Accessibility Policy


The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is committed to the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities.  The OHS is committed to meeting its current and ongoing obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code respecting non-discrimination.

We are also committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities.

Read the OHS’s multi-year accessibility plan.


Assistive devices:

We ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.

Information and Communication:

We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.  When asked, we provide information about our organization and its services in accessible formats or with communication supports in a timely manner, taking into account the person’s accessibility needs due to disability and at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.  We consult with the person making the request to determine the suitability of the accessible format or communication support.  If we are unable to provide the necessary information, we provide an explanation as to why.

The OHS website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA website requirements in accordance with Ontario’s accessibility laws.

Service animals:

We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public.

Support persons:

A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person is allowed to have that person accompany them to the public areas of our premises to access our programs, services and special events.

Fees are not charged for support persons accompanying a person with a disability attending Ottawa Humane Society’s educational programming. We notify customers of this through a notice on our written and digital promotional materials. This does not apply to fundraising events.


The OHS notifies employees and job applicants that accommodations can be made during recruitment and hiring.  We consult with job applicants and provide or arrange for suitable accommodation.  We notify successful applicants of policies for accommodating employees with disabilities when making offers of employment.  We consult with job applicants and employees when arranging suitable accommodation.  When required, we provide customized emergency information to help an employee with a disability during an emergency.  We have a written process to develop individual accommodation plans, including for those who require disability-related accommodations to return to work after a medical absence.  Our performance management and career development processes also take into account accessibility needs of all employees.

Design of Public Spaces

The OHS opened in 2011, and was designed with accessibility requirements in mind.  We continue to ensure accessibility laws are met when making major changes to public spaces.


Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for customers with disabilities, the OHS will notify customers promptly. This clearly posted notice includes information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

The notice will be placed at the main adoption entrance, the MAS/Admissions entrance and the Education Centre entrance.

Training for staff and volunteers

The OHS provides training to employees and volunteers who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf. Individuals in the following positions are trained:

  • Client Services Attendants
  • Adoption Reception Attendants
  • All Customer Service Representatives
  • All Coordinators, Supervisors, Managers and Directors

This training is provided to staff within a year of hiring and to volunteers as part of their onboarding to their position.

Training includes:

  • An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • The OHS’s accessible customer service policy
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  • An introduction to equipment or devices available on-site that may help with providing goods or services to people with disabilities
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing the Ottawa Humane Society’s goods and services

Staff will also be re-trained when changes are made to this document.

Feedback process

Customers who wish to provide feedback on the way the OHS provides goods and services to people with disabilities can do so by e-mail, telephone, or through the OHS feedback card.  All feedback will be directed to the Director: Central Services. Customers can expect acknowledgement in one business day.  The OHS will solicit feedback about the way the OHS provides goods and services to people with disabilities from time to time, using its regular communication channels. Complaints will be addressed according to the OHS’s regular complaints policy and procedures.

Modifications to this or other policies

Any policy of the Ottawa Humane Society that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.


All staff are responsible to be familiar with this document, to uphold its principles and adhere to its terms.

The Director: Central Services is responsible for receiving feedback, acknowledging its receipt, collating the information and forwarding the results and recommendations to the President and CEO and government.

The Manager: Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that all employment processes follow accessibility requirements and that all staff who require training receive it in the timelines specified in this policy.

The President and CEO is responsible for ensuring the overall adherence to this policy.