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Avondale United Church, Stratford Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy Statement
June 14, 2016

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This policy contains statements that meet the requirements of the Customer Service Standard and other items that are good practices. This policy will be revised as other standards are introduced under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. This policy has been updated from an earlier document from Central United Church, adopted by that church council on January 10, 2012. This policy reflects a unified view of accessibility as conceptualized by the Avondale United Church Accessibility Committee. It is prepared for approval at the Council Meeting on June 14, 2016.

  1. Our Mission

    The Mission of Avondale United Church in Stratford is:

    “As a community of equals we believe in God and Jesus of Nazareth who teaches us to respect, care for, love, and forgive one another as we continue to ponder our faith.

    Our mission is directed toward:

    • Inclusiveness of all
    • Service that reaches beyond ourselves
    • Being guardians who care for our Earth”
  2. Our Commitment

    In fulfilling our mission, Avondale United Church is committed to ensuring all people are able to fully participate to the extent of their abilities. We will work to remove barriers and attitudes that exclude people from full, active and meaningful participation. All people are encouraged to practice their faith and use their gifts in worship, service, study, leadership and all aspects of our faith community.

  3. Providing Programs, Goods and Services to all People

    Avondale United Church is committed to excellence in serving all participants with varying abilities. We will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

    • Congregational Life
    • Worship
    • Faith and Formation
    • Outreach
    • Pastoral Care
    • Sponsored Groups

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3.1 Communication

  • ü  We will communicate with people in ways that take into account their abilities.
  • ü  We will provide publications in formats that are accessible for all people.
  • ü  We will train staff and volunteers on how to interact and communicate with people with a

    range of abilities.

3.2 Telephone Services

  • ü  We are committed to providing accessible telephone services to our participants.
  • ü  We will train office staff/volunteers to communicate with participants over the telephone in

    clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.

  • ü  We will offer to communicate with participants by methods of communication that will provide

    meaningful interaction including: email, hearing devices, large print versions and an accessible public telephone.

3.3 Assistive Devices

  • ü  We are committed to serving people who use assistive devices to participate in and benefit from our programs, goods and services.
  • ü  We will ensure that people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access the sanctuary for worship and other applicable programs, goods and services.
  • ü  We will familiarize ushers and other staff/volunteers with the various assistive devices that may be used by participants while accessing our programs, goods and services.
  • ü  Avondale United Church will provide assistive devices it deems necessary for accessing worship and other applicable programs, goods and services. These include a functional sound system and a large screen for visual presentation.
  • ü  Ushers and other staff/volunteers will be trained on how to use the assistive devices available on our premises, including:

    o Hearing assists

    o Larger print bulletins

  • ü  Upon a participant’s request, we will make every effort to assist the individual to access the

    requested assistive device and/or service.

3.4 Use of Service Animals and Support Persons

  • ü  We are committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a service animal on parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties.
  • ü  We will ensure that all staff, volunteers and others serving participants are trained on how to interact with people who are accompanied by a service animal.
  • ü  We are committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a support person. Any person who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Avondale United Church premises with his or her support person.
  • ü  Fees will not be charged for support persons accompanying a participant to any Avondale United Church function as advertised by way of announcement, radio, bulletin and/or website.

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3.5 Notice of Temporary Disruption

Avondale United Church will provide participants with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice will be delivered to participants by means of Sunday announcements, website, local radio, email broadcast, posted notice and/or personal call/letter.

Accessibility Committee/Officer

  • ü  We are committed to designating an Accessibility Committee with a designated Officer who chairs the committee to oversee all issues relating to accessibility in consultation with the Board/Council.
  • ü  This committee shall be comprised of but not limited to representatives from various committees responsible for the life and work of the church, champions of accessibility, professionally or personally interested in accessibility and at least one member of the staff.
  • ü  The Accessibility Officer/Committee will have several roles:

o The officer/committee will establish policies on providing accessible programs,

goods and services to participants that are in compliance with the Accessibility

Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07.
o The officer/committee will monitor our programs, goods and services to ensure that

practices and procedures are consistent with our governing policies.
o The officer/committee will coordinate accessibility training and training materials for

all relevant staff and volunteers, making use of all available, current materials.
o The officer/committee will ensure that assistive devices provided by our church are

in good working order and that requests for assistive devices are met, as per

approval from the Board/Council.
o The officer/committee will be responsible for developing feedback procedures,

reviewing feedback on accessibility and responding to any complaints or concerns.

Training for Staff and Volunteers

Avondale United Church’s Accessibility Committee will be responsible for coordinating training for all employees, volunteers and others who are serving participants, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of accessibility policies, practices and procedures. The committee shall review policy and materials annually and update training materials as needed.

Individuals holding the following positions will be trained:

o Council Executive
o Council members and all ancillary committee memberso Staff including administrative staff and maintenance
o Volunteers

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Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of Avondale United Church is to support all people to have access to our programs, goods and services. Comments on our programs, goods and services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
ü Feedback regarding the way Avondale United Church provides programs, goods and services to

all people can be made by using the feedback form and suggestion box, written submission to the Accessibility Committee and/or email or verbally shared with any member of the Accessibility Committee.

  • ü  All feedback received in any other form will be directed to the Accessibility Officer/Committee.
  • ü  Participants can expect to receive an acknowledgment of their comments within 10 working

    days.

  • ü  Confidentiality will be respected

    Suggestions for improvement, concerns and/or complaints will be reviewed and a record of all submissions and actions will be documented by the Accessibility Committee and made available to the congregation.

    Modifications to this or Other Policies

    We are committed to maintaining accessibility policy and practices that respect and promote the dignity and independence of all people.
    Ø No changes, therefore, will be made to this policy before considering the impact on all people

    who participate or may participate in programs, goods and services of Avondale United Church.Ø Any policy of Avondale United Church that does not respect and promote the dignity and

    independence of all people will be modified or removed.

    Questions about This Policy

    This policy seeks to achieve service excellence to all participants of Avondale United Church. If anyone has a question about the policy, or its purpose, an explanation or reply will be provided by the Accessibility Committee Chairperson.

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Appendix I – NOTICE FOR OBTAINING FEEDBACK

To be included in newsletter and posted on suggestion box: Dear Member, Adherent or Visitor to Avondale United Church

We strive to improve accessibility for all who visit our space. We would like to hear your comments, questions and suggestions about the provision of our programs, goods and services so that all people have access to full, active and meaningful participation. Participant feedback forms are available with our suggestion box, from our office or on our website (website address).

Address your concerns to the Accessibility Committee Officer; you may also request a copy of our Accessibility Policy. You can also leave your feedback form in the suggestion box located outside Fellowship Hall.

Thank you!

Avondale United Church Accessibility Committee:
Marion Douglas, Hilda Emerson, Marilyn Finnigan, Julie Patterson, Terri Sparling (Accessibility Officer),, Kathi Urbasik-Hindley (staff representative) and Maribeth Youngblut

Appendix II – ACCESSIBILITY FEEDBACKParticipant Feedback Form

Thank you for attending Avondale United Church. We value all people and strive to be a community where everyone is welcome and has access to full, active and meaningful participation.

Please tell us the date and time you attended Avondale United Church: ______________________

Did we respond to your needs today (Circle one)? Yes No

Were our programs and services accessible to you? (Circle one)
Yes (please explain below) Somewhat (please explain below) No

Were our programs/service provided to you in an accessible manner (Circle one)? ____Yes _____Somewhat ______No

Please add any other comments you may have: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Contact information: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you
Avondale United Church Accessibility Committee

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Appendix III – ACCESSIBILITY FEEDBACKRecord of Participant Feedback

Date feedback received: __________________________________________________________ Name of participant (optional): ____________________________________________________ Contact information (if appropriate)*:

(*Please note: This personal information is maintained by the Accessibility Committee and no identifying information is shared beyond the committee.)________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________

Details: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Follow-up: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Action to be taken: ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Accessibility Officer/Committee Member: ____________________________________________ Date: _____________________________

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