Accessibility

The Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex is committed to providing excellent customer service in a way that respects the dignity, independence, integration and equality of people with disabilities. The Society will comply with the Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the Blind Persons’ Rights Acts well as regulations related to these acts. People with disabilities will have the opportunity to access Society services so that they may benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as any other person. 

Communication 

All Board members, staff, care providers, volunteers and students are trained as to how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities. The Society must also ensure that third parties (e.g. contractors, security guard) have received training in this area to the extent that this may pertain to their function.

Telephone Services 

The Society is committed to providing a fully accessible telephone service to our clients, caregivers and children/youth. Any client with a hearing or speech disability is invited to contact the Society via the "Bell Relay Service" at 1-800-855-1155 or 711, or the "Rogers Message Relay Service (MRS)" at 1-800-668-9286. 
 

Assistive Devices

The Society is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices in order for them to benefit from its services. An assistive device is any device designed, made, or adapted to assist a person to perform a particular task (e.g. canes, walkers, wheel chairs, etc.).  Every effort has been made, and will continue to be made, to ensure that all premises operated by the Society are designed to support individuals who require assistive devices (e.g. wheel chair ramps, elevators, etc.).  All staff are expected to be familiar with various types of assistive devices that may be used by service recipients, care providers and children/youth with disabilities while accessing the Society’s services and to offer support as may be required.  Additionally, staff will notify the Supervisor of Administration and Facilities when circumstances that impact accessibility arise in the course of performing their duties to enable the Society to improve accessibility. 

Service Animals

The Society supports the use of service animals in assisting visitors, service recipients, children/youth, care providers and volunteers with physical, mental and/or sensory disabilities at all locations which are open to the public. It is our legal obligation to ensure that individuals who require the support of a service animal have the same access to our facilities, premises, and services as others have (Human Rights Code, AODA, and Blind Persons’ Rights Act).  Visitors, service recipients, children/youth, care providers, and volunteers attending Society operated premises with a service animal will be provided entry with an assumption that there is ‘legitimate’ need for the animal’s support until otherwise established.

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Definition of a Service Animal   

A service animal is an animal that supports an individual to perform a task or to self-regulate. Service animals that assist individuals with a task have typically received specific training (e.g. seeing eye dog).  An evolving type of service animal - an emotional support animal - provides comfort and security; however, they do not typically have specific training. An emotional support animal does not qualify as a service animal under the AODA. Given it is reasonable to expect that our service recipients may have reliance on emotional support animals, the Society will make every reasonable effort to accommodate emotional support animals provided:

·       the criteria for clearance as established below are satisfied; and,
·        it is reasonable to believe that the animal does not represent a significant risk of harm to others.

ØExcluded Animals

An
imals that are restricted through federal, provincial or municipal law are not permitted to be used as a service animal.  In the jurisdiction of London and Middlesex the following restrictions are in force: 

·       
The Ontario Dog Owners’ Liability Act (2005) places restrictions on specific canines (Staffordshire bull terrier, American Stafford terrier, the American pit bull terrier, and any dog that sufficiently resembles these breeds that it could be mistaken as a pit bull). A ban can also be imposed on canines that pose a threat to people (e.g. any dog that has bitten a person in the province could potentially be declared dangerous);

·        City of London, By-law PH-3-17015 (first passed on April 18, 1995 and last reviewed October 17, 2017) stipulates that the keeping of Class 1 (cows, donkeys, goats, horses, mules, pigs (swine) of all species including hybrids, ponies and sheep) and Class 2 (chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks and any domestic fowl) animals is prohibited within the municipal boundaries of the City of London.  Venomous snakes, lizards and spiders as well as Class 7 animals (any animal of a type that is normally found in a wild and natural state, whether or not it has been bred and/or raised in captivity (e.g. monkey, racoon, weasel, etc.)) are also prohibited within the municipal boundaries of the City of London. Additionally, length restrictions are imposed on reptiles (all snakes must be under 24 inches/60.96 cm. and all lizards under 12 inches/30.48 cm.) within the municipal boundaries of the City of London.

ØCriteria for Clearance of Service Animals on Premises

Whenever feasible, proactive planning in advance of scheduled appointments or visits within the office setting and communication with support services (e.g. reception, security, family visiting) is required to support excellence in service delivery.  At first opportunity, the staff assigned to provide services (e.g. protection services, resources, kinship, volunteer, human resources, etc.) will engage with the service recipient, care provider or volunteer requiring the service animal with a view to verify their need for the service animal. The following criteria will be applied:

·        the animal is easily identifiable as relating to a specific disability (e.g. vested seeing eye dog);
·        the owner is able to provide documentation from a regulated health professional (e.g. audiologist, speech language pathologist, chiropractor, nurse, occupational therapist, optometrist, physician, physiotherapist, psychologist or mental health professional); or
·        the owner is able to provide an identification card from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General for people who are blind and use guide dogs.


Given the nature of the Societies’ services in which children and adults on premises may have incidental contact with a service animal permitted on site, the involved worker will also request proof of vaccination history (Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 567 stipulates that dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be vaccinated for rabies by 3 months of age and revaccinated by the date specified in the certificate of immunization). 


Upon satisfaction that the above criteria are met, the individual’s service animal will be cleared to be on premises provided:

·       
the service animal is contained under the control of the owner and is kept in close proximity to the owner at all times (e.g. dogs are always leashed and accompany the owner); and
·        the service animal is obedient and responsive to commands.  

Once a service animal is approved to be on premises, request for removal of a service animal may only be considered when:

·       
the service animal is disruptive and the person with the service animal is not effectively controlling it; and/or,
·        the service animal’s presence, behavior or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property or the health or safety of others. 

Risk may not be remote or speculative, such as thinking an animal might bite someone or will annoy others. 

NOTE: Any and all incidence involving an animal bite (regardless of species type) must be reported to the Health Unit for investigation.  Proof of vaccination history for a dog, cat or ferret will be required by the Health Unit from the service animal owner within 10-days of such incident. 

ØCompeting Needs/Rights

Allergies and animal related fears of individuals who may be impacted by the service animal’s presence will need to be negotiated.  The Society will make accommodations, as may be required, to address and mitigate such competing needs/rights including but not limited to differential use of space.  Allergies or a fear of animals are generally not sufficient conditions to exclude a service animal; however, in rare cases, a person’s allergy or phobia may be so severe that the presence of an animal prevents them from performing their work-related duties or participating in their own service. In these situations, the affected person may request an accommodation, such as keeping the animal and the affected person separate as much as possible. Accommodations may be arranged with the Director of Human Resources or through the inclusion of a Supervisor or Service Director in solution focused dialogue.

When on duty, service animals are working animals.  The animal’s personal space should be respected.  To support this, staff should redirect individuals who may attempt to engage/pet the service animal. It is anticipated that the individual with the service animal will do the same.  

Use of a Support Person

The Society welcomes to its various office locations, support people who accompany those with a disability. Due to the sensitive nature of the Society’s work, a support person is expected to sign a ‘Confidentiality Agreement- Support Person’ form. The staff person assigned to the family and/or child/youth will review this document with the support person and obtain their signature at the initial meeting. 

Disruption in Service 

Written notice of the disruption in services will be provided to people with disabilities by placing signs at all public entrances and service counters. This notice will include the reason for and the expected duration of the disruption, along with any available alternatives.

Feedback Process 

The Society encourages feedback about its accessibility, including customer service, website, employment practices, operations, etc.  Feedback regarding the way in which the Society provides services to people with disabilities can be made, in person to the Supervisor with oversight of complaints, by mail, by email (info@caslondon.on.ca) or by telephone (519-455-9000). Anyone providing their written feedback can expect a response from the Society within seven business days. 

Click here to access our Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

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