Municipal Property Assessment Corporation - Multi-Year Accessibility Plan | 2013 - 2017

Introduction

In 2005, the Government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), in order to make Ontario fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations (IASR), under the AODA, require that effective January 1, 2014, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan which outlines the organization's strategy to prevent and remove barriers for people  with disabilities and to meet its requirements under the IASR.

This plan outlines MPAC's multi-year strategy (2013-2017) to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility and details how we will meet the requirements of the IASR. It also incorporates MPAC's intentions to meet its obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. It describes the measures that the organization will take over the next five years, and provides a benchmark for the future.

In addition, this plan:

  • reviews MPAC's recent efforts to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility;
  • makes a commitment to provide an annual status report on MPAC's implementation of the plan;
  • makes a commitment to review and update the plan at least once every five years; and
  • describes how MPAC will make this plan available to the public.

Statement of Commitment

MPAC strives to deliver products and services to its customers and stakeholders in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, MPAC is working to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the AODA.

MPAC makes every effort to ensure its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the following principles:

  • Dignity - People with disabilities are valued and as deserving of MPAC's products and services as any other customer or stakeholder.
  • Independence - The capabilities of people with disabilities will be acknowledged and respected.
  • Integration - The provision of products or services to people with disabilities and others will be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable them to obtain, use or benefit from MPAC's products or services.
  • Equal Opportunity - Where a uniform response is inappropriate, individual needs will be taken into account when providing products and services. This is to ensure there are no barriers to their access or participation, and that individuals are treated in a manner similar to other customers and stakeholders.

Accessibility Committee

Formed in March 2010, MPAC's Accessibility Committee meets regularly to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility, review progress and respond to AODA requirements. The Committee is responsible for implementing universal accessibility standards to support the regulation's requirements, along with future recommendations for consideration.

Legislation

Initiatives, Barrier Identification, Removal and Prevention Process

Customer Service Standards

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, enacted under the AODA, provide standards for delivering products  or services to members of the public with disabilities.

Steps taken:

  • Created, communicated, and published MPAC's Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy externally on www.mpac.ca in 2011.
  • Developed, communicated and published MPAC's Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy, as well as procedures for Disruption in Service, Use of Assistive Devices, Use of Service Animals and Support Persons, and Accessibility Feedback Process internally for employees in 2011. 
  • Ensured all policies and procedures are available in an alternate format upon request.
  • Developed a standardized Service Disruption Notice and Facility Disruption Report/Tracking document.
  • Created an internal tracking document used for all accessibility suggestions, comments, inquires and complaints.
  • Accessibility requests received via phone or email handled centrally.
  • Privacy disclaimer added to the Accessibility Action mailbox to acknowledge the protection of personal information.
  • Created an external Accessibility web page containing accessibility feedback form and contact information for all accessibility inquires.
  • Customer service training (including policies and procedures) provided to all employees on how to recognize, assist, and respect people with a disability. Participants and dates of training are tracked and reported. 100% of training requirements completed by October 31, 2011.
  • All new and returning employees, and summer students, are required to complete AODA Customer Service Standards training during their employment.
  • A compliance report must be filed with the Ministry of Community and Social Services before the end of 2012; MPAC filed its report on December 28, 2012. 

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2012
MPAC completion date: November 30, 2011
Next accessibility compliance report: December 31, 2014

Integrated Accessibility Standards

The Integrated Accessibility Standards Ontario Regulation 191/11 enacted under the AODA, sets out general and specific standards that cover information and communication, employment, transportation (not applicable to MPAC) and built environment.

General Standards

Steps taken:

  • Created, communicated, and published MPAC's policy for people with disabilities – combining the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation – both internally and externally in December 2013. This policy is available in alternate formats upon request.
  • Developed, communicated, and published MPAC's Multi-Year Accessibility Plan on www.mpac.ca. This plan is available in alternate formats upon request.

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2014
MPAC completion date: December 17, 2013

Emergency Procedures, Plans or Public Safety Information

MPAC is committed to providing publicly available emergency information in an accessible format upon request, including evacuation procedures.

Steps taken:

  • Developed, communicated, and published MPAC's Security and Emergency Preparedness Policy internally in 2009.

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2012
MPAC completion date: January 1, 2010

Workplace Emergency Response Information

Information on accommodations required by an employee with a disability in the event of a workplace emergency must be kept and acted upon.

Steps taken:

  • Developed, communicated, and published procedures for Individual Workplace Emergency Response Information for Disabled Employees internally to employees in 2011.
  • Developed a Workplace Emergency Tracking document and communicated the process for tracking workplace emergency response information in 2011 to employees.

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2012
MPAC completion date:January 1, 2012

Procuring or Acquiring Goods, Services or Facilities

Although this section does not apply to MPAC, the organization will consider accessibility criteria and features when acquiring services. An example of this is when acquiring training materials from a third party vendor, MPAC requests that the design and content complies with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act for the presentation of electronic media, including accessible design and development techniques.

Steps taken:

Training and Development

  • When acquiring training materials from a third party vendor, MPAC requests that the design and content comply with AODA standardsfor the presentation of electronic media, including accessible design and development techniques.

Procurement

  • Language within the Procurement Policy states Managers are to "consider any accessibility requirements, if applicable."
  • Where applicable, procurement documents will specify the desired accessibility standards to be met and provide guidelines for the evaluation of proposals with respect to those standards.

Planned action:

Information Technology

  • MPAC will consider AODA guidelines when procuring products  and services from external sources/vendors.
  • MPAC will provide its Standards for Developing Web Content/Digital Productsfor use by Information Technology (IT) staff.

Facilities

  • The Ontario Building Code requires all renovation and new build projects to be accessible. Ultimately, the AODA requires buildings to be accessible by 2025. When building improvements are made, current accessibility requirements are met and when relocations are planned, the buildings must be accessible.

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2013
MPAC completion date: January 1, 2013

Design, Procure or Acquire Self-Service Kiosks

This section is not applicable, as MPAC does not offer services and/or products through self-service kiosks at this time. If required in the future, we will consider any accessibility features we could build into self-service kiosks to best meet the needs of our customers

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2014
MPAC completion date: Not applicable

Training

This section involves developing and delivering training that meets the requirements of the regulations to all employees and volunteers, and anyone providing products s, services or facilities on behalf of MPAC.

Planned action:

  • Training sessions for current staff on standards.
  • Incorporate MPAC's Standards for Developing Web Content/Digital Products into onboard training for new IT staff.
  • Records will be kept on who and when employees are trained.
  • MPAC will continue to ensure new employees and employees on extended leave are monitored and trained on the AODA standards. 

Required legislative compliance: January 1, 2015
MPAC completion date: On-going - January 1, 2015

Information and Communication

MPAC will ensure information and communications about our products services and facilities are available and accessible to both employees and customers with disabilities through an accessible format or support service. Accessible formats and communication support will be provided at no additional charge, other than what would be charged to anyone for the same information.

Feedback Process

MPAC has an established process in place to solicit and respond to feedback from employees, customers and stakeholders. The AODA regulations state that organizations that have processes for receiving and responding to feedback shall ensure that these processes are accessible to people with disabilities, by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, upon request.

Online and print communications direct customers and stakeholders to contact MPAC if they have accessibility needs and require information in an accessible format.

Steps taken:

  • Created an accessibility section at www.mpac.ca that includes an Accessibility Feedback Form, contact information for accessibility inquires, MPAC's policy, and information for customers to send accessibility-related inquiries, suggestions or complaints.
  • Requests for materials (such as Property Assessment Notices) in an alternate format were turned around within one day.
  • Action taken on any complaints and results recorded via internal tracking document.
  • TTY telephone line opened in 2005.
     
Required legislative compliance: Feedback January 1, 2015
  Accessibility Format & Support  January 1, 2016
MPAC completion date: Feedback January 1, 2014
  Accessibility Format & Support  January 1, 2014

Accessible Websites and Web Content

This applies to websites and web content, including web-based applications that MPAC directly controls (or has a contractual relationship with), that allow for modifications. (In cases where meeting accessible websites and web content requirements is considered impractical, a plan will be put in place outlining the reasons for the conflict with the AODA regulations, and any associated action plans.)

  • All new websites and web content (published after January 1, 2012) will be WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant by January 1, 2014.
  • Content published prior to 2012 will be made available in an accessible format upon request.
  • All websites and web content must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA by January 1, 2021.

Steps taken:

  • Standards for Developing Web Content and Digital Products have been created and adopted as part of our regular procedures for procurement of digital products, implementing changes to external and internal websites and applications, as well as part of new staff training.
  • MPAC has implemented accessibility requirement modifications for www.mpac.ca.
  • MPAC has developed a plan to implement changes for www.AboutMyProperty.ca™.

Planned action:

  • Standards have been developed to support the refreshing of websites so they will meet or exceed legislated obligations for accessibility. Websites will continue to be improved to meet WCAG 2.0 requirements.
  • MPAC is adding eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ to all external and internal applications, which allows visitors to download the assistive technology they require free of charge.
  • Itemize all MPAC systems/websites that need to be reviewed, identifying:
    • compliance priority;
    • future changes to existing systems which will need to be considered; and
    • systems/websites that will be decommissioned and therefore not part of the review.
  • All customer-facing products, such as Property Assessment Notices, contain MPAC's contact information in an accessible font size. They also include a phrase advising customers to contact MPAC should they have any accessibility needs. 
  • Certain products are not available in an accessible font size. As product changes are implemented in the future, accessibility requirements for these products will be taken into account.
Required legislative compliance: WCAG 2.0 Level A January 1, 2014
  WCAG 2.0 Level AA  January 1, 2021
MPAC completion date: WCAG 2.0 Level A January 1, 2014
  WCAG 2.0 Level AA In progress - before January 1, 2021

Employment Standards

MPAC provides accessibility throughout all stages of the employment cycle.

Recruitment, Assessment or Selection

During the selection process, MPAC will inform applicants that fully accessible accommodations, materials and processes are available upon request. If an accommodation is requested, MPAC will consult with the applicant regarding a suitable accommodation.

Planned action:

  • New hires and existing employees with disabilities will be provided with options for accommodation as required. These will include job accommodations that take accessibility needs into account, and will be provided as soon as practical upon employment.
  • To be reviewed in 2015.

Notice to Successful Applicant

Offers of employment must include information on MPAC's policies for accommodating people with disabilities.

Planned action:

  • Implementing the process in 2014, with review planned in 2015 to determine effectiveness of handling requests for accessible accommodations.

Informing Employees of Support

Through consultation with employees to determine the appropriate accessible format or communication support, MPAC will arrange for accessible formats and communication support as needed in order to perform the requirements of their role.

Steps taken:

  • All employees are automatically notified of any policy change.

Planned action:

  • MPAC will inform all employees of accessibility policies, as soon as practical, and include in all offer letters to new employees.
  • All employees will be updated on any policy change affecting accommodation.
  • Any accessibility formats and/or communication supports will be included in an employee's individual accommodation plan.
  • If an employee requests an accessible format or communication support, necessary accommodations will be provided.
  • To be reviewed in 2015.

Performance Management

MPAC's performance management process takes the unique needs of each employee into account.

Planned action:

  • Review an employee's individual accommodation plan to understand his/her accommodation needs, and determine whether adjustments are needed to improve performance.
  • Provide documents related to performance management in accessible formats.
  • Provide informal and formal coaching and feedback in a way that takes an employee's disability into account.
  • To be reviewed in 2015.

Career Development and Advancement

Career development opportunities at MPAC are made available to all employees, and take into account the needs of employees with disabilities. 

Steps taken (internal):

  • Staff training provided by a third party vendor adheres to MPAC's internal learning design standards, which complies with AODA standardsfor the presentation of electronic media, including accessible design and development techniques.

Workplace Health & Safety and Emergency Response Information

If accommodations are requested (and not already included) in an Emergency Response Plan, it can be updated to include requested accommodations. Or, a custom evacuation plan will be developed in cooperation with the individual requesting accommodations.

Steps taken (internal):

  • Developed and communicated MPAC's Security and Emergency Preparedness Policy in 2009.
  • Developed and communicated Individual Workplace Emergency Response Information for Disabled Employees Procedures in 2012.
  • Developed an Individual Workplace Emergency Response information request form.
  • With employee consent, assigned a designated person to employees who require assistance due to disability during an emergency situation and/or evacuation.

The personal information of an employee seeking accessibility services is subject to the privacy protection of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). MPAC may only access and use this personal information to deliver services as permitted by the AODA O.Reg.191/11 and O.Reg.429/07.

Accommodation Plans

Employee accommodations are reviewed when needed, and updated when a change in employment or job specifications takes place (for either the employee with a disability or the designate employee who assists the employee with the disability).

Steps taken (internally):

  • Documented accommodation requirements in the form of Modified Work Agreements, where both the manager and the employee develop and approve the accommodation plan. 
  • Plans reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure they are up to date with accommodation requirements.

Return to Work Protocol

MPAC's Occupational Health and Safety Policy has a documented process for supporting employees for a safe and early return to work. This policy includes accommodation options to facilitate and support the return to work process.

Steps taken (internally):

  • Individualized plans document specific restrictions and accommodation requirements for returning employees, ensuring all required parties are aware of any restrictions or modifications required. 
  • MPAC's Long Term Disability (LTD) Return to Work Protocol ensures employees and managers are aware of the process for returning to work from LTD, including a return to work plan, which may include accommodations and plan review timeframes.
  • A formal letter issued to all staff regarding the LTD return to work process in October 2013.

Planned action:

  • Accommodation plans will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure information is current and up to date.
  • Work is in process and will be reviewed in 2015.

Required legislative compliance:January 1, 2016
MPAC completion date: In progress – to be completed before January 1, 2016

Built Environment

The Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment focus on removing barriers in public spaces and buildings. The design of public spaces became law on January 1, 2013, and is being phased in over time, coming into effect in 2017. The standard for the design of public spaces only applies to new construction and major changes to existing features.

Steps taken:

  • The Manager, Emergency Management advises local management to post notifications regarding maintenance of the accessible parts of MPAC's public spaces.

Planned action:

  • These requirements will be met in all new property leases.
  • Where opportunities exist to make improvements, MPAC is working with building management to remedy.
  • In 2013, service counter and kitchen layouts were redesigned to meet current codes. All new offices will incorporate this design.
  • Enhancements to accessibility in buildings will happen at a later date (2025) through Ontario's Building Code, which governs new construction and renovations in buildings.

Required legislative compliance:January 1, 2017
MPAC completion date: In progress – to be completed before January 1, 2017

Prevention of Future Barriers

To ensure the prevention of future barriers, all accessibility feedback from individuals will be continually monitored, documented, and examined through:

  • questionnaires;
  • consultation with outside agencies;
  • review of training materials; and
  • review of policies and procedures.

Last Updated: November 28, 2014

Note: The applicable law prevails to the extent there is any conflict between this information and the current law. This information is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Information on this page may not be fully accessible. Please contact us at 1 866 296-6722 or TTY 1 877 889-6722 to determine how we can best accommodate you.