Webinar Questions and Answers
The following is a list of the questions posed in the Q+A box at the Accessibility in 2023: Trends and Legislation You Need to Know webinar on January 26th, 2023
Question 1- Encouraging Disclosure
I am interested to hear about the different approaches to gather information from people from within the organization who may not identify with a disability or are reluctant to publicly identify their disability. Legislation requires a duty to accommodate but quite often staff will not seek accommodations as they do not identify. We are interested in different methods to seek input and identify barriers for employees
Presidents Group’s Make it Count: Measuring for Disability Inclusion in Your Workplace is a practical guide for employers looking to measure the rate of disability inclusion in their workplaces. It also includes advice on how to ask employees about their identity, including internal communications strategies and how to encourage disclosure. Sign up for their newsletter too, as they have a new free online course on this topic coming up in a few months.
Question 2- Procuring Accessible Tech
The Accessible Canada Act includes procurement as a priority area. How can public and private purchasers comply with the Accessible Canada Act in procurement? What comes to my mind is website standards, but I’m not sure what else is needed. Is there a timeline for this in the federal Act?
Sheri Byrne-Haber answered in the chat to say that “one place to look at is how it’s already been done in the US. You can see some ideas on the section 508 website.
Question 3- Remuneration for Committee Members
Is it best practice to pay committee members? What is an appropriate honoraria?
The Act doesn’t require you to pay committee members, but it’s a good idea to offer some compensation to community members who may have compounding lived experience of disability and poverty. You could budget to offer some compensation to all committee members, or those who are not representing an organization that is paying them for their time.
Question 4- Funding for Prescribed Organizations
Is any funding available to staff/maintain the accessibility committee work for non-profits?
Organizations with under 50 employees may qualify for the Workplace Accessibility Grant. Otherwise, there is no direct funding source to cover the cost of your accessibility work to come into compliance.
Question 5- List of Prescribed Organizations
Can you please include a list of the prescribed sectors/organizations in your summary?
This info is in the slide deck and here is the link to the regulation itself which includes a list.
Question 6- Feedback Mechanism Examples
What are people doing for feedback mechanism? Our current “complaint” process is email (town population is 3500) – are there exciting ideas out there?
Question 6- Encouraging Disclosure from Clients
We already ask for client demographic information and satisfaction issues, but often times folks don’t feel comfortable providing information – even if it would mean making our services better/more accessible. Any ideas how we can better encourage responses or acceptance of portals for providing that feedback?
The Presidents Group Pledge to Measure guide is one resource that highlights how important it is to explain why you are asking.
Also consider if you can ask more than once, as disclosure is a risk for any client or employee and you may need to build trust before they will feel comfortable asking, so ask again further into the relationship.
Question 7- Capacity for Small Organizations
From a community of less than 1000 residents with a very limited tax base: Can we expect to see some funding from the province to support development of Accessibility Plans (consultant fees for example) and for honorariums for committee participants?
The BC Government set up a fund administered via Disability Alliance BC. You can reach out to them to ask about what is currently available and what might come in the future:
Question 8- Accommodations
Is there a source available that lists the disabilities and the extent of the disability to qualify for an accommodation? For example, if an employee develops back issues or health issues, how does the organization ensure that they are providing adequate accommodation?
Please note that this is our interpretation, and is not legal advice – we suggest you contact a lawyer if you want legal advice.
But generally, employers have a duty to accommodate. Employees have a duty to inform of their need for accommodation too. What determines whether an employer needs to provide an accommodation is not a matter of the extent of disability or injury, as much as it is about the capacity of the employer to accommodate. You can read about the duty to accommodate and duty to inform in this blog post from Go2HR.ca.
Question 9- Leased Properties and Barrier to Accessibility
Are you able to talk about some ideas for sites where you rent / you lease the worksite and you have limitations around shared washrooms, challenging elevators? There are some old buildings in Vancouver and we are challenged to encourage the landlord to make these changes. Any tips or ideas to support us in this?
When developing your accessibility plan, you will need to be practical about where you have the authority to make changes to your facilities. One of the standards areas that will come eventually is an accessibility standard for the built environment. If your landlord won’t act now, they will soon have to.
Question 10- Encouraging Disclosure
Within the creation of a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, are there best practices/recommendations for implementing an evaluation matrix so we are able to measure our actions/progress over time and report back to the residents we serve?
We suggest you review the City of Vancouver’s Accessibility Strategy, which includes quite a bit of detail about how they plan to remain accountable to their community.
Question 11- Federal and Provincial Harmonization
The AODA has been in place in Ontario since 2005 and now BC is catching up. How do you see provincial governments harmonizing, if at all, as Canadian provinces introduce legislation? Canadian provinces usually operate as silos and I’m curious how that will work with the Accessible Canada 2040 goal.
Accessibility Standards Canada was established by the federal government to help with this. BC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to partner and ensure that provincial standards are harmonized with the Accessible Canada Act’s own standards.