OHCOW’s mission is to:

• protect workers and their communities from occupational disease, injuries and illnesses;

• to support their capacity to address occupational hazards; and

• to promote the social, mental and physical well-being of workers and their families.

We strive to accomplish this through the identification of workplace factors which are detrimental to the health and well-being of workers; by empowering workplace parties to make positive occupational health changes in their workplace and by providing information, knowledge and organizational skills to the workplace parties to eliminate work practices that cause injury, illness and disability.

This 2020-25 Accessibility Plan outlines the actions that OHCOW has/will incorporate to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.

Statement of Commitment

OHCOW is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Accessible Emergency Information

OHCOW is committed to providing our employees, customers, and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible format upon request. We have developed a policy regarding individualized Emergency Response Plans and what the roles and responsibilities are for the employee, the employer, support personnel, and the direct supervisor. • Completed: OHCOW developed an inclusive workplace Emergency Response Plan that will be utilized to create an individualized emergency response plan for anyone who requests accommodation.


OHCOW will provide training to employees, volunteers and other staff members on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers and other staff members. Orientation of new employees will include AODA training.

OHCOW will take the following steps to ensure employees are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessible laws:

  • Employees are required to complete an Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act (AODA) training course (customer service standard) as part of their new hire orientation.
  • OHCOW will notify staff of AODA updates as they occur; the AODA multi-year plan will be available on OHCOW’s public facing website.


OHCOW will take the following steps to ensure employees consider the needs of people with disabilities when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks by January 1, 2014:

  • OHCOW does not own, or typically procure, self-service kiosks. In the event that OHCOW requires a self-service kiosk, we will incorporate accessibility features when designing, or procuring these services.

Information and Communications

OHCOW is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. We will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.

OHCOW will take the following steps to ensure existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities upon request by January 1, 2015:

  • Incorporate two feedback mechanisms that will allow any persons with a disability to make an accommodation request in order to ensure their needs are met.
    • Ongoing: After an event, an evaluation form is circulated to event attendees; one of the questions on the evaluation form will ask attendees whether or not the training/material was accessible for their individual needs.
    • Completed: Create a general customer service feedback form and make it available on our public website.
  • OHCOW will create an open atmosphere within all work areas and training spaces that will encourage anyone with accessibility needs to feel comfortable to bring forward an accommodation request. OHCOW will take the following steps to make sure all publicly available information is made accessible upon request by January 1, 2016:
    • Completed: Under the AODA Customer Service Standard, OHCOW has created an accessibility section on our primary website complete with a feedback form.
    • Ongoing: OHCOW evaluates accessible templates to guide the creation of new accessible documents and will also examine ways to convert older noncompliant documents into an accessible format, in the event they are requested to do so.

OHCOW will take the following steps to make all new/existing websites and content on those sites conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A and AA by January 1, 2021:

  • Ongoing: Beginning in 2020, OHCOW will ensure that all OHCOW websites and web content conforms with WCAG 2.0 level AA.
  • Ensure ongoing compliance
  • Incorporate level AA (WCAG) 2.0 requirements in the next update, redesign or refresh of the website
  • Conduct training for staff as required


OHCOW is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.

We will take the following steps to notify the public and staff that, upon request, OHCOW will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment, assessment, and onboarding processes.

  • Completed: OHCOW will place a disclaimer under active job postings in our careers section of our website to notify all candidates that they can self-identify if they require accommodation.
  • Completed: An interview confirmation template will include an accommodation disclaimer: “If you require any form of accommodation, as it relates to your abilities and the interview, please inform Human Resources so we can make appropriate arrangements.”

OHCOW will take the following steps to develop and put in place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return-to-work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability:

  • Completed: OHCOW is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. When requested, OHCOW will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes, and throughout the employment lifecycle.
  • Completed: All job applicants will be notified that OHCOW is willing to accommodate them during the selection process.
  • Ongoing: If a job applicant or an employee requests accommodation for an interview, a member from our team will consult with the applicant/employee to make adjustments that best suit their needs.
  • Ongoing: During the onboarding process, new employees will be trained on all of our policies and procedures, including our disability, accommodation, AODA, and return to work policies.
  • Ongoing: OHCOW has a Return to Work and Accommodations policy that clearly outlines the duties and responsibilities of the employee, supervisor, and employer. This policy outlines how OHCOW will accommodate any individual that makes a request for accommodation.

We will take the following steps to ensure the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities needs are taken into account if OHCOW is using performance management, career development, and redeployment processes:

  • Reviewing our employees’ accommodation plans regularly to understand their needs, and make adjustments as required to help them succeed
  • Make performance management documents, such as performance plans, available upon request, in an accessible format; provide feedback and ongoing coaching to employees in a way that is accessible
  • While discussing career development opportunities, the manager will consider what accommodations any employee may need in order to:
    • learn new skills
    • take on more responsibilities in their current position
    • consider what we could do to help our employees with disabilities succeed in other positions in our organization when they change jobs

OHCOW will take the following steps to prevent and remove other accessibility barriers identified:

  • create an environment of accessibility awareness through training and staff engagement
  • encourage feedback of existing processes to ensure that accessibility barriers are removed

Design of Public Spaces

OHCOW does not own, or typically procure, land and buildings. In the event that OHCOW acquires land and building, we will incorporate accessibility features when designing, or procuring such.

OHCOW will follow the following procedures in the event of a service disruption:

  • In accordance with our Customer Service Standard, and in the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the disruption on our public facing website.
  • The entrance will include a service disruption notice.



For more information on this accessibility plan, please contact Provincial office at:

  • Phone: (416) 510-8713
  • Email:
  • In person or by mail: 1090 Don Mills Road, Unit 606, North York, ON M3C 3H9

Note:  Accessible formats of this document are available free upon request from:

Communicating with people with disabilities


1.01     We are committed to communicating with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability and in keeping with the principles of dignity, independence and equal opportunity. We believe in integration, and we are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner. We will do so by removing and preventing barriers to accessibility and by meeting our accessibility requirements under Ontario’s accessibility laws.

1.02     This policy provides guidance in how to improve communication with people with a disability through general communications, involvement of people with a disability in consultation, or in meetings, during a transaction and producing publications in accessible formats.

1.03     This policy applies to all of OHCOW’s communications with the public, including in relation to consultation, and the development of pamphlets, flyers, letters, memos, emails, websites, brochures, invoices, papers and reports, among others.

1.04          All oral and written communication should seek to be inclusive of and positive towards people with a disability. Avoid phrases that demean people with disabilities, and referring to people by categories.


2.01     The purpose of this Statement of Policy and Procedure is to ensure that persons with disabilities have communication access that is effective as that provided to persons without disabilities. To be equally effective, an aid, benefit or service need not produce the identical results or level of achievement for disabled and non-disables persons; it must afford the person to whom it is provided equal opportunity to achieve equal results, gain equal benefit and reach the same level of achievement.


This policy applies to all employees and all facilities of OHCOW in Ontario.


4.01  It is the responsibility of managers, immediate supervisors and/or department heads to ensure that all employees follow the guidelines set out in this policy.

4.02 It is the responsibility of all OHCOW employees to have completed AODA training, to achieve a level of awareness of accessibility requirements that embodies the guidelines set out in this policy.

4.03 Each manager, immediate supervisor and/or department head is responsible to ensure all employees are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and this policy, practices and procedure.


5.01  Disability:

 (a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,

(b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,

(c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,

(d) a mental disorder, or

(e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; (“handicap”)

5.02  Barrier:

Barrier means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of their disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice; (“obstacle”)



7.01  Terminology: the terminology we use can influence the way we see people and may unintentionally create a negative perception. The words we use can be very powerful. However unintentional, many words used to describe the nature of a disability can be demeaning and disrespectful. Please refer to the terminology chart below, Terminology chart 7.01(a): Positive and Negative Phrases, to assist you in making your communication with or without people with disabilities more successful.

 Terminology Chart 7.01(a): Positive and Negative Phrases

Affirmative phrases Negative phrases
  • person with an intellectual, cognitive, developmental disability
  • retarded, mentally defective
  • Person who is blind, person with vision loss
  • the blind
  • person with a disability
  • the disabled, handicapped
  • person who is deaf
  • the deaf, deaf and dumb
  • person who is hard of hearing
  • suffers a hearing loss
  • person who has multiple sclerosis
  • afflicted by MS
  • person with cerebral palsy
  • CP victim
  • person with epilepsy, person who has seizures
  • epileptic
  • person who uses a wheelchair
  • confined or restricted to a wheelchair
  • person who has muscular dystrophy
  • stricken by MD
  • person with a physical disability, a person who is physically disabled
  • crippled, lame, deformed
  • person who is unable to speak, person who uses synthetic speech
  • dumb, mute
  • person with psychiatric disability
  • crazy, nuts
  • person who is successful, productive
  • Has overcome his/her disability, is courageous (when it implies the person has courage because of having a disability)

  The word “disability” and “disabled” are more appropriate then “handicap” or “handicapped.”

7.03  Remember to put people first. It is preferable to say “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person.”

7.04  Consider an individual’s disability in communication:

  • A key aspect of communication is taking into consideration the specific needs of an individual. Employees may need to utilize a variety of different techniques to best interact with a person with a disability in order to effectively provide goods and services to that individual.

7.05  To assist people with disabilities to access our services, employees should utilize the following general guidelines:

  1. Treat people with disabilities with the same respect and consideration you offer everyone else.
  2. If you’re not sure what to do, ask the individual, “May I help you ?”
  3. Ask before you offer to help; don’t jump in. People often have their own way of doing things. Individuals with disabilities know if they need help and how you can provide it.
  4. If you don’t know someone, or if you are unfamiliar with the disability, it’s better to wait until the individual describes his or her situation to you, rather than to make assumptions. Many types of disabilities have similar characteristics and your assumptions may be wrong.
  5. Some disabilities are not visible. Take the time to get to know the individual’s needs.
  6. Speak normally, clearly and directly. Speak to a person with a disability, not to their interpreter or someone who is with them.
  7. Be patient; give the individual time to explain themself.

7.06  We will give careful consideration to whether consultations, meetings, and transaction methods are inclusive of people with disabilities.

7.07  When organizing meetings, we will make attempts to use facilities that cater to people with disabilities; e.g., ramps, handrails and lifts for people with mobility disabilities, inductive loop or radio systems to assists the hearing impaired. We will consider whether it is appropriate to hire an interpreter to assist in presentations at meetings. Where such facilities are available, they should be advertised as part of the information about location of the meeting.

7.08  When organizing consultation meetings, consider the environment available for any person with a disability attending the meeting; e.g., physical access to the building and meeting room, access to toilets, lighting in the room, external noise.

7.09  Publications: When developing material intended to be distributed to the public, we will consider the format of the material and its accessibility to the target audience. In particular, we will consider whether alternative formats are required in order to facilitate access by a person with a disability.

7.10  Excessive cost can be avoided be carefully targeting the audience. Options for making accessible formats available may include:

  1. Distributing standard formats, and developing and providing alternative formats only upon request.
  2. Providing a pamphlet or booklet in accessible format, and supplementary documents upon request.
  3. Advertising the availability of certain alternative formats. Where only standard formats are distributed, consideration should be given to advertising the availability of alternative formats upon request. Reception and publications staff should be made aware of the availability of alternative formats, and particular formats OHCOW is willing to provide upon request.

7.11  One or more of the following formats may be appropriate for development to improve accessibility:

  1. Internet: The Internet is a highly suitable medium for many people with hearing, vision, mobility and manipulatory impairments. To make the publication most compatible to software on the internet in HTML or ASCII format.
  2. CD or DVD: Providing information in a portable electric format may be suitable for people with hearing, vision, mobility and/or manipulatory impairments. The publication should be converted to ASII format to make it most compatible with accessibility computer software.
  3. Digital audio file, podcast: Audio is used by a wide range of people although it is often targeted to people with vision impairment. These formats are relatively easy and cost effective to produce and post.
  4. Braille: This format is used by people with severe vision impairment who have learnt the Braille alphabet.
  5. Large and illustrated print: Large and illustrative print is mainly targeted to those with low vision. It refers to any printed matter that uses a font that is 14 point or larger. Illustrated print is designed to provide a quick visual outline of a message. It is often preferred by people with an intellectual disability, people with some visual impairment and can also assist people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  6. Simplify Language: This format is useful if providing information to people with intellectual disabilities or limited reading skills. The information is summarized and expressed in short sentences that each convey a single idea or concept.
  7. Provide information about events and services in a variety of media (for example, publicise telephone numbers, provide printable material
  8. Provide sufficient notice of events to ensure there is time to arrange transportation or other requirements.

7.12  Create marketing communications with accessibility features built in (for example, Eventbrite has an accessible ticketing system).

7.13  Ensure all facilities have clear signs that include internationally recognized symbols and indicators.

Disruption of Services



1.01  OHCOW will make reasonable efforts to provide notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services where they have control over such facilities or services. This notice will include information about the reasons for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.


The purpose of this Statement of Policy and Procedure is to ensure persons with disabilities know when there is a temporary disruption of service.


This policy applies to all employees and facilities of OHCOW in Ontario.


It is the responsibility of managers, immediate supervisors, and department heads to ensure that all employees follow the guidelines set out in this policy.

Each manager, immediate supervisor and department head is responsible to ensure all employees are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and this policy, practices and procedure.




Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07


7.01  If a disruption in service is planned and expected, OHCOW should provide notice as far in advance of the disruption as possible as individuals may require considerable time to make alternative arrangements.

7.02 If a disruption is unexpected, OHCOW should provide notice as soon as possible after the disruption has been identified.

7.03 The notice of disruption should include information about the service that is disrupted, reason(s) for the disruption, the anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities, services or alternative mechanisms to access the good/services.

7.04  Depending on the nature of the disruption, notice may be given by posting the information at a conspicuous place (e.g., on or directly to the side of an elevator door or a washroom door) or in OHCOW’s facilities or venue area. Other options that may be used include: placing a message on voicemail, posting on the OHCOW website or through direct communication with users of the services in accordance with OHCOW’s practices.

7.06  Generally, disruptions to or of an organization’s services, such as during a power outage, do not require this special notice. However, if the disruption has significant impact on the people with disabilities, OHCOW should provide the notice of disruption in an appropriate manner as soon as possible.

7.07  From time to time OHCOW may not have direct control over facilities or services (e.g., one office within a building leased by many businesses). In these circumstances it is recommended that OHCOW endeavor to work with the organization that does have control over the facility/service in order to ensure a notice of temporary disruption is posted.

If you have questions / feedback regarding accessibility of content on, including alternate format requests, please contact us.
We welcome your input.

Careers with OHCOW

OHCOW values inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. OHCOW welcomes applications from persons of diverse backgrounds applying for positions.
OHCOW is committed to providing accommodations in all parts of the hiring process.
If you require an accommodation, please contact us. We will work with you to meet your needs.