that identify accommodation needs in an emergency.

Built Environment

MYAP Key Outcome:

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. The ministry will continue to increase awareness of the Guidelines for the Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities.
  2. OMAFRA will consult with people with disabilities on accommodation planning within existing infrastructure.
  3. The ministry will incorporate a barrier free design, according to Guidelines for the Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities when designing the new space in the Toronto Grenville office.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. The ministry's Multi-year Accommodation Strategy ensures a proactive approach to accommodations planning. It provides the ministry with a road map for the annual accommodations planning process and encourages the inclusion of accommodations planning when making program delivery decisions. The ministry's Multi-year Accommodation Strategy included an annual consideration of the AODA and the Guidelines for the Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities to ensure accessibility is always considered and/or reviewed as a corporate objective.
  2. Through regular communications with the building service provider and through requesting staff to identify special accommodation needs, OMAFRA has worked to ensure safe and accessible facilities to all visitors and staff at the main headquarters and all regional offices.
  3. In the design, planning and construction of the new Toronto-Grenville office, accessible and ergonomic features were incorporated in accordance with the Guidelines for the Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities. The new floor layout has included automated door openers at all main entry and high traffic doors. All new workstations include height adjustable work surfaces with access to keyboard trays and monitor arms to create and support an accessible and healthy work environment.

Leadership

MYAP Key Outcome:

The OPS endeavours to demonstrate leadership for accessibility in Ontario.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. The ministry will continue to support resources for a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group with representation from various geographic locations and dimensions of diversity, including employees with disabilities.
  2. OMAFRA will collaborate with the University of Guelph on the delivery of the 2014 Accessibility Conference, scheduled for May 27th - 28th, 2014.
  3. The ministry will publish the OMAFRA 2013-2016 Inclusion Strategy in fall/winter 2013 that builds on the 2009-2012 Diversity Strategy. Leadership in accessibility will be a key strategic objective of this multi-year plan.
  4. The ministry will continue to seek advice and guidance from persons with disabilities in the development and execution of an annual accessibility plan.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. The ministry renewed support for a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group comprising three members from each division including regional representation. The active and ongoing involvement in the group is supported through dedication of work time toward the implementation of the ministries 2013-16 Inclusion Plan. Demonstrating leadership in accessibility is a key strategy within the plan. Members represent multiple dimensions of diversity including disability. The working group was consulted in the development and implementation of the annual accessibility plan.
  2. OMAFRA collaborated with the University of Guelph on the planning and delivery of the 2014 Accessibility Conference, which included participation and attendance by members of the government, broader public sector and private business. The conference aims to raise awareness and encourage action by participants with the goal of creating an accessible province by 2025.
  3. The commitment to leadership in accessibility is outlined as one of four key strategic objectives in the Ministry's 2013-16 Inclusion Plan that was launched in March 2014.
  4. In the formulation of the 2013-14 Accessibility Plan, persons with disabilities were consulted and feedback was incorporated.

Other Commitments

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

List of commitments – Information taken from 2013 – 2014 Accessibility Plan
  1. OMAFRA will continue to ensure that IASR and Human Rights Code training are completed for all new employees. Training will be maintained and monitored throughout the year.
  2. Additional IASR training courses specific to Information and Communications and Employment will be launched after release by OPS Diversity Office in fall 2013.
  3. OMAFRA will administer the 2013-2014 Diversity Mentoring Partnership program and encourage employees in under-represented categories including people with disabilites, to participate in the program.
Measures Taken by OMAFRA:
  1. OMAFRA continues to ensure that IASR and Human Rights Code training are completed for all new employees. Training is maintained and monitored throughout the year.This is done through generating completion reports regularily. Managers are also informed on employees who have not completed mandatory training.
  2. Additional IASR training courses specific to Information and Communications and Employment were launched after release by the OPS Diversity Office. A cascaded approach to completion of training was taken requiring all senior leaders and managers to take training by June 30th, 2014 and all staff by December 31st, 2014.
  3. OMAFRA administered the 2013-2014 Diversity Mentoring Partnership program and encouraged employees in under-represented categories including people with disabilites to participate in the program.

Section Two: Report on Commitments Proposed by Ministry for 2015

Customer Service

OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) Key Outcomes

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Commitments Proposed by OMAFRA for 2015:
  1. All new staff and management will continue to be required to take accessible customer service training. Training will be tracked and monitored throughout the year. Accessible customer service training modules include, "May I Help You? - Welcoming Customers with Disabilities", and "May I Help Supplementary - Ten Things you need to know about Accessible Customer Service".
  2. OMAFRA will continue to ensure service disruption notice procedures are in place at all ministry locations when services are unavailable. This includes communicating with regional offices related to various scenarios such as power outages and inclement weather.

Information and Communications

MYAP Key Outcome:

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Commitments Proposed by OMAFRA for 2015:
  1. The ministry will continue to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards as outlined in the IASR. OMAFRA's Web and New Media Coordinator will continue to provide subject matter expertise to ministry staff related to web accessibility features.
  2. OMAFRA staff that create PDF files will be provided with training in preparing accessible versions of PDFs if they have not previously participated in training. Additional training and resources will be offered for other file formats such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
  3. OMAFRA will continue to review the financial services intranet site feedback to ensure all barriers are addressed. A specific project will be undertaken to review financial services documents, including templates and forms, from an accessibility lens perspective to ensure all materials, including procurement related documents, meet accessibility requirements.
  4. Ministry specific project management tools and templates will also be provided in an accessible format, using best practices and guidelines for creating accessible documents.

Employment

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Commitments Proposed by OMAFRA for 2015:
  1. The ministry will continue to support accessibility performance commitments as part of annual performance planning at all levels of management. Ministry management has a dedicated corporate performance commitment in its performance plan related to inclusion and accessibility that has specific activities that they are required to fulfill based on their management level, and consistent with the commitments provided by the OPS Diversity Office. For example, managers are to ensure compliance with AODA requirements and that all written communications are accessible.
  2. The results of the 2014 OPS Employee Engagement survey revealed that a percentage of OMAFRA respondents who require an employment accommodation for their disability did not request it. To assist employees in getting the accommodations they require to perform their job duties, managers will be encouraged to inquire about accommodation requirements as part of the bi-annual performance and learning plan process.
  3. IASR and Human Rights Code training will continue to be required of all new employees. Training will be maintained and monitored throughout the year. All managers and HR professionals were required to complete further on-line training about the requirements of the Employment Standards under the AODA by June 30, 2014. All staff will continue to be encouraged to complete the training.

Government Facilities

MYAP Key Outcome:

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Commitments Proposed by OMAFRA for 2015:
  1. The ministry will continue to partner with building service providers to increase awareness of the OPS barrier-free requirements for government facilities, as well as requirements for public spaces.
  2. OMAFRA will consult people with disabilities on accommodation planning within existing infrastructure.
  3. The ministry will continue to comply with the requirements of the built environment and design requirements of public spaces of the Ontario Building Code and the Design of Public Spaces standards as part of our on-going accommodation planning.
  4. The ministry will continue to incorporate barrier free design, according to OPS Barrier Free design guidelines when designing space options for the 11th Floor office space in Grenville-Toronto; as well as space design concepts for the 2nd Floor Stone Road alignment.

Other Outcomes Deliverables

MYAP Key Outcome:

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Commitments Proposed by OMAFRA for 2015:
  1. Accessibility will continue to be a strong organizational commitment at OMAFRA. The ministry's Inclusion Working Group will be offering facilitated training sessions to staff on how to apply the OPS Inclusion Lens to the work they do. This process facilitates an analysis of various dimensions of diversity, including disabiilty, in the review or development of projects to prevent and remove barriers.
  2. The 2014-2015 Diversity Mentoring Partnership program will encourage employees in under-represented categories including people with disabilites to participate in a series of discussions with executive partners throughout the year to foster reciprocal learning.
  3. For a third year, the ministry will endevour to collaborate with other government partners on the planning and delivery of an accessibility conference to raise awareness and promote AODA compliance assistance information and resources among all sectors.
  4. OMAFRA also supports membership on the OPS Disability Advisory Council to fulfill a mandate for the sustainability of an OPS employee network dedicated to employees with disabilities.

Section Three: Addressing the identification of barriers

The ODA establishes that a ministry's accessibility plan shall include the measures in place to address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services administered by the ministry.

In support of the ministry's commitment to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, OMAFRA will continue to review the ministry's Acts and regulations using the OPS Inclusion Lens, as part of a broader review of OMAFRA's Acts and regulations under the ministry's Open for Business initiative.

Several ministry specific project management tools and templates now include a reminder to apply the OPS Inclusion Lens when planning and developing project documents along with a link to the OPS Diversity Office website for easy access to additional information.

OMAFRA's Inclusion Working Group is developing a ministry-specific, interactive inclusion lens training module that will be launched in 2015. This training focuses on the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in policies, programs, practices and services through an analysis against various dimensions of diversity including people with disabilities.

Links

Public Links

Contact Us

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

General inquiries: 1-877-424-1300

TTY number: 1-855-696-2811

Toll-free number: 1-888-466-2372

Email: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca

Ministry website address: www.ontario.ca/OMAFRA

In Writing:

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Correspondence Unit
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2

Visit the Ministry of Economic, Development, Trade and Employment web portal. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario an accessible province for everyone.

Alternate formats of this document are available upon request from:

ServiceOntario Publications

Phone: 1-800-668-9938
TTY: 1-800-268-7095


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 25 November 2014
Last Reviewed: 25 November 2014