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Accessibility at YRDSB HRCO
Accessibility at YRDSB

Our Commitment to Accessibility​​

We are committed to building accessible learning and working environments that support the four core principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA): integration, equality of opportunity, dignity and independence. These principles guide Board Policy #407.0, Accessibility​​​ and are aligned with the four Board priorities of the Trustees' Multi-Year Strategic Plan and the Director's ​Action Plan​:

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.

MYSP Champion Equity and Inclusivity iconChampion 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.

MYSP Build Collaborative Relationships icon

Build Collaborative Relationships​ + Dig​​nity

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.

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 period in the Annual Accessibility Plan.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The HRCO is responsible for leading and championing the Board's commitment to accessibility and compliance with the provisions of the AODA.

​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." (AODA, 2005)

The AODA applies to all private and public sector organizations, including all school boards. Our Board's commitment to providing accessible learning and working environments is being fulfilled through the ongoing identification, removal and prevention of barriers to accessibility.

The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) were developed by the government of Ontario to help organizations identify and remove barriers. As a way of illustrating the IASR goal to identify and remove barriers, the HRCO has designed a custom IASR diagram that uniquely incorporates the barriers to accessibility in the centre of the diagram.​​

Circular diagram designed by the Human Rights Commissioner's Office (HRCO) that depicts the Integrated Accessibility Standards  ​

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 a disability from participating in society.​ There are five main types of barriers to accessibility:​

  • ​Attitudinal Barriers
    • 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 and are often underlying factors to the other barriers (which is why it placed in the centre of the diagram).

      Some examples of attitudinal barriers include:

      1. Speaking to the support person instead of communicating directly to the person with a disability.
      2. Thinking that the need to create accessible documents and web content is a waste of time.
      3. Believing that people with disablities will always need help and/or are inherently less able to contribute and participate​ (i.e., "ablei​sm"​)​.​

  • Communication Barriers
    • Communication (or information) barriers prevent people from understanding or accessing information in a meaningful way.

      Some examples of communication barriers include:

      1. Audio-video content that does not include media alternatives, such as captions or transcripts.
      2. Conveying information only through colour (and without a second visual cue).
      3. Signs or posters with print that is too small and/or not spaced appropriately.​

  • Physical Barriers
    • 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:

      1. A classroom design that makes it difficult for students or staff to move around or navigate easily.
      2. A building entrance that only has stairs and/or no automatic door openers.
      3. An event or graduation that takes place on a stage without any lift.

  • Systemic Barriers​
    • 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:

      1. Assessment and evaluation that is based one only one learning style and requires students to demonstrate their understanding in one specific way.
      2. A meeting invitation, event registration or job posting that does not ask the participants or applicants if any accommodations are required.
      3. The lack of a process for receiving and responding to feedback regarding accessibility issues or complaints​.​

  • Technology Barriers
    • 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:

      1. Course materials or handouts that are only available in hard copies.
      2. ​Websites or webpages that work on a computer or laptop, but do not work properly on a tablet or smart phone.
      3. Using a virtual meeting platform that does have a live captioning feature.​


Accessibility Standards

There are currently 5 accessibility standards as part of the IASR based on key areas of daily living for people with disabilities:

  • Customer Service
    • Accessibility standards for the provision of accessible goods, services and/or facilities.

      The Customer Service Standards​ were the first to be legislated (in 2008) and include requirements in the follow​ing areas:

      1. ​Welcoming the use of support persons and services animals,
      2. Providing notice of temporary disruptions to services,
      3. Providing accessible customer service training for all staff and volunteers, and
      4. Establishing a process for receiving and responding to feedback.​

  • Design of Public Spaces (Built Environment)
    • Accessibility standards for anything in the physical environment (e.g., buildings, parks, paths of travel) that is newly constructed or redeveloped for public-use.

      The Design of Public Spaces Standards include requirements for various outdoor public spaces. Most of the accessibility requirements for indoor spaces fall under the Ontario Building Code.​

  • Employment
    • Accessibility standards for current and potential employees.

      The Employment Standards include requirements in the following areas:

      1. Accessible recruitment processes,
      2. Accommodation (including workplace emergency response and return to work processes), and
      3. Accessible performance appraisal, promotion and redeployment processes.​​​

  • Information and Communications
    • Accessibility standards for creating​, providing and receiving information and communications in accessible formats and/or with appropriate communication supports.

      The Information and Communic​ations Standards include requirements in the following areas:

      1. Ensuring accessible websites and web content,​
      2. Providing educational and training resources in accessible formats and/or with communication supports,
      3. Providing accessibility awareness training to educators, and
      4. Providing accessible library resources and materials.​

  • Transportation
    • Accessibility standards for the provision of public transportation services.

      Transportation Standards specifically related to school transportation requires all school boards to provide integrated and/or alternative accessible transportation for students with disabilities based on individual transporation plans.​


​General Requirements

In addition to the five accessibility standards of the IASR, there are General Requirements:

  • ​Provide training to staff and volunteers,
  • Develop an accessibility policy,
  • Create a multi-year accessibility plan and update it every five years, and
  • Consider accessibility in procurement and when designing or purchasing self-service kiosks.

YRDSB has developed and implemented various policies and practices to comply with these General Requirements in building towards more accessible learning and working environments for our Board community.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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