Leading up to the beginning of this year, we assisted many of our employer clients in implementing the customer service standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”). Since we are also an employer, we are similarly bound by the AODA and have taken our own steps to comply. We had an experience on the training side of our business that really helped illustrate AODA compliance in action.
As many of you know, Rubin Thomlinson offers a wide range of training programs, including many sessions involving workplace investigation techniques. We had an inquiry from a potential registrant for one of our sessions who is visually impaired and needed specific accommodations in order to allow him to fully benefit from the training session. In order to comply with the AODA and make the experience an educational one, we invited the participant to provide us with a breakdown of his needs which he did via e-mail.
The participant’s list included some simple things such as providing him with a seat close to the front of the room, away from the window and close to a power source. He also asked that the presenters make sure to read aloud all notes written on flip charts throughout the session and also make mention of specific page numbers being referenced in the materials. The participant further asked to be provided with all written materials in advance so that he would have a chance to review them, and we agreed to provide most of them. However, we did suggest that certain specific materials be provided at the conclusion of the session since we were concerned that providing it in advance would detract from the participant’s learning experience, and he agreed.
We were pleased to be able to make a few small modifications to how we normally do things in order to allow an attendee to obtain the maximum benefit from one of our sessions, particularly because none of the participant’s requests interfered with the learning experience of others attending the program. One of the other added benefits of this session was that there may have been some people in the room who might have been surprised to learn that a visually impaired individual could conduct a workplace investigation. Compliance with the AODA and the participants unique needs was an excellent reminder that each of us brings to this work our own individual strengths and challenges.