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Accessibility Policy

Policy Statement (Statement of Commitment to Accessibility)

The Cambridge Public Library Board (“Idea Exchange”) is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and/or removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on how Idea Exchange ensures all its goods, services, programs and facilities are provided in an inclusive manner that takes into the account the needs of people with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Scope

This policy applies to all Idea Exchange staff, volunteers, third parties and others who could reasonably be expected to interact with members of the public, or who develop and oversee policies, practices and procedures.

Definitions 

Accessible Formats: May include but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, Braille and other formats usable by persons with disabilities. 

Accommodation: Special arrangements made or assistance provided so that persons with disabilities can participate in the experiences available to persons without disabilities.  Accommodation will vary depending on the person’s unique needs. 

Communication Supports: May include, but are not limited to captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language, sign language, and other supports that facilitate effective communications. 

Disability: As defined by the AODA:

  • 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 coordination, blindness or visual impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  • A mental disorder, or;
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997-section 10 Ontario Human Rights Code, 1990.

Information and Communication Exceptions: is defined per Section 9 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (O. Reg 191/11) as follows:

  • The information and communications standards do not apply to the following:
    • Products and product labels, except as specifically provided by this Part.
    • Unconvertible information or communications.
    • Information that Idea Exchange does not control directly or indirectly through a contractual relationship. 

Kiosk: an interactive electronic terminal, including point-of-sale devices, intended for public use that allows users to access one or more services or products or both.

Service Animal: As defined in Ontario Regulation 429/07. An animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or if the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability. 

Support Person: As defined in Ontario Regulation 429/07. A support person means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Policy

Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the following:

  1. That the accessibility needs of people with disabilities shall be met in compliance with the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Integrated Accessibility Standards, and in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code, in a timely manner.
  2. That goods, services and facilities be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
  3. That the provision of goods, services, and facilities to people with disabilities, and others, will be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or permanently, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods, services or facilities.
  4. That people with disabilities will be given an opportunity – equal to that given to others – to obtain, use and benefit from the goods, services, and facilities.
  5. To ensure consistent and equitable standards for the recruitment, assessment and selection of prospective employees, including persons with disabilities, to support current and future business and service delivery needs.

Idea Exchange commits to the ongoing maintenance of measures in adhering to the applicable standards in the AODA summarized as follows:

Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) – Generalities

Accessibility plan: Idea Exchange will implement a multi-year accessibility plan that will outline Idea Exchange’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers.

Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities: Idea Exchange shall incorporate accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where it is not practicable to do so. If not practicable, Idea Exchange shall provide an explanation upon request.

Self Service Kiosks: Idea Exchange shall incorporate accessibility features when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks.

Staff Training Requirements: Idea Exchange shall ensure that training is provided on the requirements of the AODA and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities, to all employees, volunteers, policy makers and third parties providing goods, services or facilities on Idea Exchange’s behalf.

Accessibility Reporting: Idea Exchange shall prepare an annual status report on the progress of measures taken to implement the strategy referenced in the Accessibility Plan.

Disruptions in Service: In the event of a planned service disruption to facilities, services or systems that are relied upon by persons with disabilities to access Idea Exchange goods, services or programs, notice of the disruption shall be provided in advance (i.e. posted notice, website). In the event of an unexpected disruption, notice will be provided as soon as possible.

General Requirements

  1. A multi-year Accessibility Plan, outlining the Idea Exchange’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet its obligations under the IASR, will be developed, implemented, and maintained, and reviewed and updated at least once every 5 years.
  2. The Accessibility Plan shall be prepared and posted to the website, outlining progress made on achieving the goals set out in the multi-year Accessibility Plan and steps taken to comply with the AODA and the IASR.
  3. Idea Exchange will use accessible design, criteria and features that are incorporated into purchasing and acquiring goods, services, or facilities, and when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks.  When proven not practicable to do so, an explanation is provided upon request.
  4. Staff, those involved in developing the organization’s policies, volunteers, and all other people who provide goods, services, or facilities on behalf of Idea Exchange shall receive appropriate training on the requirements of the Accessibility Standards, including providing accessible customer service in accordance with O. Reg 191/11 s.80.49, the Ontario Human Rights Code as it related to people with disabilities and the duty to accommodate, job-specific training on meeting the obligations of the AODA and IASR, and any changes to policies developed under the AODA.

Information and Communications

Idea Exchange will make communications available, upon request, in accessible formats or communications supports for persons with disabilities. Idea Exchange will make the availability of accessible communications known to the public. Types of communications may include:

  • Policies
  • Multi-Year accessibility plan
  • Emergency procedures, plan and public safety information prepared for the public
  • Accessible feedback processes and mechanisms
  • Information on collections/materials in accessible formats

Accessible formats of Idea Exchange’s communications shall be made available in a timely manner, at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to others for the communications and in consultation with the person making the request.

Idea Exchange will make its websites, and web content, conform to the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines on or before the compliance deadlines.   

Employment

Idea Exchange will establish policies, procedures and practices which support accessibility in the area of employment that includes recruitment and hiring, support for employees, individualized accommodation and return to work plans, performance management, redeployment, and career development and advancement.

Design of Public Spaces

Idea Exchange will address barriers and comply with accessibility requirements that apply to public spaces that are newly constructed or redeveloped on and after January 1, 2016.

Customer Service

Idea Exchange is committed to:

  • Communicating with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability;
  • Welcoming the use of personal assistive devices to access our services;
  • Permitting service animals to assist people with disabilities in all areas of our facilities open to the public and providing alternative accommodation when the animal is disallowed by law;
  • Welcoming support persons accompanying people with disabilities and ensuring that a person with a disability is not prevented from having access to their support person while on the premises;
  • Welcoming and facilitating feedback from members of the public about our delivery of services to people with disabilities;
  • Providing training in the provision of customer service for people with disabilities to all staff, volunteers, agents, contractors and others who could reasonably be expected to interact with members of the public, or who develop and oversee policies, practices and procedures.

Policy Communication

Idea Exchange employees will be advised of this Policy through internal distribution and by posting the policy on Idea Exchange’s internal and external websites.  Volunteers and other third parties will be notified of this policy by their staff liaison through volunteer training or any relevant purchasing or procurement processes respectively.

This Policy will be made available to the public on Idea Exchange’s website, and in accessible alternate formats upon request.

Human Resources is responsible for reviewing this Policy annually and recommending amendments to ensure on-going compliance with the accessibility standards and legislated obligations in consultation with the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Managers and supervisors shall ensure that they and their staff are familiar with and comply with this Policy and all relevant procedures and requirements of the AODA.  Managers and supervisors shall monitor current practices to ensure compliance.  Failure to comply with the provisions of this policy and all relevant procedures and requirements of the AODA may result in disciplinary action.

Related Procedures

  • Accessible Customer Service Guidelines
  • General Operations for Accessibility
  • Sustainable Procurement Policy
  • Early and Safe Return to Work Policy
  • Employee Workplace Emergency Response Plan
  • Volunteer Workplace Emergency Response Plan
  • Alternative Format and Communication Support Request Form
  • City of Cambridge’s Facility Accessibility Design Manual

Reference Documents

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, Chapter 11

Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, Ontario Regulation 191/11

Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.19

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

Alternative Formats

This policy is available in an alternative format upon request.  Alternative accessible formats may include, but are not limited to large print, recorded audio and electronic formats and other formats usable by people with disabilities. 

Adopted: December 2, 2020 (Board Motion 20.52)