Ottawa Humane Society’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan


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

The OHS is committed to working toward full compliance with current standards of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) Policy, Regulation 191/11, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities. In doing so, we affirm our commitment to providing quality services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

Our West Hunt Club facility was designed and built in 2011 based on current accessibility guidelines, to create a space accessible to all members of our community. We are also committed to excellence in serving all of our clients, regardless of their needs.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The OHS’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan outlines the policies, achievements and actions that the OHS has taken and the work underway to improve opportunities for people with disabilities. The current plan covers a five-year period (2023-2028) and is reviewed and updated at least once every five years.

Statement of Commitment

The OHS is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in inclusion 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 AODA.

The OHS is committed to develop, implement and maintain policies that govern how the organization achieves or will achieve accessibility though meeting this Regulation. To facilitate this commitment, the OHS has established, maintained and documented a multi-year accessibility plan, which is reviewed and updated at least once every five years to identify progress made in addressing barriers. It is posted on the OHS website and Staff Intranet.

Standards of Accessibility under AODA:

  1. General Requirements

(i) Accessible Emergency Information

The OHS is committed to providing clients with publicly available emergency information, plans or public safety information in an accessible way upon request.

The OHS will provide employees and volunteers with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary, and as soon as practically possible. If an employee or volunteer who receives individualized workplace emergency response information requires assistance, with their consent, the information will be given to the designated employee.

The OHS has a process for documenting issues of accessibility and recording and providing accommodation for individualized accessible emergency response information. The OHS will continue to review the individualized workplace emergency response plans when necessary i.e. the location of the employee or volunteer changes and/or there is a change in disability.

(ii) Accessibility Policies and Plans

The OHS’s multi-year plan outlines strategies and actions to identify, prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities.

  • The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation is incorporated into the OHS’s Code of Conduct. Our policy requires that the Code of Conduct be read, reviewed and signed by every employee upon hire.
  • The policy is reviewed by management annually.
  • The OHS will be integrating an annual review by staff of the Code of Conduct into its performance review process.

(iii) Training

Accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities is a core value for the OHS. The OHS provides training to employees and is developing training for volunteers on Accessibility Standards and the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training is tailored to the duties and needs of all those who deal with the public on behalf of the OHS, including third parties i.e. employees, agents, volunteers, management. Employees may also require training on one or more of the standards—information and communications, employment or transportation, as it relates to the duties and responsibilities of their position.

  • The OHS has taken/is taking the following steps to ensure employees and volunteers are provided with training to meet current standards and legislation: Provide educational or training resources in an accessible format that takes into account the accessibility needs of a person with a disability.
  • Ensure new employees complete training within 30 days of employment or placement.
  • Keep and maintain a database of the training participant’s names and dates of completion.
  • The OHS is developing training for volunteers to ensure the same training is available to them, as appropriate in their roles.
  1. Customer Service Standard

Customer service is the foundation of everything we do to provide workplace safety and services.

The OHS strives for service excellence in all of our interactions. From the first contact with our employees, clients should feel that we are listening and responding to their needs.

Programs and services delivered by the OHS reflect our values of:

  • Respect for the dignity of all life
  • Care for those who are unable to care for themselves
  • A voice for those who cannot speak for themselves
  • Relief from pain and suffering
  • A respect for the environment that all creatures share
  • An abhorrence of cruelty
  • Building compassion through education

The OHS uses reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:

  • Goods or services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
  • The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others is integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or permanently, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services.
  • Persons with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.
  • Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices and/or support persons in the access of goods and services.
  • Persons with disabilities and their service animals are accommodated in all aspects of service provision unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law.
  • OHS employees, when communicating with a person with a disability, will do so in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

The following measures have been implemented by the OHS:

  • The OHS presents and/or revises accessibility practices and procedures as required.
  • The Accessible Customer Service Policy is published on our website.
  • Notice will be provided on the website, over the phone or in writing where applicable when a service disruption occurs and will be done as quickly as possible if the disruption is unexpected.
  • In-person training on accessibility is provided to front-line staff, completion of which is tracked and recorded.
  • Training on diversity in the workplace is currently being developed.
  • Feedback from clients about customer service is collected through electronic surveys.
  • Comments relating to our customer service are welcomed and appreciated. A process is being established to encourage feedback regarding the way the OHS provides goods and services to people with disabilities. Feedback can be made: verbally, by e-mail or in writing. Feedback is directed to the relevant department director.
  • A process is in place to ensure that all feedback collected from clients, staff or the general public is reviewed and analyzed to identify potential gaps in customer service and to ensure appropriate action.
  • Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person or by a service animal is welcomed. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person or service animal be prevented from having access to their support person and/or service animal while on our premises. Fees are not charged for support persons accompanying a person with a disability attending OHS’s educational programming. We notify customers of this through a notice on our written and digital promotional materials.
  1. Information and Communications Standard

The OHS is committed to making information and communication available to people with disabilities.

The OHS will incorporate accessibility requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation information and communication standard to ensure that information and communication systems and platforms are accessible and meet the needs of persons with disabilities.

The OHS will, upon request, consult with the person requesting information and provide or arrange for accessible formats and communication supports in a timely manner and at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.

There are situations where accessible formats and communication supports may not be provided, including when:

  • It is not technically possible to convert a document to an accessible format. In this case, the OHS will explain why and provide a short summary.
  • The information comes from another organization
  • The OHS does not control the information
  • The information is found on products or product labels

The OHS has undertaken the following plans to ensure compliance with this standard:

  • A feedback process has been established that is accessible, including alternate formats such as telephone, mail and in-person. These processes are publicly communicated and available on our website.
  • Our website design is user friendly for people with a range of needs. People are encouraged to contact the OHS by email or phone if they require additional information.
  • Our website provides a feature that allows users to change the size of text they see online to suit their preference.

The OHS has ensured all new websites and content on those sites conform to World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A by January 1, 2014 and conforms to WCAG 2.0, Level AA.

In accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, the OHS plans to review and convert existing emergency & public safety information into a format that makes it available in accessible formats on request and in a timely manner.

The OHS has taken the following steps to ensure compliance with this standard:

  • Continue to assess accessibility of existing website organization and content.
  • Consult with persons requesting alternative formats.
  • Internet websites and web content conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  • Post a notice on the website and of premises that information is available in a variety of accessible formats.
  • We will develop a plan to become familiar with sources and time-frames for formatting that is not feasible to do in-house. i.e. captioning, video-description and conversion to Braille or audio and any other formatting.

Accessible formats and communication supports for employees

  • Assistive technology will be available to employees with demonstrated needs
  • Office design standards have considered accessibility and automatic door openers have been installed where required by persons with mobility impairments
  1. Employment Standard

The OHS is committed to inclusive and accessible employment practices that attract and retain individuals with disabilities. We have taken the following steps to notify the public and employees that, when requested, the OHS will accommodate people with disabilities throughout the recruitment and onboarding process.


The OHS is committed to ensure that our recruitment and assessment processes are fair and accessible. The OHS has taken the following steps to ensure compliance with this standard:

  • We specify that accommodation is available for applicants with disabilities in recruitment material, and with regards to interviews and assessments
  • When making offers of employment, we notify successful applicant of policies for accommodating employees with disabilities
  • We inform employees of policies supporting employees with disabilities and provide this information to new employees as soon as practicable after hiring
  • We provide updated information on accommodation policies to employees when changes occur.

Documented Individual Accommodation Plans

The OHS is committed to supporting individual accommodation consistent with its policy on accommodation, including respect for the employee’s privacy throughout the process.

Return to Work

The OHS is committed to developing and adhering to return-to-work plans for employees that have been absent due to a disability, consistent with its established policy on same.

The policy includes steps the OHS will take to facilitate the return-to-work process.

Performance Management, Career Development & Redeployment

The OHS is committed to ensuring the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities are considered in performance management, career development and redeployment. Its Human Resource policies and procedures include steps to ensure same.

  1. Procurement

When procuring or acquiring goods or services or facilities, the OHS will incorporate accessibility criteria and features. Where applicable, procurement documents will specify the desired accessibility criteria to be met and provide guidelines for the evaluation of proposals in respect of those criteria.

Where the OHS determines that it is not possible to incorporate accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, the OHS will provide a written explanation upon request.

When tendering for goods, services and facilities, accessibility criteria are included in the request for proposal.  RFP templates include the following to address AODA procurement requirements:

  • Through our obligation under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 and the AODA 2005, the OHS strives to meet the highest level of universal accessibility. All products and components proposed in response to our procurement practices are to meet or exceed the minimum standards for accessibility. Suppliers are solely responsible for familiarizing themselves with this legislation to ensure their proposed products and components meet or exceed the minimum standards for accessibility.
  • Learning and performance has built-in additional accessibility criteria for the procurement of learning services and eLearning products.
  • Accessibility design, criteria and features are incorporated into the procurement of redesign of any space owned or leased by the OHS.
  • An internal screening tool will be developed to help identify AODA requirements when new projects are initiated.
  1. Self-service kiosks and computer stations

This section does not pertain to the OHS.

  1. Transportation Standard

This section does not pertain to the OHS.

  1. Design of Public Spaces

The OHS’s West Hunt Club facility was designed and built in 2011 based on current accessibility guidelines, to create a community space accessible to all members of our community.

The OHS will establish plans to meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to public spaces. The OHS will take appropriate measures to prevent service disruptions to accessible parts of its public spaces. In the event of a service disruption, we will notify the public of the service disruptions and alternatives available.

  1. Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilitates 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 Municipal Animal Shelter/Admissions entrance and the Education Centre entrance.

  1. Contact Details

For more information on this accessibility plan, please contact:

Doug Steringa, Director: Central Services

Ottawa Humane Society

245 West Hunt Club Road

Ottawa ON K2E 1A6

Phone: 613-725-3166 ext. 246


Our accessibility plan is publicly posted on the OHS website ( Standard and accessible formats of this document are available at no charge on request from Doug Steringa; see above.