BROADCASTING ACCESSIBILITY FUND
Policy on Inclusion: Accessibility, Accommodation and Anti-ableism
The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is committed to creating and maintaining a working environment and (should the Fund expand its secretariat and operations) a workplace that adheres to the highest standards of inclusion, accessibility, accommodation and anti-ableism. In keeping with all provisions of applicable Human Rights legislation, the Fund is committed to access and accommodation, as well as active avoidance of ableism.
Accessibility refers to a barrier-free environment. In particular, it means identifying and removing barriers and creating an environment so that its use and interaction with people is maximized regardless of culture or abilities. Accessibility also includes ensuring policies and services are free from barriers for all persons with disabilities – sight, hearing, cognitive and/or mobility. The Fund’s website will be designed and maintained using an accessible Content Management System, with supporting ASL and LSQ interpretation for core information and pages.
An accommodating environment rapidly addresses the needs of an individual, in order to maximize that person’s individual dignity, autonomy, privacy and integration into the workplace and the larger society. An accommodating environment also minimizes discomfort or inconvenience for individuals. The goal of accommodation is to allow people with disabilities to equally benefit from and take part in meetings, services or the workplace. Accommodation includes, but is not limited to appropriate meeting protocols, meeting locations, the use of appropriate language in all internal and external communication, the Fund’s website and use of social media.
Ableism is a type of discrimination that (i) favours the able-bodied, (ii) demonstrates prejudice or discrimination against persons with disabilities and/or (iii) promotes attitudes that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. Such discrimination can occur in the choice of language and reference used.
This policy, set at the Board level, applies to all Board members and all employees of the Fund.
Barriers are prevalent to persons with disabilities in everyday life; the core of the Fund’s mandate is to address and dismantle barriers to the accessibility of broadcasting content. The goals of the Fund to address barriers to accessibility and accommodation must likewise be addressed in all aspects of the Fund’s working environment, projects and services.
These barriers can occur in many forms, whether physical space and design, document production, the Fund’s website or other facets of the working environment. Similarly, anti-ableism can occur in both intentional and unintentional ways, often reflected in use of language and terminology.
All Board members and employees will develop and practically apply a broadly-based awareness about accessibility, accommodation and anti-ableism, with respect to individual behaviour, choice and use of language and terminology, and choice and decision-making with respect to the working environment. The Fund will provide training on accessibility, accommodation and anti-ableism if warranted to all new Board members.
The Fund’s website is a particularly important tool in its public outreach. The website will be reviewed on an annual basis and tested by a cross-section of consumers with disabilities, to ensure it is maintained to an acceptable standard of accessibility. Complaints concerning the website’s accessibility will be responded to by the CEO/ Funding Officer within 48 hours, and appropriate follow up will be undertaken as required and in turn reported to the Board.
The Fund also generates considerable documentation that is available to all Canadians, including forms required to file a grant application with the Fund. Documents are to be made available in multiple formats, produced in plain language, in text-only versions (i.e. with graphs and charts removed) and provided on request in the same time frame as a standard print version. If a specific format is not available, then the CEO/Funding Officer will identify alternatives or possible substitutes in consultation with the user.
All formats are to be maintained at the same level of quality as print materials, and their availability must be promoted on the Fund’s website, in printed publications and verbally when publications are referenced.
At the time this policy was drafted, the Fund’s “workplace” was limited to a single employee: the CEO/Funding Officer. This part of the Policy is to be applied in the event that the Fund expands its secretariat and, as a result, its workplace structure.
Perceived limitations to accessibility and/or accommodation, and/or persistent (i.e. intentional) able-ist language, behaviour or demeanour must be reported to the employee’s supervisor or the CEO/Funding Officer without delay.
With respect to requests for accommodations, employees must communicate their need for accommodation to the immediate supervisor. While impractical accommodation demands should be avoided, supervisors are expected to be reasonable and helpful when considering proposals. Actions initiated in response to the request must be approved through appropriate channels, and must effectively respond to identified accommodation needs.
In any instance, requests for accessibility or accommodation, or complaints about the use of able-ist language must be actively engaged and treated with understanding and respect.
Immediately upon receiving a request for accommodation, the supervisor arranges to meet with the individual:
- Reassure the individual that this discussion is confidential and that the individual will not be negatively affected by the request, the accommodation or by any information provided.
- Determine the scope of the request; any issue involved in taking action on the request; arrange for the access or accommodation.
- If applicable, there may be a review of the steps to follow to work out access or an accommodation.
- If applicable, the individual will be referred to other resources at the disposal of the Fund, such as benefits plans or other personal support.
- If applicable, there may be a request for third party information needed to develop the accommodation plan.
Review of Procedures
1) The individual informs the immediate supervisor of the need for access/accommodation. The supervisor investigates and develops a reasonable proposal within 30 days of the request.
2) If the issues are not satisfactorily resolved at the supervisor level, then the individual may make a complaint to the CEO/Funding Officer, who shall arrange a meeting with the parties to discuss and to resolve the issues.
3) If after 30 days the issue has not been resolved, the individual may request a meeting with the CEO/Funding Officer and the Board Chair.
The above procedures do not affect an individual’s right to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, or the Agency’s right to seek legal counsel.