Ontario Creates Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2018-2022
Message from the CEO
I am pleased to present the Ontario Creates second Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, covering the five years from 2018-2022. This Plan describes how Ontario Creates will continue to prevent and remove accessibility barriers both as a provider of programs and services and as an employer.
Over the last five years, Ontario Creates has focused on putting systems in place to ensure that we met the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. From 2018-2022, we hope to build on this foundation – in line with our new five-year Strategic Plan – by striving for service and operational excellence, and empowering our people and teams, as well as by being a leader in supporting Ontario’s creative industries to integrate accessibility into their products and businesses.
We will focus on promoting greater awareness of accessibility solutions and opportunities among our stakeholder groups, improving our staff training and ensuring that as we update our branding and website, accessibility is kept front of mind.
We welcome your feedback on our progress.
President & Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Creates
Ontario Creates is committed to the principles outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and to meeting the needs of people with disabilities, in a timely manner, through the implementation of the requirements of the Act. Section 4 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation required broader public sector organizations like Ontario Creates to establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan by January 1, 2013. Ontario Creates first such plan was in effect from January 2013 through December 31, 2017.
Ontario Creates new Multi-year Accessibility Plan is a “living document” that outlines our goals and milestones for the five years from 2018 to 2022. It will be reviewed on a regular basis and amended as required. Annual status updates on the Plan will be posted on our website. In 2023 we will publish a new Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.
As part of Ontario Creates 2017 Client Satisfaction Survey, we solicited feedback about how we are doing with respect to accessibility of our programs and services. We used this input to inform our new Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. Ontario Creates will also benefit from the strategies being undertaken as part of the Ontario Public Service’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2017-2021 as well as its Inclusion & Diversity Blueprint and we have referenced aspects of those plans in ours where relevant.
Past Achievements to Remove and Prevent Barriers
Ontario Creates has been in compliance with the Accessible Customer Service Regulation since 2010 and with the Integrated Accessibility Regulation as the various requirements relating to the Accessible Information and Communications Standard, the Accessible Employment Standard, and the Accessible Built Environment Standard came into effect in phases from 2012 through 2015. As of July 2016, all accessibility standards are now part of a single Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation.
Ontario Creates maintains internal and external accessibility policies which have helped us to ensure that in our day to day activities we are meeting the requirements of the regulation, in keeping with the principles of dignity, independence, equality and integration. Some highlights of our achievements in last five years were: holding all of our events in accessible venues, conducting an accessibility survey with our stakeholders in 2015, and bringing in a speaker for a staff session on mental health awareness in 2015.
We are also proud that, through our role as a funder, we have contributed to the creation of resources and toolkits that will help Ontario’s creative companies improve their knowledge and practices to become respectful employers and to create accessible content. Some of these include:
- Support for development of the following reports:
- ACTRA Toronto Diversity Census for Ontario (ACTRA Toronto)
- A Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit for the Interactive Digital Media Industry (Interactive Ontario)
- #ScreenAccessON: The Employment of People with Disabilities in Ontario's Screen-based Industries (Lights, Camera, Access!)
- Funding an ACTRA diversity catalogue and ‘go-see’ program which introduced local and international casting directors to Ontario’s diverse on-screen talent pool, including persons with disabilities
- Panel session on Inclusive Design in Ontario Creates-funded industry events such as iVentures (Interactive Ontario)
- Digital Dialogue Breakfast Series Panel session, available on Ontario Creates YouTube channel and as an Ontario Creates Talks podcast episode: Accessibility: What You Need to Know
- Knowledge sharing of third party resources through Ontario Creates Online Research Library, such as Reel Access: A Guide to Accessible Film Festivals and Screenings (ReelAbilities Film Festival) and Music Managers’ Guide to Mental Health (Music Managers Forum).
In addition, as of fiscal 2017-18, Ontario Creates Film Fund included a new diversity enhancement component designed to encourage and provide support to films that, in their voice, story, language elements or diversity of key creatives (such as producers, directors, directors of photography, writers, actors or others), meet the provincial definition of diversity (which includes, but is not limited to: ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion [creed], sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic status).
In order to reduce barriers to entry, the diversity enhancement allowed applications for projects with lower budget thresholds than the usual requirement for the Film Fund, and funding commitments for selected production projects under the diversity enhancement could exceed the usual caps. Diversity was also incorporated, alongside traditional economic development criteria, as part of the application assessment process.
Strategies and Actions 2018-2022
From 2018-2022, our priorities will be: continuing to comply with our responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, providing sector leadership around accessibility, increasing awareness among stakeholders of their ability to request accommodation from Ontario Creates, and strengthening training of staff and management by building resources. We will be accountable by using a range of consultation and reporting tools as outlined in the Conclusion.
As we fulfill our mandate to promote, enhance and leverage investment, jobs and original content creation across Ontario’s cultural media cluster, we continue to be committed to the following accessibility goals:
- Our programs and services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
- Persons with disabilities must be given the same opportunities provided to other members of the public to access our programs and services;
- Ontario Creates will create and provide our own information and communications in ways that are accessible for people with disabilities;
- We will strive to be a leader in supporting Ontario’s creative industries to integrate accessibility into their products and businesses; and
- As an employer, Ontario Creates will integrate accessibility into all our regular workplace processes and will provide for accessibility across all stages of the employment life cycle.
Lead. Connect. Grow, Ontario Creates Strategic Plan for 2017-18 to 2021-22 speaks to ensuring “a respectful customer experience for everyone who interacts with Ontario Creates,” and ensuring that “our culture reflects the diversity of Ontario,” fostering “an inclusive work environment” and “support[ing] our staff to be expert leaders through ongoing learning and development.” We will ensure that throughout our organization there is an understanding of the role of accessibility in reaching these goals
The Accessible Customer Service Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires Ontario Creates to have policies and procedures in place to support providing people with disabilities with accessible services.
Ontario Creates 2017 Client Satisfaction Survey included questions related to the accessibility of Ontario Creates services. Many survey respondents had not made use of Ontario Creates accessibility options and therefore could not speak to them. Those who commented mentioned accessibility in the context of mental health needs, and noted that Ontario Creates could make stakeholders more aware of available accessibility options.
Ontario Creates will benefit from the strategies being undertaken as part of the Ontario Public Service’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2017-2021. OPS commitments include a new leadership table to share best practices in improving accessible service delivery, and plans to strengthen training opportunities including in-class, events-based, and e-learning options.
In line with our goal of supporting Ontario’s creative industries to integrate accessibility into their products and businesses, we will aim to grow awareness by modelling inclusion and by supporting the creation of relevant resources.
- As we design our programs and services, we will consider accessibility, strive to remove barriers and accommodate needs of potential applicants to ensure equitable access. Ontario Creates will use the OPS Inclusion Lens and forthcoming Accessibility Lens tools as appropriate to inform policy and program development and business practices.
- When planning presentations and panels, we will make a conscious effort to represent the diversity of experts in our stakeholder population, including people with disabilities.
- We will ensure that stakeholders are aware that they can ask for alternative formats of materials, and can speak with us about accommodations they require in the application process and when attending events. We will include an accessibility offer on a greater range of materials, and not confine discussion of accessibility to the Accessibility portion of our website.
- We will use tools such as social media, our corporate website and day-to-day speaking opportunities to better highlight available options and Ontario Creates commitment to accessibility.
- Ontario Creates will take full advantage of the OPS training resources, including mental health resources, and make a greater effort to promote them among staff.
- Ontario Creates will ensure that mandatory accessibility training is completed in a timely fashion during onboarding of new staff.
- Ontario Creates will offer additional learning opportunities to improve staff’s awareness, sensitivity, and knowledge with respect to customer service.
- We will develop an internal resource guide or identify an existing resource that will help us respond effectively to requests for alternate formats or accommodations (e.g. lists of visual language interpretation providers, screen reader software for testing, automated transcription tools, etc.).
Information and Communications
The Information and Communications Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires us to communicate and provide information in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Ontario Creates is undertaking a branding exercise and a website refresh. We plan to ensure that an accessibility lens is part of planning for these key branding and website redevelopment initiatives.
Branding and Website Refresh:
- As we develop our new brand and website, and by January 1, 2021 at the latest, we will ensure that our choices are in keeping with WCAG 2.0 Level AA recommendations. Ontario Creates AODA Lead will participate on the website refresh planning team with the express goal of ensuring an accessibility lens is included.
- We will also ensure that accessibility is a lens in any planning and redevelopment of communications products and service delivery platforms (e.g. Online Application Portal, Digital Locations Library, Online Research Library).
- We will explore ways to ensure accessible versions (e.g. transcripts, captions) of time-based media such as videos and podcasts are made available.
- We will continue to ensure that key reports such as Year in Review, Annual Report, our Business Plan and similar Ontario Creates publications are published in a fully accessible format.
- As responsibility for web content creation is distributed across the agency, we will ensure that all staff understand the principles of creating accessible documents, particularly as it relates to PDF documents posted to the website.
- We will avail ourselves of OPS resources such as I&IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence workshops and promote these within Ontario Creates to build awareness of best practices for creating accessible documents.
- We will develop an internal style guide for accessible communications and documents such as Program Guidelines.
- We will use automated and manual tools such as screen reader software, accessibility checkers, and staff time, to monitor our progress on the website on a semi-annual basis, and in the requirements gathering phase of planning our website refresh.
The Employment Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation describes Ontario Creates responsibilities regarding accessibility requirements to follow in order to support inclusive recruitment and accommodation of employees with disabilities.
- Ontario Creates will continue to follow OPS procedures with regard to hiring, recruitment (including alternate interview formats) and performance management. This will include any updates emerging from the planned Review of the OPS Policy on Preventing Barriers in Employment. Employees may identify their accommodation needs to their managers at any time and via the Performance Development and Learning Plan (PDLP) process.
- Ontario Creates will use relevant data from the refreshed OPS employee survey (which includes questions on disability and accommodation) to improve processes.
- Ontario Creates will actively promote our employment opportunities to diverse communities and people with disabilities.
- Managers will use the Performance Development and Learning Plan (PDLP) development process as a check-in point to confirm that new employees have received mandatory AODA training during their onboarding.
- We will place particular emphasis on the mental health lens over the next five years. We will begin with available OPS training resources but will also consider bringing in special presenters to increase staff and management awareness and knowledge on the topic of mental health.
- Managers will benefit from OPS plans to embed diversity and inclusion content, including disability awareness training, in leadership development programs.
Under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, Ontario Creates must incorporate accessibility features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where not practicable to do so.
- Ontario Creates will continue to follow OPS procedures with regard to procurement and include relevant language regarding accessibility in requests for proposals and vendor contracts.
- Ontario Creates will explore adopting any best practices emerging from OPS initiatives to increase government purchasing from social enterprises and encouraging contracting with vendors who employ underrepresented groups (e.g. OPS Procurement Directive Review; Social Enterprise Procurement Demonstration Projects).
Design of Public Spaces
The Design of Public Spaces Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires Ontario Creates to ensure that newly-constructed or significantly renovated public spaces such as waiting areas and service counters are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Ontario Creates will move ahead with its plan to create an accessible height reception counter and low rise shelving for printed materials. Ontario Creates will consider accessibility in design features (e.g. signage, colour, materials selection, etc.).
- We will ensure that accessibility is considered in leases, lease renewals and relevant renovation projects.
- We will continue to host our events in accessible venues and continue to provide an accessibility offer within our event invitations.
As we continue our efforts to prevent, identify and remove barriers to accessibility, we will ensure that we are accountable by doing the following:
1. Annual Status Update on the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP): At the end of each calendar year, Ontario Creates will prepare an update on how we have met the commitments set out in our MYAP. Our Annual Status Update will be available on our website, and will be provided in alternate formats on request.
2. Feedback & Public Consultation: We will monitor feedback we receive throughout the year related to accessibility and integrate this information into our Annual Status Update. We will also proactively consult with our stakeholders and members of the public who use our services around accessibility. If, through public consultation, feedback and our own accessibility planning processes, we feel that the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan needs revision, we will update it, complying with the requirements of Ontario’s Accessibility regulations. Any revisions to the MYAP will be available on our website and in alternate formats upon request.
3. Compliance Reports: Biannual accessibility compliance reports will be submitted to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in 2019 and 2021.
For More Information and to Provide Feedback
This Plan is available in alternate formats upon request.
We welcome your input to ensure that this Plan includes ways to reduce or eliminate barriers you are experiencing. Please let us know how this plan meets your needs and where we have fallen short.
Feedback may be provided in writing, by emailing us or calling us. Please direct questions and feedback about this policy, or requests for alternate formats of this policy to:
Director, Business Affairs and Research
175 Bloor Street East
South Tower, Suite 501
Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Phone (416) 314-6858
If you would like to be included on the list to receive periodic surveys about the quality of our service with respect to accessibility, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 25, 2017