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 Energy 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 Energy’s 2015 ODA 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 multi-year accessibility plan (MYAP) as we continue on our path to an accessible Ontario by 2025.

The Ministry of Energy has made valuable progress in removing barriers across the ministry and will continue to ensure accessibility for staff and the public, as well as build an inclusive and barrier-free environment for staff. The ministry will also continue to work with staff to build awareness on accessibility.

This plan highlights the progress and commitment the Ministry of Energy has made to improve accessibility throughout the organization. All levels of management, including managers, directors, Assistant Deputy Ministers and Deputy Minister, are encouraged to embed accessibility performance commitments in their performance plans. Having a strong and informed leadership will strengthen and advance accessibility within the ministry.

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.

Commitments
  • The ministry will review the Emergency Evacuation Procedures and Branch Business Continuity Plans using the OPS Inclusion Lens.
  • The ministry will remind all staff about best practices for creating accessible documents.
  • Staff and customer feedback sought on accessibility innovations and improvements.
  • Inclusion Lens applied to all policies and practices.
  • Accessibility is part of all OPS business.

Measures taken by Ministry of Energy in 2015

  • All emergency evacuation procedures were reviewed using the OPS Inclusion Lens.
  • During Branch Business Continuity Planning training, all leads were asked to review plans to ensure plans accommodated employees with disabilities.
  • Staff received reminders on best practices and tips to raise awareness on creating accessible documents via all-staff communications, and through postings on the ministry intranet site.
  • Training was delivered on creating accessible Word documents, and additional resources and information were posted on the ministry intranet site.
  • The ministry initiated reviews of internal policies, procedures and practices to assure that accessibility was considered by:
    • liaising with business areas to raise awareness of accessibility best practices and requirements under the legislation.
    • delivering six training sessions to staff to raise awareness on accessibility requirements and provide guidance and support.

Information and Communications

MYAP key outcome

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

Commitments
  • Communications, websites, technological solutions and documents will employ accessibility best practices.
  • The ministry will continue to ensure staff have updated information about protocols, hiring processes, budgets and account codes for dealing with alternate formats and communication support requests.
  • Create accessible events through intranet updates and all staff communications.
  • Participate in the JOIN conference on an annual basis.
  • Continue to provide emergency procedures, plans or public safety information in an accessible format or with communication supports.
  • Update accessible format standards and templates based on best practices.
  • Prepare and provide information about emergency procedures, plans or public safety and continue to make available to the public upon request in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports, as soon as practicable.
  • Update information on emergency planning for employees with disabilities/special needs on the ministry intranet site.
  • By January 1, 2016 and in collaboration with the Cabinet Office, the ministry Internet website and web content on the website will conform with WCAG 2.0 level AA, excluding success criteria 1.2.4 Captions (live) and success criteria 1.2.5 Audio Descriptions (pre-recorded).

Measures taken by Ministry of Energy in 2015

The ministry was committed to ensuring documents and communications tools employed accessibility best practices, and updated accessible format standards and templates based on best practices.

In 2015 the ministry:

  • Continued to notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports and arranged for the provision of said formats and supports in a timely manner upon request.
  • The ministry Internet site was:
    • reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure the information posted was in an accessible format
  • monitored on a frequent basis to ensure web content met the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0, level AA) standard
    • New content and features were tested against these standards before being made available to the public
  • Offered hands-on training sessions to ministry staff to increase competencies in creating accessible documents and communications.
  • Continued to train staff about protocols such as the hiring process, budgets and account codes to accommodate alternate formats and communication support requests.
  • Increased awareness and education about removing barriers by participating in the Accessibility Innovation Showcase (AIS) and attending the Jobs Opportunities Information Network (JOIN) conference.
  • Information and resources were updated on a quarterly basis with emergency management information or as new materials became available. This information was posted on the ministry intranet site and available for all staff to assist in emergency planning for people with disabilities. The resources include:
    • evacuation procedures for people with disabilities;
    • emergency evacuation plan template;
    • evacuation assistance form; and,
    • emergency preparedness guide for people with disabilities.
    • upon request, all emergency procedures are available in an accessible format.

Employment

MYAP key outcome

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

Commitments
  • Implement best practices on employment accommodation and return to work.
  • Ensure better accommodation for employees with disabilities resulting from management review.
  • Managers and staff have accessibility performance commitments.
  • Deliver in-house fire warden training to raise awareness for persons with disabilities to prepare for their own safety and survival during times of evacuation.
  • Continue to prepare and provide emergency procedures, plans or public safety information in accessible formats or with communication supports as required.

Measures taken by Ministry of Energy in 2015

  • Analyzed Employee Survey results to assess potential barriers to employees with disabilities. Feedback did not indicate that barriers to employees with disabilities was a subject to address in the Employee Engagement Action Plan.
  • At the beginning of the 2015-16 performance cycle, sample commitments were provided to managers and staff about compliance with AODA requirements, including sample inclusion performance commitments developed by the OPS Diversity Office (ODO).
  • Staff and management were encouraged to incorporate diversity and inclusion objectives in their performance plans.
  • Continued to participate in the Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program (DMPP).
  • Worked with managers and ministry staff to implement best practices on employment accommodation and return to work.
  • Ministry managers assessed individual accommodation and return to work needs on a case-by-case basis and worked directly with the Disability Support Services (DSS).
  • Informed managers of the mandatory Disability Accommodation e-course and “Supporting Employees: Employment Accommodation and Attendance Support” in-class training available through LearnON.
  • The ministry intranet site was updated with information and resources for all staff to assist in emergency planning for people with disabilities.
  • Completed specific accommodation requests for staff, e.g. sit/stand desks, installation of monitor arms, keyboard trays, ergonomic chairs, hands-free phone sets, and lighting adjustments.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

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

Commitments

The ministry will continue to work with enterprise partners to achieve OPS Built Environment goals.

Measures taken by Ministry of Energy in 2015

  • The ministry continued to implement the Design of Public Spaces standard under the IASR that came into effect on January 1, 2015.
  • The Ministry of Energy undertook several projects at 77 Grenville Street in Toronto to accommodate program changes/units in fully accessible space.
  • In 2015, the ministry commissioned an accessibility study to identify upgrades and requirements to improve overall accessibility at 900 Bay Street, Toronto (Mowat and Hearst Blocks). Based on the accessibility study, key findings were grouped as follows:
    • parking
    • paths of Circulation
    • building entrance, exits and lobby space
    • interior stairs
    • signage
    • safety concerns
    • washrooms
    • office and administrative areas

Other commitments

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.

Commitments
  • Continue to increase awareness of mental illness in the workplace by promoting OPS resources, seminars and events.
  • The ministry will continue to work with enterprise partners to achieve OPS accessible leadership goals.

Measures taken by Ministry of Energy for 2015

  • Coordinated a Ministry Wellness Fair with the theme of mental health awareness. The Fair included three exhibitors that provided tools and resources to cope with mental health issues (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Shepell.FGI, and Strategic Zone Yoga).
  • Hosted a Lunch and Learn on raising awareness on accessibility in Ontario, delivered by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and Special Advisor to the Minister on Accessibility, the Honourable David Onley.
  • Worked with ministry senior leaders and staff to provide six supplementary training sessions to support accessibility requirements.

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 Ministry of Energy for 2016

The ministry will continue to:

  • Review Emergency Evacuation Procedures and Branch Business Continuity Plans using the OPS Inclusion Lens.
  • Raise awareness of accessibility best practices and requirements under the legislation.
  • Continue to provide timely responses to customer feedback received from telephone, TTY and email channels.
  • Offer and provide support on planning accessible meetings.
  • Continue to work with Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) to ensure notifications are posted in a timely manner in the event of service disruptions.

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 Ministry of Energy for 2016

The ministry will continue to:

  • Notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communications supports, and will provide access to accessible formats and communications supports in a timely manner upon request.
  • Provide timely response to customer feedback via telephone enquiries, TTY and email channels.
  • Provide advice and training to staff on the creation of accessible documents and web content.
  • Review internal and external websites to ensure that Internet accessibility guidelines are met on an ongoing basis in accordance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) subsection 14 (3) 2 of the IASR that came into effect on January 1, 2016.
  • Train staff about the protocols, hiring process, budget and account codes to accommodate alternate format and communication support requests.
  • Review the ministry Internet and intranet sites on an ongoing basis to ensure the information posted is in an accessible format.

Employment

MYAP key outcome

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

Measures proposed by Ministry of Energy for 2016

The ministry will:

  • Analyze the 2016/17 Employee Survey results to determine if there is a need to address employment accommodation strategies at the ministry and/or divisional level.
  • Continue to provide managers and staff with sample accessibility performance commitments for inclusion in performance plans.
  • Participate in the Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program (DMPP) during the 2016-17 cycle.
Human resources and employment accommodations
  • Encourage ministry managers to work directly with the Disability Support Services (DSS) to ensure they receive information about best practices for employment accommodation and return to work cases and provide suitable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  • Continue to provide assistance with accommodations requirements as needed.
  • Train staff about the protocols, hiring process, budget and account codes to support and accommodate alternate formats and communication support requests.
Emergency preparedness
  • Raise awareness of persons with disabilities so they can prepare for their own safety and survival during times of evacuation through the semi-annual in-house fire warden training.
  • Update the intranet site on an ongoing basis to provide a variety of resources and ongoing information on emergency preparedness and planning for persons with disabilities.
  • Continue to provide information to staff via the ministry’s Lunch and Learn program on emergency preparedness, including providing information on emergency planning for persons with disabilities.
  • Continue to prepare and provide emergency procedures, plans or public safety information in accessible formats or with communication supports as required.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

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

Measures proposed by Ministry of Energy for 2016

  • The ministry will continue to work with enterprise partners to achieve OPS Built Environment goals by implementing the Design of Public Spaces standards under the IASR that came into effect on January 1, 2015, and will continue to work with Infrastructure Ontario and CB Richard Ellis to accommodate staff as required.
  • Based on the 2015 accessibility study, the ministry will initiate a project in 2016 to revamp all existing signage to meet AODA criteria within ministry space.

Other commitments

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 Ministry of Energy for 2016

  • The ministry will continue to work with enterprise partners, senior leaders and staff to increase awareness of mental health issues in the workplace by promoting resources, seminars and events.

Section three: addressing the identification of barriers in legislation

Background

The ODA establishes that a ministry’s accessibility plan shall include:

  • Measures currently in place to address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services administered by the ministry;
  • Actions taken in response to barriers found in Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services that were identified for review in 2015; and,
  • List of Acts, regulations, policies, practices, programs and services it will review in the coming year.

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.

Actions taken in the past year

In 2015, the Ministry of Energy did not identify any high-impact statutes to review.

Upcoming plans for review

In the coming year, the AODA legislative review will continue to be led by the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Updated: July 07, 2021
Published: February 02, 2016