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Accessibility

St. James United Church, Stroud, ON
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
September, 2013

Introduction:
This document contains policies that meet the requirements of the Customer Service Standard and other items that are good practices. This document will be revised as other standards are introduced under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005 or as circumstances change within our Church.

1. Our Mission

The mission of St. James United Church is to strengthen our Congregation and our Outreach Ministries, and Missions in order to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

To fulfill that mission, the St. James United Church will:

  • Make the best use of the human and financial resources available.
  • Ensure compliance within the polity of The United Church of Canada

2. Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, St. James United Church, to the best of our ability, strives to provide its worship, programs, goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. St. James United Church is also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our worship, programs, goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services and in a similar way as other participants.

3. Providing Programs, Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

St. James United Church is committed to excellence in serving all participants, including people with disabilities in the following areas:

  • Worship Services
  • Special Events
  • All Meetings

3.1 Communication

  • St. James United Church will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  • St. James United Church will provide information in formats that are accessible for people with disabilities.
  • St. James United Church will train staff and volunteers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.


Procedures:

When addressing a person, staff and volunteers will:

  • Ask, “How can I help?”
  • Give clear directions and explanations.
  • Observe and listen. What is being asked?
  • Assess and ask what method of communication will be most effective – verbal, written or pictorial.
  • Look for use of assistive devices, e.g. is the person wearing a hearing aid? If yes, staff and volunteers will wherever possible speak face-to-face in a quiet, well-lit setting to enable the person to see lips.
  • Assess if the message has been received.
  • Observe the person’s response to the communication. Are there questions? Is the person puzzled? Ask if s/he understands. Use another communication format if necessary, e.g. writing, demonstrating, providing assistive devices.
  • If language is a barrier, speak slowly, use body language, access a translator, invite the person to act as a translator.
  • If understanding is a barrier, use examples or another format, e.g. writing.
  • If reading is a barrier, provide large print and good lighting. Verbally guide the person through the document.
  • Provide a variety of ways to respond, e.g. spoken, written, demonstration.
  • Be patient; allow time for the person to respond without interruption.
  • If the person disagrees, accept that the person has another opinion. Ask if the person would like to speak with someone else, perhaps someone with a higher level of authority.

Practices:

Same as procedures; in addition:
Staff or volunteers will ensure that doors are open and that weather-related issues such as snow or ice have been dealt with.

3.2 Telephone Services

  • St. James United Church is committed to providing accessible telephone services to our participants.
  • St. James United Church will train office staff/volunteers to communicate with participants over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
  • St. James United Church will offer to communicate with participants by other means if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs, or is not available.

Procedures:

  • A telephone will be accessible at all times in a quiet and private room, if required.
  • Emergency information, e.g. name and location of the church, will be displayed by the phone.
  • On the general telephone and e-mail, messages will be received and responded to within one week of receipt with the exception of church and/or statutory holidays.
  • Assistance will be provided for those unable to use a phone, e.g. e-mail or fax.

Practices:

  • A telephone will be accessible at all times in a quiet and private room, if required.
  • Emergency information, e.g. name and location of the church, will be displayed by the phone.
  • On the general telephone and e-mail, messages will be received and responded to within one week of receipt with the exception of church and/or statutory holidays.
  • Assistance will be provided for those unable to use a phone, e.g. e-mail or fax.

3.3 Assistive Devices

  • St. James United Church is committed to serving people who use assistive devices to participate in and benefit from our worship, programs, goods and services.
  • St. James United Church will ensure that people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access applicable worship, programs, goods and services.
  • St. James United Church will familiarize staff/volunteers with the various assistive devices that may be used by participants with disabilities while accessing our worship, programs, goods and services.
  • Upon a participant’s request, St. James United Church will make every effort to provide the requested assistive device and/or service and to cover relevant financial expenses, to the best of our ability.

Procedures:
The staff and volunteers will plan their activities with the needs of people using assistive devices in mind so they can participate equally in all activities.

Mobility devices
Staff or volunteers will discuss with the person how to store walkers or wheelchairs to avoid creating safety concerns and will escort people with walkers or wheelchairs to their seats.

Signs will be posted clearly to direct people with mobility devices to washrooms, entrances, etc.

Visual aids
Material will be available in large print to those who request it.

Practices:

  • A telephone will be accessible at all times in a quiet and private room, if required.
  • Emergency information, e.g. name and location of the church, will be displayed by the phone.
  • On the general telephone and e-mail, messages will be received and responded to within one week of receipt with the exception of church and/or statutory holidays.
  • Assistance will be provided for those unable to use a phone, e.g. e-mail or fax.

3.4 Accessibility Liaison

  • St. James United Church designates Linda Winson, Ross Parker and Earl Feren as Accessibility Liaisons to oversee all issues relating to accessibility.
  • As the Accessibility Liaison, they will have several responsibilities:
  • propose policies on providing accessible worship, programs, goods and services to participants with disabilities that are in compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 for approval by the Conference Executive.
  • coordinate accessibility training and training materials for all relevant staff and volunteers.
  • ensure that assistive devices (chairlift and wheelchair) provided by St. James United Church are in good working order and that requests for assistive devices are met, to the best of our ability.
  • be responsible for developing feedback procedures, reviewing feedback on accessibility and responding to any complaints or concerns

Procedures:

  • The accessibility liaisons will report, as needed, to the Board at its regular meetings summarizing recent activities.
  • The accessibility liaisons is responsible for proposing accessibility policies, developing procedures, and updating manuals.
  • The accessibility liaisons will coordinate accessibility training for all relevant staff and volunteers in the use of the chairlift and wheelchair.

Practices:

  • The St. James United Church Board chooses the persons to be the accessibility liaisons.
  • The accessibility liaisons, will report on accessibility issues as part of their reports to the Board with recommendations for changes to policy as required.
  • The accessibility liaison will keep track of all training and will report to the Board.
  • Through the St. James United Church Property Team, the accessibility liaisons will ensure that all equipment (Chairlift and Wheelchair) is maintained.

 

4. Use of Service Animals
St. James United Church is committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a service animal on parts of our premises that are open to the public.

St. James United Church will ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with participants are trained on how to interact with people who are accompanied by a service animal.

Procedures:
Staff and volunteers will be informed that persons with service animals are allowed full access to the public area of the relevant venue except for places where food is being prepared, in accordance with Ontario law.

Practices:

  • Participants in worship, church committees or events will be informed about the types and functions of service animals.
  • Persons with service animals will be encouraged to introduce/talk about their service animal.
  • Staff and volunteers will not approach, speak to or touch service animals.

5. Support Persons
St. James United Church is committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter the premises with his or her support person.Fees will not be charged for support persons accompanying a participant.

Procedures:
Support persons will not be charged an admission fee. Forms and advertising will include this information.

Practices:

  • Support persons will be seated in close proximity to the person with a disability.
  • Staff and volunteers will address the person with the disability directly, rather than through the support person and will discuss the best method of communication.

6. Notice of Temporary Disruption
St. James United Church will provide participants with notice in the event of a planned disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities, and will make every effort to provide notice in the event of any unexpected disruption. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice will be delivered to participants by the most suitable means.

Procedures:
In the event of any disruption of services, the Office Administrator or person who notices the problem will provide notice as soon as possible with the reason, expected completion date and alternate facilities. This information will be posted delivered by e-mail or telephone and/or announced and posted at the church as appropriate.

Practices:

  • Signs will be put on the doors of the church explaining the disruption.
  • If the disruption causes a cancellation of worship, a workshop or meeting, we will do our best to tell participants by e-mail or phone call.
  • If the disruption is planned, announcements will be made at up-coming worship services, meetings and an announcement will be left on the relevant voicemail.
  • All announcements will indicate the anticipated length of disruption and alternate facilities, if any.

7. Training for Staff and Volunteers
The Accessibility Liaisons will be responsible for coordinating training for all employees, volunteers and others who deal with participants or other third parties on our behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of accessibility policies, practices and procedures.

Procedures:
Training volunteers: Training sessions will be done as required. If there are membership changes during the year, the Accessibility Liaisons will arrange training for the new volunteers at the earliest possible time.Training staff: The Accessibility Liaisons will conduct regular training for all staff. Training may be done at a special meeting or by using the government of ontario accessibility training found at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/serve-ability/index.aspx

Practices:

  • The accessibility liaisons will develop a package of material for those who need to be trained, including how to interact with individuals with disabilities, their devices, service animal or support person. They will also make use of the government of ontario accessibility training found at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/serve-ability/index.aspx
  • All staff and volunteers will be trained what to do if a person with a disability is having problems accessing our services.
  • All staff and volunteers will be trained on the feedback procedure.

8. Feedback Process
St. James United Church strives to meet or surpass expectations while serving participants with disabilities.

Comments on our worship services, programs, goods and services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

  • Feedback regarding the way St. James United Church provides worship services, programs, goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by the means most suitable to the person providing feedback.
  • All feedback will be directed to the Accessibility Liaisons.
  • Participants can expect to hear back within a month.
  • Confidentiality will be respected.

Complaints will be addressed according to the procedures outlined by the Accessibility Liaisons. Complaint procedures will be documented by the Accessibility Liaisons and made available to the church Board.

Procedures:
The accessibility liaisons will…

  • Inform those accessing St. James United Church worship services or programs, special events, meetings, goods and services that feedback may be made by telephone, in writing, by e-mail or the use of a feedback form available in binder located near the mail boxes in the entrance by the church office.
  • Provide feedback forms to persons expressing concern or appreciation for accessibility policies and procedures.
  • Confirm receipt of feedback within one week.

Practices:The full accessibility policy with policies, procedures and practices, feedback processes and forms will be included on the St. James United Church website and in binder located near the mail boxes in the entrance by the church office.

9. Modifications to this or Other Policies
St. James United Church is committed to developing an accessibility policy that respects and promotes the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.

  • No changes, therefore, will be made to this policy before considering the impact.
  • Any policy of St. James United Church that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Procedures:
The St. James United Church accessibility policy can only be changed by the Accessebility Liaisons in compliance with changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The procedures and practices are living documents that will be changed by the accessibility liaison to reflect new circumstances.

Practices:

  • The accessibility liaisons will report, as needed, to the Board at its regular meetings summarizing recent activities.
  • The accessibility liaisons is responsible for proposing accessibility policies, developing procedures, and updating manuals.
  • The accessibility liaisons will coordinate accessibility training for all relevant staff and volunteers in the use of the chairlift and wheelchair.

10. Questions about This Policy
This policy seeks to achieve service excellence to participants with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or its purpose, an explanation or reply will be provided by the Accessibility Liaison, Attn: Linda Winson, c/o St. James United Church, 2230 Victoria St. W., Innisfil, ON L9S 1K5, stjamesunited@rogers.com (website: http://stjamesunited.org)This Updated Policy for St. James United Church - Stroud, ON was approved at the September 25, 2013 Board Meeting.St. James accessibility-policy-procedure-practice pages