VICWEST INC.
ACCESSIBILITY POLICY - ONTARIO

Vicwest Inc. is committed to preventing, identifying and removing barriers that could impede the ability of people with disabilities to access good and services. This includes employees, clients, and suppliers.

In June 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The purpose of this enhanced Act is to develop, implement and enforce standards of accessibility for all Ontarians. Vicwest's Accessibility Policy is consistent with the AODA and its Regulations.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline practices and procedures that Vicwest intends to implement to help identify and remove barriers that impede a person's ability to access goods and services. This document sets out Vicwest’s policy on how it will achieve accessibility generally, as well as in customer service, employment, information and communications, and public spaces.

Principles of Providing Accessibility to Persons with Disabilities:

Dignity: Refers to policies, procedures and practices that treat any person, including those with a disability, as a client who is valued and deserving of effective and full service. People with disabilities should not be treated as an afterthought or forced to accept lesser service, quality or convenience. Service delivery needs to take into account how people with disabilities can effectively access and use services and show respect for these methods.

Independence: In some instances, independence means freedom from control or influence of others' freedom to make your own choices. In other situations, it may mean the freedom to do things in your own way. People who may move or speak more slowly should not be denied an opportunity to participate in a program or service because of this factor.

Integration: Integrated services are those services that allow people with disabilities to fully benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other clients. Integration means that policies, practices and procedures are designed to be accessible to everyone including people with disabilities. Sometimes integration does not serve the needs of all people with disabilities. In these cases, it is necessary to use alternate measures to provide goods or services. Alternate measures are ways of serving people that are not completely integrated into the regular business activities of the organization.

Equal Opportunity: Equal opportunity means having the same chances, options, benefits and results as others. In the case of services, it means that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to benefit from the services you provide. People with disabilities should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain service. They should also not have to accept lesser quality or more inconvenience.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Our multi-year accessibility plan outlines our strategy to prevent and remove barriers and to meet the requirement under the AODA and its Regulations. Our multi-year accessibility plan will be posted on our website, and will be available in an accessible format upon request. The multi-year accessibility plan will be reviewed and updated at least once every five years.

The plan will include accessibility strategies for:

  • General Accessibility
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Built Environment – Design of Public Spaces
  • Customer Service Standard

General Accessibility

Vicwest will train all employees, volunteers, and others on Ontario’s accessibility standards and on the Ontario Human Rights Code as it applies to persons with disabilities. The training will be appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of the individuals being trained, and will be provided as soon as practicable and upon changes to our accessibility policies.

Information and Communications

Vicwest is committed to meeting the communications needs of people with disabilities. Vicwest will provide information and communication materials in accessible formats or with communication supports upon request. This includes publicly available information about Vicwest’s goods, services and facilities, as well as publicly available emergency information. Vicwest will also provide individuals with an opportunity to provide feedback in an accessible format.

Accessible formats and communication support for persons with disabilities will be provided in a timely manner, taking into account the person’s accessibility needs. Vicwest will consult with persons with disabilities to determine how to provide accommodation for their information and communication needs. It will be provided at no additional cost than the cost charged to other persons.

If necessary, Vicwest will provide an explanation of why the information and communication are unconvertible, and a summary of such information and communication.
Finally, Vicwest will work toward making its websites and web content conform with the World Wide Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Level AA in accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Employment

Vicwest values all of its employees and is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible workplace. In keeping with this commitment, Vicwest will ensure that it develops policies and practices that comply with the employment-related requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards in a timely manner.

Built Environment – Design of Public Spaces

Vicwest is committed to incorporating barrier-free design principles in newly constructed and redeveloped public spaces in accordance with the timelines set out in the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Policies are subject to amendment and/or revocation at the Company’s sole discretion, without prior notice to employees.

Compliance with the Customer Service Standard

Vicwest will ensure the identification and removal of barriers to access for people with disabilities by ensuring our commitment to the practices and procedures set out in our Customer Service Plan.

Availability

This policy will be posted on Vicwest’s website and intranet. This document is available in alternate format upon request.

Administration

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or its related procedures please contact:

Gwen Hughes
VP, HR & Administration
Phone: (905) 825-9323
Fax: (905) 825-2861
E-mail: ghughes@vicwest.com

This policy and any related procedures will be reviewed as required in the event of legislative changes.