Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Policy
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited (“BTN” and/or the “Company”) is committed to providing a barrier-free environment for all stakeholders, including clients, employees, job applicants, suppliers, and any visitors who enter the premises, work for the company, access information provided by the company, or use the company’s goods and services.
The company works to identify and remove barriers and prevent new barriers for persons with disabilities as they relate to employment, receipt of goods and services, the built environment, and information and communications. The company acts so that dignity and inclusion can be experienced by all. This policy outlines the company’s strategy for identifying, removing, and preventing these barriers.
Accessible formats: Include but are not limited to large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, braille, and other formats usable by persons with disabilities.
Assistive device: Any medical device, mobility aid, communication aid, or other aid that is specially designed to assist a person with a disability with a need related to their disability.
Communication supports: Captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language, sign language, and other supports that facilitate effective communications.
Constructive discrimination: Also referred to as adverse effect, is discrimination that unintentionally singles out a particular group, resulting in unequal treatment.
Conversion-ready: An electronic or digital format that facilitates conversion into an acceptable format.
Disability: Any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, and sensory impairment, or functional limitation that is either permanent, temporary, or episodic in nature. It can be evident or not in interaction with a barrier to hinder a person’s full and equal participation in society.
Mobility aid: Any manual or electric wheelchair, scooter, boarding chair, walker, cane, crutch, prosthesis, or other aid that is specially designed to assist a person with a disability with a need related to mobility.
Service animal: An animal that can be recognized by visual indicators such as a vest or harness that is being used by an individual with a disability for reasons relating to the person’s disability.
Support person: Another person who accompanies an individual with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs, or access to goods and services.
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited makes every effort to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to employment by developing inclusive procedures that support and accommodate persons with disabilities throughout their recruitment and employment. Whenever a candidate requires accommodation to enable them to fully participate in the recruitment and selection process, or a current employee requires accommodation in the workplace, the company works with the individual to provide such accommodation up to the point of undue hardship.
Recruitment and Hiring
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited completes recruitment and selection activities in a way that ensures dignity and inclusion for all who participate. Upon request, the company provides candidates with reasonable accommodation during the interview and selection process. The company consults with the candidate to arrange suitable, personalized accommodation, such as providing the application in an alternate or accessible format.
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited is committed to hiring decisions that are unbiased and based on qualifications and experience. The company interview process focusses on experience and skills and will not discriminate against candidates who have a disability or require an accommodation, whether it is required during the interview process or would be required if the candidate were hired. Successful candidates are made aware of policies and supports for accommodation upon completion of the recruitment process.
Return to Work
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited provides a supportive return-to-work program and develops and implements return-to-work processes for employees who are absent from work due to a disability and require accommodations to return to work. The Company works with the employee to develop an individualized return-to-work plan and support the employee in the transition period by identifying and eliminating or reducing any barriers. The return-to-work process outlines the steps the company will take to facilitate the employee’s return to work and any individualized accommodation needs.
If an employee cannot be accommodated in their current position, even with accommodations to either the job processes or hours, Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited will consider redeployment by placing the employee in an alternative position in the Company. Depending on the employee’s needs, redeployment to an alternative position may be temporary or permanent. If the accommodation requires a substantial change in the position, involving duties or hours, the position may be redesigned.
Inability to Accommodate
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited provides workplace accommodation up to the point of undue hardship. Undue hardship may occur where it is established that no forms of reasonable accommodation exist, or where the creation of accommodation would create a health and safety hazard or cause unreasonable costs for the Company.
Where necessary accommodation is found to cause undue hardship on the organization, the Company will work to find a fair and equitable compromise that meets the needs of the employee and the Company to the greatest extent possible.
If necessary or upon request, Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited creates individualized workplace emergency response plans for employees with disabilities. The emergency response plan considers the unique challenges created by the individual’s disability and the physical nature of the workplace and is created in consultation with the employee. If an employee with a disability requires assistance from a support person during an emergency, the company designates a fellow mutually agreed upon employee to act as such.
Customized emergency response plans are reviewed when:
- The employee moves to a different physical location in the Company;
- The employee’s overall accommodation needs or plans are reviewed; and
- The Company reviews general emergency response policies.
Accessible Information and Communication
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited understands the importance of accessible digital and non- digital forms of communication and does its best to provide accessible types of communication and information to all individuals with disabilities. Such accessible formats and communication supports are provided upon request, in a timely manner and at no additional cost.
Accessibility is integrated into our training programs. BTN will provide training to:
- All employees, volunteers, agents, contractors and others who could reasonably be expected to interact with customers or third parties on behalf of BTN.
- All who are involved in the development, approval, monitoring or implementation of BTN’s policies, practices and procedures about the provision of goods and services to customers and/or third parties.
Training will be related to the individual’s specific roles within the Company. Training includes:
- The Company policies and procedures
- Training on AODA and IASR requirements
- Training on the Ontario Human Rights Code and how it pertains to people with disabilities
- Training that is specific to the employee’s role within BTN (i.e., Customer Service Standard for those interacting with individuals on behalf of the Company).
This training will be provided as soon as practicable after being hired and training will be provided in respect of any changes to policies.
The Company is responsible for reviewing this policy at least once every five (5) years and recommending amendments to ensure on-going compliance with regulated accessibility standards and legislated obligations.
MULTI-YEAR ACCESSIBILITY PLAN
Further to our outlined commitments, Brookdale Treeland Nurseries’ AODA Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (the “Plan”; Appendix A) outlines the BTN’s phased in strategy for identifying, removing and preventing barriers to accessibility.
Requests for documents, alternative formats or communication supports should be directed to 905-859-4571 Ext 239, or in writing to Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Ltd. c/o Human Resources, 6050 17th Sideroad, Schomberg, Ontario, L0G 1T0.
AODA MULTI-YEAR ACCESSIBILITY PLAN
This Multi-Year Accessibility Plan is an appendix to BTN’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Policy. It outlines the Company’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers to address the current and future requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the “AODA”), and in order to fulfill the Company’s commitment as outlined in BTN’s AODA policy.
CUSTOMER SERVICE ACCESSIBILITY
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Limited complies with the Accessible Customer Service Regulation under the AODA. Among the measures that have been implemented are the following:
- We have ensured that training has been provided to every person who interacts with the public on the Company’s behalf, as well as to all those who are involved in the development of our policies, procedures and practices governing the provision of goods or services to the public. This training includes the purpose of standards regarding accessibility set by provincial legislation and related requirements, as well as how to communicate, interact and support persons with disabilities in a way that considers their disability. The training is delivered as soon as practicable after hire and on an ongoing basis as our policies or procedures governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities, are updated;
- Persons with disabilities are permitted to use their own assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and/or services;
- Persons accompanied by a service animal are permitted to enter areas of our premises that are open to the public, except in those areas in which the animal is excluded by law;
- Where a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, both the person with the disability and the support person are provided equal access to our goods and services;
- Notice is provided to the public of any temporary or other disruptions to facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities, including information about the reason for and expected length of the disruption and a description of any alternative facilities and/or services that are available;
- We welcome feedback about how we provide goods or services to persons with disabilities through multiple communication channels.
SELF SERVICE KIOSKS
Following the review of our operations, it has been determined that we do not maintain self-service kiosks. However, to the extent that self-service kiosks are acquired or operated in the future the Company will consider accessibility issues and requirements at that time.
AODA POLICY & MULTI-YEAR ACCESSIBILITY PLAN
BTN’s AODA Policy affirms our commitment to meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner and governs the way we will achieve accessibility; We updated this Multi-Year Accessibility Plan outlining our phased-in strategy for identifying, removing and preventing barriers to accessibility.
The Policy and Plan are posted on our corporate website (www.btn.ca) and will be provided in alternate formats upon request.
This Plan will be updated at least once every five years or as our accessibility strategy evolves.
COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION
BTN is committed to making company information and communications accessible to persons with disabilities.
Websites and Content
We will continue to monitor the creation of any new websites and web content, including those websites undergoing a significant refresh to ensure they comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA as currently required by AODA. On an ongoing basis, we will ensure a process is in place to confirm that websites and content continue to meet required WCAG conformance levels currently in effect.
Feedback, Accessible Formats and Communications Supports
Processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible, by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports, upon request.
Upon request, BTN will provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities, in a timely manner and at no extra cost. Requesting persons will be consulted as to the suitability of an accessible format or communication support. Feedback will be accepted by Human Resources at 905 859 4571, extension 239 or in writing to Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Ltd. c/o Human Resources, 6050 17th Sideroad, Schomberg, ON, L0G 1T0.
The public will be notified about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports by a notification on www.btn.ca.
We are committed to implementing a process to ensure all employees, and those who provide services on our behalf, and persons participating in the development and approval of our policies are provided with appropriate training on the requirements of the AODA and any aspect of human rights legislation relating to persons with disabilities. We have conducted training appropriate to the duties of the person and will continue to refresh this training. We will continue to develop processes to provide training in a timely manner, maintain records of the training provided including training dates, and the number of individuals to whom it was provided.
We are committed to accessible employment practices and to removing any barriers that prevent or hinder the recruitment, retention and career development of employees with disabilities. Accessibility is integrated into BTN’s employment-related practices, and has implemented the following:
Emergency Response Plans
Alternative emergency preparedness plans are created, as required and as soon as practicable, for employees who the Company is aware are unable to follow the standard emergency plan in their Company work location, as a result of a permanent or temporary disability. The employee and, if the employee consents, any designated assistant(s) are provided with the alternative emergency preparedness plan. Alternative emergency preparedness plans are stored with the standard Emergency Plan(s) in the Employee’s work location.
Notification of job applicants that accommodation is available during the recruitment process on request, by specifying same in job postings and on the careers section of the corporate website. We specify that accommodation is available for applicants with disabilities in recruitment-related materials and during scheduling of interviews and assessments. If an applicant requests accommodation, we consult with the applicant and arrange for the provision of suitable accommodation that considers the applicant’s needs due to disability. When making offers of employment, the successful applicant is notified of our policies for accommodating employees with disabilities. We provide appropriate training to employees responsible for recruitment, assessment, selection and on-boarding to ensure these planned actions are delivered, and accommodation requests are fulfilled in an effective and timely manner.
We review and, as necessary, modify existing orientation and on-boarding processes to ensure new employees are provided information about the Company’s accessibility policies. We outline procedures for documenting and updating, as required, documented individual accommodation plans. We provide for the method(s) by which requesting employees will be assessed and represented, how they can participate in the plan’s development, and the method by which a copy of the plan will be provided to the employees in a format that takes their accessibility needs into account. We provide appropriate training to managers and employees responsible for supporting the individualized accommodation plan process.
Return to Work from Disability-Related Leaves
We review and, as necessary, modify and document existing return to work processes for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require accommodation in order to return to work. We ensure documented individual accommodation plans comprise part of the return-to-work process. We develop and provide training to managers and employees responsible for supporting the return-to-work process for employees who require accommodation in order to return to work, and a training schedule for same that will ensure effective execution of the return-to-work process on a continuous basis.
We consider the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities when providing career development and advancement to our employees with disabilities, including notification of the ability to provide accommodations on internal job postings.