Executive summary

Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), ministries are required to produce, and make available to the public, annual plans that identify how ministries will identify and remove barriers to accessibility.

Like all ministries, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) complies with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (ASCS) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). These regulations establish phased-in requirements in the following accessibility standards:

  • customer service
  • information and communications
  • employment
  • transportation
  • design of public spaces

In 2012, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) released its first multi-year accessibility plan entitled Accessibility in the Ontario Public Service: Leading the Way Forward.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ 2015 AODA Plan, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the AODA and demonstrates how the measures taken in 2015 and proposed for 2016 support the key outcomes and deliverables of the OPS MYAP as we continue on our path to an accessible Ontario in 2025.

Section one: report on measures taken by the ministry in 2015

Customer service

OPS MYAP key outcome

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures taken by MCSCS in 2015

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) released the OPP Mental Health Strategy: Our People, Our Communities, a blueprint to better respond to the mental health needs of OPP staff and the people they serve. The strategy recognizes the need to support OPP members with the necessary resources and education so they can: enjoy the best possible physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being; achieve work/life balance; and serve to their full capacity. It also recognizes the importance of supporting these same members with the resources and education necessary to enhance police interactions with people with mental health issues. The Essex County Mental Health Response Unit (MHRU) won an Ovation Award for its progressive approach to developing positive strategies to promote the health and well-being of mentally ill people.

The Ontario Provincial Police rolled out Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1), a new service that enables individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired to communicate with 9-1-1 operators via text message (SMS) during an emergency.

The ministry’s TTY lines were audited internally, as part of the yearly common service standards audit, to ensure high-quality customer service for people with disabilities using TTY.

Ministry staff continued to deliver accessible services in a timely manner and were required to embed the accessible customer service commitments in their performance plans, such as:

  • Proactively offering accommodation and the availability of accessible formats and communications supports in all emails and meeting invitations. This practice has been in place since 2014. The bi-lingual offer reads:
    • for email signatures: “If you have any accommodation needs or require communication supports or alternate formats, please let me know. (French if applicable: Si vous avez des besoins en matière d’adaptation, ou si vous nécessitez des aides à la communication ou des médias substituts, veuillez me le faire savoir.) The bilingual message is recommended for bilingual staff
    • for meeting invites: If you have any accommodation needs in order to participate fully in any aspect of this meeting, please let me know. (French if applicable: Si vous avez des besoins en matière d’adaptation pour participer pleinement à tout aspect de cette réunion, veuillez me le faire savoir.) The bilingual message is recommended for bilingual staff.”
  • Ensure notice disruption policies are in place when services are unavailable.
  • Apply the OPS Inclusion Lens to build accessibility into new internal policies, procedures and practices
  • According to job duties, take OPS Inclusion Lens training by December 31, 2015
  • According to job duties, purchase goods and services that meet or exceed accessibility requirements and utilize the accessible procurement resources provided by the OPS

Ministry staff continued to review and analyze accessibility feedback to facilitate continuous improvement in our programs and services.

As part of the multi-year Human Rights Plan, staff reviewed policies, processes, programs and training‎ and made improvements to complaints processes in 2015. Staff developed a comprehensive Inclusive Events Checklist that and piloted it at the Employee Networks Executive Committee Conference in November.

Information and communications

MYAP key outcome

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures taken by MCSCS in 2015

The vast majority of MCSCS websites are fully accessible and compliant with the AODA requirement to meet the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Level AA. The main MCSCS website platform and content were AODA-compliant on January 1, 2016. A new OPP AODA-compliant website was launched on February 17, 2016. Work is underway to meet compliance requirements for another website. The ministry has worked very hard towards this priority, however, through the process takes considerable time and effort.

Webmasters continued to receive training on accessible websites in 2015.

All ministry staff were informed of the importance of creating accessible documents and were provided with training resources. An MCSCS newsletter published on the intranet for National Access Awareness Week emphasized the importance of accessible documents, featured an Accessibility Matters Poster and provided tools for creating documents accessible at the source.

The ministry’s website notifies the public about the availability of accessible formats and communications supports. Since 2014, ministry staff have been proactively offering accessible formats and communications supports in their email and meeting invite signatures (described under the Customer Service measures).

The availability of TTY lines was made public on the ministry websites and the government telephone directory, Info-Go.

Ministry delegates attended Expo/Job Opportunities Information Network (JOIN) conference in 2015.

Employment

MYAP key outcome

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures taken by MCSCS in 2015

MCSCS promoted awareness of employment accommodation directives, policies and plans with managers. In May, the HR Strategic Business Unit, in partnership with HR Advisory Services and the Centre for Employee Relations, organized a labour relations clinic focused on disability and accommodation in the OPS to help improve employment and return-to-work outcomes. The clinic and additional resources for managers were featured in an MCSCS newsletter published on the intranet for National Access Awareness Week.

The ministry continued to assure the availability of accessible formats and communications supports for employees. Ministry staff were asked to proactively offer accessible formats and communications supports in their email and meeting invite signatures.

Ministry staff continued to participate in the Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program.

Developed a detailed accessibility survey for employees, which will be rolled out in 2016.

Managers and staff continued to be required have accessibility commitments in their performance plans.

Correctional Services continued work on the Human Rights Plan (HRP). The HRP is a seven-year, phased human rights action plan with five key commitment areas that will help make Correctional Services workplaces, programs and services more inclusive and respectful. Three team members were recognized in 2015 as part of a group award for their role and contributions in providing human rights and HRP-related input and expertise on the Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Program Evaluation Team.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures taken by MCSCS in 2015

The ministry increased manager awareness of barrier-free obligations through a memo from the chief administrative officer, sent on January 15, 2015.

Ministry staff, according to job duties, completed “Accessible Built Environment in the OPS” training by June 30, 2015. The training is part of on-boarding of new employees

Staff working in facilities and capital planning were provided with the updated version of Infrastructure Ontario’s Guidelines for Barrier-free Design of Ontario Government Facilities (2014), which reflect the new 2015 accessibility requirements.

The ministry also opened a new a state-of-the art OPP detachment in the City of Kawartha Lakes to replace the previous aging facility. The new building meets the new accessibility requirements in the building code to meet operational needs and public access needs, such as accessible doors and washroom in the front lobby.

MCSCS started construction on a 112-bed regional intermittent centre on the grounds of the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre to address capacity issues, reduce contraband and improve safety for correctional staff and inmates at the facility. Accessibility features of the new intermittent centre include:

  • addition of lift to the second floor mezzanine administrative space for staff
  • accessible doors way width for inmate entrance
  • two accessible segregation cells (out of 10)
  • two accessible beds for main dorm (oversized bed)

Work was completed at the Quinte Detention Centre on four accessible cells. Cells are wheelchair accessible, have bunks and toilets that can facilitate wheelchair movements and have accessible toilets and sinks. An accessible shower area is also available.

General outcomes

MYAP key outcome

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures taken by MCSCS in 2015

MCSCS undertook a number of initiatives to address occupational stress injuries (OSIs), such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), faced by first responders such as police, fire and correctional workers. Examples include:

  • in March, Minister Yasir Naqvi hosted a Mental Health Roundtable of police, fire, correctional workers and community organizations to discuss the unique mental health challenges faced by first responders.
  • MCSCS co-led a post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) working group with WSIB and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ontario Provincial Police Association to develop collaborative and comprehensive occupational strategies to respond to police personnel of Ontario who have incurred or are at risk for operational stress injuries, which includes PTSD. Representatives from the Ministry of Labour and CAMH as well as representatives from police services across Ontario, police services boards, and police associations also regularly contribute to the working group.
  • the Ontario Police College (OPC) piloted a new course that addresses the serious issue of mental wellness within the police/first responder community. The course is designed to reduce stigma of help-seeking behaviour by creating a common language and promoting an understanding of mental health issues.
  • OPC integrated resilience training into the Basic Constable Training program to ensure that recruits are being trained to recognize early symptoms of OSIs. Under this new program, a Resiliency and Wellness Instructor leads coordination with police services in Ontario on issues related to OSI and suicide prevention as well as continually research best practices for education, training, support and services to assess applicability to police training and awareness.
  • as part of the OPP Mental Health Strategy: Our People, Our Communities, the OPP has taken steps to support and educate all employees (civilian, Auxiliary, and uniform personnel whether active or not) regarding OSIs.

Correctional Services implemented a number of initiatives to better support inmates with mental illness:

  • the ministry introduced an early mental health screening tool for use in correctional facilities.
  • professional services are available at all of our 26 facilities across Ontario and as of December 2015, 17 of those facilities also staff a mental health nurse on site to assist patients and ensure they get the supports they need.
  • MCSCS launched a Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS) at the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) in January - one of its kind in Canada – to assess inmates’ fitness to stand trial. This important service was developed through a partnership between MCSCS and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and receives annual funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. The FEIS provides early intervention forensic mental health services to remanded inmates at TSDC who may be at risk of being unfit to stand trial, or who may have a defence of Not Criminally Responsible. It is expected to lead to quicker and better access to voluntary forensic mental health services, greater efficiency in patient assessment, fewer delays in the court system, and improved chances of rehabilitation and reduced recidivism.

The Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC) completed an inclusion review and implemented a number of changes to enhance accessibility in its service delivery, such as: an accessible website redesign; offering grieving families the option to submit their complaints in writing or over the phone; accessible correspondence to families and bias awareness training for all council members.

The ministry continued to raise employees’ awareness around accessibility issues through ongoing communications. Examples include:

  • World Mental Health Day intranet post
  • National Access Awareness Week special edition/newsletter
  • Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder event video
  • National Down Syndrome Awareness Week intranet post
  • International Day for People with Disabilities intranet post
  • Who benefits when we make Ontario accessible? video

Numerous OPP and Correctional Services staff promoted and participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Funds raised through the Torch Run go to Special Olympics Ontario, which uses the money to support community programs with expenses related to equipment and training, participation in local, regional, provincial national and international games, new sports programs and staff support. The goal of Special Olympics is to provide sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. It helps develop physical fitness, demonstrates courage, develops skills and friendships, as well as promotes acceptance, inclusion and human dignity.

Section two: report on measures proposed by the ministry for 2016

Customer service

MYAP key outcome

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures proposed by MCSCS for 2016

  1. Continue to proactively offer accommodation and to communicate the availability of accessible formats and communications supports to the public.
  2. Ensure notice disruption notices are in place when services are unavailable.
  3. Review and analyze accessibility feedback received from our staff and clients to facilitate continuous improvement in our programs and services.
  4. Apply the OPS Inclusion Lens to build accessibility into new policies and practices.
  5. Continue to remind employees of the requirement to purchase goods and services that meet or exceed accessibility requirements and utilize the accessible procurement resources provided by the OPS.
  6. Audit the ministry TTY lines to ensure compliance with the common service standards and a high level of service for people with disabilities using TTY

Information and communications

MYAP key outcome

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures proposed by MCSCS for 2016

  1. Continue to ensure all websites are accessible.
  2. Continue to train staff on web-ready documents.
  3. Continue to communicate the availability of accessible formats and communications supports to the public.
  4. Continue to promote the availability of e-TTY lines.
  5. Continue to send ministry delegates to Expo/Job Opportunities Information Network (JOIN) conference.

Employment

MYAP key outcome

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures proposed by MCSCS for 2016

  1. Continue to promote awareness of employment accommodation directives, policies and plans.
  2. Continue the work of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) working group.
  3. Continue to assure the availability of accessible formats and communications supports for employees.
  4. Continue to participate in the Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program.
  5. Continue to ensure that managers and staff have accessibility performance commitments.
  6. Roll out accessibility survey for MCSCS employees.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures proposed by MCSCS for 2016

  1. Continue to ensure that the design of facilities meet Infrastructure Ontario’s 2006 Barrier Free Design Standards.

General outcomes

MYAP key outcome

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures proposed by MCSCS for 2016

  1. Continue ongoing training for staff to enable them to identify and remove barriers to accessibility.

Section three: addressing the identification of barriers in legislation

Introduction

The ODA establishes that a ministry’s accessibility plan shall include the measures in place to address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the Acts, regulations, policies, programs and services administered by the ministry.

In 2005, the government introduced the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, with the goal of making Ontario accessible by 2025. In support of this goal, the government subsequently committed to review Ontario legislation to identify and address accessibility barriers, and undertook a coordinated review of 51 statutes considered to have a high impact on persons with disabilities. This review has now been completed.

Our ministry remains committed to the goal of ensuring that Ontario legislation does not create barriers to persons with disabilities. We will continue to report through our accessibility plan, the actions taken to identify and remove barriers in ministry Acts, regulations, policies, programs and services and those to be reviewed in the coming year. The findings of the coordinated review of high impact statutes will inform our ministry’s approach to carry out this work.

Measures currently in place

The following measures are in place to assess our ministry’s proposals for new Acts, regulations, policies and programs and services to determine their effect on persons with disabilities:

  • ongoing promotion of the OPS Inclusion Lens e-learning
  • ongoing bias awareness training (available on request from the MCSCS Inclusion and Accessibility lead)
  • ongoing awareness raising for all ministry staff

Actions taken in the past year

In 2015, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services took the following actions to address barriers in its Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services in response to identified barriers:

  • the Police Record Checks Reform Act, which was passed in 2015, protects public safety and strengthens individual civil liberties by removing unnecessary barriers to employment, education and volunteer opportunities resulting from the inappropriate disclosure of non-conviction and non-criminal records, such as mental health information, in police record checks.

Upcoming plans for review

In the coming year, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will continue to review government initiatives, including Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services for the purposes of identifying and removing barriers.

Updated: October 20, 2021
Published: April 06, 2016