The Burnie Group’s Accessibility Policies

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2015 (AODA) is a Provincial Act with the purpose of developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for people with disabilities and others with accessibility needs.

The AODA mandates five standards in the following areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Employment
  • Information and Communications
  • Design of Public Spaces
  • Transportation

This plan outlines the policies and actions that The Burnie Group will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities in accordance with the requirements communicated under the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11.

Statement of Commitment

At The Burnie Group, treating our employees and our clients in a way that respects dignity and independence is crucial to our success. No matter what the need, The Burnie Group is committed to serving our clients and treating our employees in the best and most inclusive way possible. We endeavor to communicate and provide our services in a manner that is inclusive to everyone and which takes peoples’ accessibility needs into account in all of our activities.

The Burnie Group believes in equal opportunity and is committed to providing a barrier-free environment that allows all people to maintain their independence and dignity. As an organization, we respect and uphold the requirements set forth under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) and its associated Regulations and strive to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in a timely and effective manner.

General Definitions:

Accessible Formats: include, but are not limited to accessible electronic formats, Braille, text transcripts, large print, recorded audio, colour contrasts, and other formats accessible to persons with disabilities.

Assistive Device: a technical aid, communication device or other instrument that is used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Personal assistive devices are typically devices that people bring with them such as a wheelchair, walker or a personal oxygen tank that might assist in hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, breathing, remembering and/or reading.

Barrier: as defined by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his/her disability. This includes:

  • Physical barriers,
  • Architectural barriers,
  • Informational or communications barriers,
  • Attitudinal barriers,
  • Policy, practice or procedure barriers

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

Disability: a key feature of the AODA is its definition of “disability”. Under the AODA, the definition of “disability” is the same as the definition in the Ontario Human Rights Code [2]: Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement including, but not limited to:

  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Epilepsy;
  • A brain injury;
  • Any degree of paralysis;
  • Amputation;
  • Lack of physical coordination;
  • Blindness or visual impediment;
  • Deafness or hearing impediment;
  • Muteness or speech impediment; or
  • Physical reliance of 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.
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, 1997.

Support Persons: any person, whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member of friend, who accompanies a person with a disability to help with communications, mobility, personal care or medical needs while accessing our goods and services.

The Burnie Group’s Plan

1. Best Practices

We understand that the AODA standards represent the minimum requirements for all public and private sector organizations in Ontario and as such, we take the requirement in section 4 of the IASR to examine how we can prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities very seriously. The Burnie Group commits to examining best practices in the areas of information and communication and incorporating those best practices into our business where appropriate. By using principles of universal design wherever possible, we will be able to deliver on consistent high-quality services to our employees and clients alike.

2. Training

We know that training provides people the tools and resources they need to serve our customers effectively as well as helping our employees develop their skills. The Burnie Group commits to ensuring all employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities in creating an inclusive environment for people with accessibility needs.

3. Procurement

The Burnie Group will endeavor to incorporate accessibility provisions as required into our procurement practices. We understand that when accessibility is used as one of the criteria for purchasing decisions, the outcome will be products and services that that are universally accessible to everyone. Where applicable, our procurement practices may outline the desired accessibility elements to be met. Examples where accessible procurement may be relevant may include new computer purchases, new software programs, new office equipment, and leasing space.

The Burnie Group’s Customer Service Policy

The Burnie Group is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities. The Burnie Group is committed to providing people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services in a similar way as other clients. For the purposes of this customer service policy, employee means every person who deals with clients or members of the public on behalf of The Burnie Group whether the person does so an employee, volunteer, agent or intern.

The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities

The Burnie Group commits to ensuring every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity by:

  • Ensuring that all customers receive the same value and quality;
  • Allowing customers with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services, as long as this does not present a health and safety risk;
  • Using alternative methods when possible to ensure that customers with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
  • Taking into account individual accommodation needs when providing goods and services; and
  • Communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.

The Use of Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by the company.
In cases where the assistive device presents a health and safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services, up to the point of undue hardship.
Alternatively, where elevators are not present and where a customer requires assistive devices for the purposes of mobility, service will be provided in a location that meets the needs of the customer.

Guide Dogs and Service Animals

The Burnie Group welcomes all persons with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or service animal on all parts of our premises unless otherwise prohibited by law.
The Use of Support Persons

If a customer with a disability is accompanied by a support person, The Burnie Group will ensure that both persons may enter the premises together and that the customer is not prevented from having access to the support person.

There may be times where seating and availability prevent the customer and support person from sitting beside each other. In these situations, The Burnie Group will make every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.

In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the customer before any potentially confidential information is mentioned.

Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for customers with disabilities including elevator access and accessible washroom facilities, The Burnie Group will notify customers promptly. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

Notice of Availability and Format of Documents to Customers

The Burnie Group shall notify customers that the documents related to the customer service standards are available upon request and in a format that takes into account the customer’s disability. Notification will be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place owned and operated by The Burnie Group, the website of The Burnie Group, and any other reasonable method.

Accessible meetings

Ensuring that our clients are able to participate effectively in meetings is key to our success. The Burnie Group commits to ensuring that we provide for high levels of accessibility both in terms of meeting space as well as in the content and proceedings of meetings.

Feedback process

Our goal is to surpass the expectations of our clients. Comments on how our services are met are appreciated. Customers who wish to provide feedback on how The Burnie Group provides goods and services to people with disabilities can do so by email or verbally by telephone.

All feedback, including complaints, will be directed to the Principal and Founder David Burnie (david.burnie@burniegroup.com  or 1.416.509.8396).

Customers can expect to hear back within 10 business days.

The Burnie Group’s Employment Policy

The Burnie Group is committed to an accessible and inclusive workplace where all employees are encouraged to excel without being hampered by barriers. For the purpose of the Employment Policy, employees include all paid employees, whether full-time, part-time or seasonal. Volunteers or other unpaid persons are not covered by the employment standard.

Recruitment, Assessment and Selection

The Burnie Group will notify employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for job applicants who have disabilities. Applicants will be informed that these accommodations are available, upon request, for the interview process and for other candidate selection methods. Where an accommodation is requested, the company will consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for suitable accommodations in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s accessibility needs due to disability.

Successful applicants will be made aware of the company’s policies and supports for accommodating people with disabilities.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports for Employees

The Burnie Group will ensure that employees are aware of policies for employees with disabilities and any changes to these policies as they occur. The company will provide the information required to new employees as soon as practicable after they begin their employment.
If an employee with a disability requests it, the company will provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for the following:

  • Information needed in order to perform their job; and
  • Information that is generally available to all employees in the workplace.

The company will consult with the employee making the request to determine the best way to provide the accessible format or communication support.

Return to Work

The Burnie Group will develop and implement return-to-work processes for employees who are absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work.

This process will outline the steps the company will take to enable a smooth return to work for the employee. All steps and individual accommodation plans will be documented and created in consultation with the employee.

Performance Management and Career Changes

The Burnie Group will consider the accessibility needs, including documented individual accommodation plans, of employees with disabilities during the company’s performance management process. These will also be considered in the event of redeployment, or when offering career development or advancement opportunities.

Review

This policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure that it reflects current practices of The Burnie Group as well as legislative requirements.

Procedure for an employee requesting an accommodation

The purpose of accommodation is to allow a person to perform the essential duties of the job and to allow for equal participation in the workplace. The accommodation process will respect confidentiality and privacy. The accommodation will be collaborative and will involve the requestor.

Requests for accommodation will be formalized according to the following process:

Employees who wish to raise a potential accommodation issue shall do so by submitting a request for accommodation, preferably in writing, to their immediate manager. The request shall describe, in detail, the accommodation sought to address limitations in performing the essential duties of the job.

When necessary to facilitate the assessment and determination of the accommodation, the employee may be required to participate in the development of the accommodation plan and provide relevant medical information to The Burnie Group such as a functional capacity evaluation. Medical professionals are not required to submit a diagnosis. The purpose of any medical documentation is to determine the type of accommodation required. Employees seeking accommodation are expected to provide their fullest cooperation in providing any information or medical assessments relevant to determination of the accommodation request.

The Principal and Founder will assess the accommodation issue in light of the information provided and the individual needs of the employee. During the assessment phase, The Burnie Group reserves the right to require further information, including relevant medical information or opinions that will assist The Burnie Group to determine if accommodation can be achieved and how it can be achieved. The Burnie Group further reserves the right to require the employee to participate in a formal needs-assessment by a qualified medical practitioner or other trained professional in order to assist in determining what accommodation is needed, how much it will cost, and how it can be provided. The costs of any assessment required by The Burnie Group will be covered by The Burnie Group. The employee may request the participation of an employee representative in the development of the accommodation plan.

The Principal and Founder will then finalize a decision regarding the accommodation issue. The manager shall notify the employee in writing or other format as required by the employee’s disability, the decision and the reason(s) for the decision.

The Burnie Group shall ensure that the employee’s personal information shall be kept confidential and only disclosed to those necessary in the assessment and development of the accommodation in accordance with SPP 5.07.ON – Personal Information Protection.

All complaints regarding The Burnie Group’s accessibility and accommodation plan will be brought to the Principal and Founder at The Burnie Group. Each complaint will be addressed individually and followed up on in writing within seven business days.

The Burnie Group’s Information and Communications Policy

Alternate Formats

At The Burnie Group, we will ensure that we provide information and communications to our customers and the public in alternate formats upon request and in a timely manner. Depending on the situation this may include, and is not limited to:

  • Large print
  • Braille
  • Audio
  • Closed captioning,
  • High colour contrast
  • American Sign Language
  • Text transcription of audio or visual information
  • Information written in plain language
  • An electronic format formatted to be accessible for use with a careen reader

In determining an appropriate format, we commit to consulting with the requestor.
This policy does not apply to information that is not controlled directly by The Burnie Group, or information or communications that cannot be converted.

Websites

The Burnie Group is committed to achieving the Worldwide Consortium Accessible Guidelines (WCAG) as outlined in section 14 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. Accessible websites will ensure that all of our clients and the public will have access to our groundbreaking work and thought leadership.

The Burnie Group’s Design of Public Spaces

The Burnie Group is not an organization generally open to the public. Areas when our clients or others may visit are our reception area, common space and meeting rooms. We will strive to ensure that we meet principles of universal design all of our meeting or reception areas and implement the AODA design requirements for any planned renovations to relevant areas.
In order to serve our clients effectively, we will endeavor to make them aware of universal design and accessible features when planning events.