Co-operators Accessibility Plan Details

Overview

This policy applies to Co-operators Group Limited and its subsidiary organizations in which it has a majority ownership (collectively referred to herein as ‘Co-operators’). Co-operators commits to providing an inclusive and barrier-free environment, resulting in an accessible organization for staff, customers, and other parties who interact with or on our behalf. We strive to achieve a workplace free of discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability, or medical condition. We support the full inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian human rights laws and by federal and provincial legislations. This policy governs how we provide our services in accordance with the requirements of accessibility customer service standards.

Our Commitment

We commit to ensuring the services we provide are as accessible as possible to persons with disabilities and are compliant with applicable accessibility legislation. To fulfil this commitment, Co-operators has developed inclusive policies and procedures that mirror the standards established by accessibility legislation. These policies and procedures are regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure access and accommodation for all persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are defined under federal and provincial human rights legislations.

Our organization supports and promotes the rights of all persons with disabilities. Co-operators also affirms the rights of all persons, including those with disabilities, to have access to equal opportunity in employment, policies or business dealings with Co-operators. We promote the principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity in all of our policies and interactions with persons with disabilities.

Delivering Key Requirements for an Inclusive Environment

Co-operators commits to excellence in serving all customers, including those with disabilities, and will carry out our functions and responsibilities in an accessible manner. Each request for accommodation is assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, we employ these key requirements:

Use of Assistive Devices, Service Animals and Support Persons Co-operators welcomes persons with disabilities who require assistive devices or are accompanied by a service animal or a support person. We will ensure staff are properly trained on how to interact with persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person.

Notice of Temporary Disruption

Co-operators will provide customers with notice in the event of any disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. Notice of a service disruption will be placed in a conspicuous area and/or communicated by any method deemed to be reasonable under the circumstances.

Training

We provide training to all staff as well as ensure that the staff of any third parties acting on our behalf have received training on serving our customers with disabilities. Training will cover the following:

  • How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.
  • How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person.
  • How to use any of Co-operators assistive devices.
  • What to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty accessing Co-operators goods and services.

We take pride in serving all customers, including persons with disabilities, by removing barriers to their full participation that might arise in the course of doing business. We commit to ensure the following:

Barriers

We have taken action to reduce and eliminate barriers in our environment for staff, and customers with disabilities as well providing services to these individuals in accordance with the requirements of all human rights legislation and other federal and provincial legislation. Co-operators reviews and changes as necessary its policies, practices, and procedures to reflect any changes that have been made in legislation. We take the following steps in our day-to-day business activities:

  • identification of barriers
  • removal of Identified barriers
  • prevention of barriers
  • increase awareness of accessibility initiatives at all levels of the organization
  • promotion of compliance policies and procedures with respect to accessibility to both staff and customers

Communication: We communicate with persons with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

Telephone Services: We commit to provide a fully accessible telephone interface to our customers and potential customers. We have trained staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak in a way that takes into account the person’s disability if requested by the customer. We offer to communicate with customers using email if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available. Training has been provided to our staff on how to receive a call from the TTY Relay system.

Assistive Devices: We commit to serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services and as such, customers are free to use their personal assistive devices in any Co-operators environment. Co-operators offers other measures that may assist our customers while on site and we will ensure that our staff members are familiar with the various assistive devices that may be used by customers. Assistive devices for access to specific services shall be kept in good working order and the public shall be informed of their availability. In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, all reasonable efforts will be made to facilitate access to our services.

Documentation: All published documents are available in hard copy, large print and email on request. We provide accessible invoices to all our customers. We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or email.

Public Safety: In preparing emergency procedures, plans, and public safety information documents, Co-operators ensures that all documents that are made available to the public will be made available in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports, upon request.

Scent Sensitive Environment

Due to health concerns related to exposure to scented products, such as perfumes and colognes, staff and visitors are asked to be considerate in their use of such products when on company premises. We commit to minimizing such environmental triggers, maintaining a high indoor air quality and reducing chemical-based scents/fragrance from our work environments wherever it is possible and reasonable to do so. We believe a scent-reduced work environment will benefit everyone and we commit to provide a safe and healthy environment for all staff and visitors.

Co-operators has Workplace Accommodation Policies and a Medical Leave Policy, both of which support the development of individual accommodation plans and return-to work policies for staff with accessibility needs. These policies support the development of individual accommodation plans for staff with accessibility needs through the performance reports, career development, and redevelopment process.

Employment

Co-operators values an including, diverse, equitable, and accessible work environment, and we commit to meet the needs of persons with disabilities during the recruitment process. If you are contacted for an interview and require an accommodation, please contact the hiring manager. Upon request, Co-operators will accommodate persons with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment process and when people are hired. Additional details are available on our Careers page.

Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection Process

We will notify job applicants when they are selected to participate further in an assessment or selection process that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used. If a selected applicant requests accommodation, Co-operators will consult with the applicant to arrange for the provision that considers the applicant’s accessibility needs. When making offers of employment, Co-operators will notify the successful applicant of its policies for accommodating staff with disabilities.

Informing Staff of Supports: Staff are informed of the policies used to support staff with disabilities, including but not limited to policies on the provision of job accommodation that take into account a staff member’s accessibility needs due to a disability. This information will be provided to new staff as soon as possible after commencing employment.

Accessible Formats and Communication Support for Staff: Upon a request from a staff member with a disability, Co-operators will consult with the staff member to arrange for the provision of accessible formats that is needed to perform the staff member’s role, and information that is generally available to other staff.

Documented Individual Accommodation Plans: Co-operators maintains a written process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for staff with disabilities. For further information on our process for creating documented accommodation plans for staff with disabilities, please contact hrsharedservices@cooperators.ca.

Return to Work Process: We commit to supporting staff who have been absent from work due to illness, injury, or disability, and require accommodation to return to work. We will work with the returning staff member and other stakeholders to create an individualized return-to-work plan to ensure a successful reintegration of the staff member into the workplace.

Performance Management, Career Development, Advancement and Redeployment: Co-operators commits to providing all staff equal opportunity for advancement. Co-operators takes into account the accessibility needs of its staff members with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans (where they are in place), when undertaking performance management, and providing career development and advancement to staff with disabilities. When conducting any redeployment initiatives, Co-operators also considers the accessibility needs and individual accommodation plans (where they are in place).

Staff Workplace Emergency Response: Should any staff at Co-operators with a disability, whether permanent or temporary, require a personalized workplace emergency response plan, Co-operators will create such document as soon as reasonably possible from the receipt of the request from the staff member. Co-operators will work with the staff member, their leader, and the Occupational Health and Safety committee for that location to ensure a plan is in place in the event of an emergency. Should circumstances change that impact the original response plan, Co-operators will respond with an updated plan as soon as reasonably possible.

Design of Public Space Policy

Co-operators meets the accessibility standards for the design of public spaces set out within the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Communication and Feedback Process

Co-operators commits to meeting the communication needs of persons with disabilities. While we do our best to ensure documents in other formats (such as PDF) are accessible, this is not feasible in all cases. In these instances, we will consult with the individual making the request to find an alternate solution that takes their disability into consideration.

Comments on our services and how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated. Co-operators will review all customer feedback, examine its relevance to our policies and to our accessibility commitments, and identify actions or steps to rectify to the customer’s satisfaction. Feedback can be shared through your Advisor, our corporate website, by email to hrsharedservices@cooperators.ca, or in written format to Human Resources at 130 Macdonell St, Guelph, ON N1H 6P8.

Questions Concerning This Policy

Any questions should be directed to Human Resources at hrsharedservices@cooperators.ca.