Our Commitment to Accessibility
We are committed to providing accessible programs, services and environments that support the four core principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA): integration, equality of opportunity, dignity, and independence.
Foster Well-Being and Mental Health + Integration
In creating safe, healthy and inclusive learning and working environments...
We promote the meaningful integration of people with disabilities through inclusive practices and universal design.
Champion Equity and Inclusivity + Equality of Opportunity
In developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes to remove barriers in support of all learners...
We proactively identity, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility in order to create equal opportunities for full participation and inclusion.
Build Collaborative Relationships + Dignity
In building trusting relationships based on respectful and responsive communication...
We actively engage people with disabilities in collaborative and meaningful ways that respect their dignity and self-worth.
Empower Ethical Leadership + Independence
In leading ethically by focusing on students and upholding our values...
We entrust people with decision-making autonomy and independence in order to build leadership capacity and accessibility.
Building towards accessible learning and working environments requires shared responsibilities and collaborative commitments from staff, students and the wider YRDSB community. Our accessibility goals are achieved through the ongoing work of the AODA Advisory Committee which operates under the direction of the HRCO.
The work of the AODA Advisory Committee is guided by the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and summarized at the end of each reporting year in an Annual Accessibility Report. The Multi-Year Accessibility Plan sets out four Multi-Year Accessibility Goals in a coordinated commitment to accessibility.
Provide customer service excellence by promoting accessibility best practices that give meaningful access to all students and staff, including those with disabilities.
Provide accessibility training, education and outreach to building awareness, knowledge and attitudes to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility.
Engage the AODA Advisory Committee that operates through shared responsibilities and inter-departmental collaboration, while also engaging people with disabilities.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
The government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005 with the goal of making Ontario accessible by 2025. The AODA was created in response to a history of barriers and discrimination against people with disabilities in Ontario, and with the following purpose:
"To benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025."
The AODA applies to all private and public sector organizations, including all school boards. The accessibility standards under the AODA, along with some general requirements, are collectively known as the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation
The IASR represent the building blocks for how our AODA Advisory Committee is working to advance accessibility at YRDSB. As a way of showing the IASR goal to identify and remove barriers, a custom IASR diagram was designed by the HRCO that uniquely incorporates the barriers to accessibility in the centre of the diagram.
The Customer Service standard is situated within in its own ring as it is the most substantive and first of the five accessibility standards to be introduced. The remaining four accessibility standards - Information and Communications, Design of Public Spaces, Employment, and Transportation are represented in each quadrant of the next outer ring. The outermost ring encompasses the IASR diagram at the broadest level in the same way that the General Requirements broadly encompass the AODA.
The barriers were incorporated in the centre of the diagram to illustrate the "target" or goal of the IASR to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. Dotted lines are used in outlining the barriers to represent permeability and the aim to "break through" the barriers to accessibility.
Barriers to Accessibility
A barrier is anything that prevents a person with or who experiences a disability from participating in society. There are five main types of barriers to accessibility.
Attitudinal barriers are inaccurate beliefs and perceptions about people with disabilities based on assumptions and stereotypes. Attitudinal barriers are the most pervasive type of barrier.
Some examples of attitudinal barriers include:
- Speaking to the support person instead of communicating directly to the person with a disability.
- Thinking that the need to create accessible documents and web content is a waste of time.
- Believing that people with disabilities are inherently less able to contribute and participate (i.e., "ableism").
Physical (or architectural) barriers are anything in the built environment or design of public spaces that prevent access to goods, services, and/or facilities.
Some examples of physical barriers include:
- A classroom design that makes it difficult for students or staff to move around or navigate easily.
- A building entrance that only has stairs leading to the front door and/or no automatic door openers.
- An event or graduation that takes place on a stage without any lift.
Communication (or information) barriers prevent people from understanding or accessing information in a meaningful way.
Some examples of communication barriers include:
- Audio-video content that does not include media alternatives, such as captions or transcripts.
- Conveying information only through colour (and without a second visual cue).
- Signs or posters with print that is too small and/or not spaced appropriately.
Systemic (or organizational) barriers are usually created through policies, procedures and practices that apply to everyone, but are unfair or inequitable to certain people.
Examples of systemic barriers include:
- Assessment and evaluation that is based one only one learning style and requires students to demonstrate their understanding in one specific way.
- A meeting invitation, event registration or job posting that does not ask the participants or applicants if any accommodations are required.
- The lack of a process for receiving and responding to feedback regarding accessibility issues or complaints.
Technology barriers are digital or virtual platforms that are not designed to be user-friendly or with consideration for people with disabilities. Technology barriers often relate to communication barriers.
Some examples of technology barriers include:
- Course materials or handouts that are only available in hard copies.
- Websites or webpages that work on a computer or laptop, but do not work properly on a tablet or smart phone.
- Using a web conferencing tool (e.g., GoToMeeting) without any live captioning features available.