Commitment to Accessibility
Northbridge Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Northbridge”) are committed to providing an open and accessible work environment for all clients, brokers, employees and the general public. In the act of providing its services, Northbridge will make reasonable effort to remove any barriers to accessibility under the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by ensuring its policies, practices and procedures, whether on or outside Northbridge controlled premises, are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.
This Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (“Plan”) outlines Northbridge’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet its requirements under the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
The Integrated Accessibility Standards-Multi-Year Plan will be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that our organization meets the requirements.
Part I – General Requirements
Establishment of Accessibility Policies
Northbridge’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Policy (“Policy”) describing how Northbridge achieves or will achieve accessibility, is posted on Northbridge’s website. The Policy is available in an accessible format upon request.
A multi-year plan outlines Northbridge’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet the requirements under the Accessibility Act and Regulations. The Accessibility Plan is available in an accessible format upon request. The Accessibility Plan will be reviewed every 5 years.
A training policy and program on the regulation and Human Rights code was developed. All affected employees, volunteers and other persons specified in the Integrated Accessibility Standards (IAS) will receive training on the requirement of the accessibility standards. Records of the training will be retained by Northbridge.
Part II – Information and Communications Standards
Feedback, Accessible Formats & Communication Supports
Northbridge will continue to ensure that its process for receiving and responding to feedback is accessible to persons with disabilities. Northbridge will also, in a timely manner, provide or arrange for the provision of, accessible formats and communications supports to individuals with disabilities, upon request. In doing so, Northbridge will take into account, through consultation with the individual, the individual’s accessibility needs and the suitability of the format or communication support to his or her disability.
Accessible Websites & Web Content
Any new Northbridge internet websites and web content is conformed to the WCAG 2.0 standards presently required under the IAS. All of Northbridge’s internet websites and web content (other than for applicable exceptions) will conform to the WCAG 2.0 standards required in the timelines and as required by the IAS to be conformed to in the future.
Deadline: January 1, 2021.
Part III – Employment Standards
Recruitment – General
Northbridge has identified the forums (both internal and external) on which Northbridge recruitment opportunities are posted. Notification of availability of accommodation for persons with disabilities will be provided in relation to such postings.
Recruitment, Assessment or Selection Process
Northbridge accommodates applicants with disabilities in its recruitment process. Northbridge will notify job applicants, when individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process, that accommodations in relation to the materials or processes to be used are available upon request. If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, Northbridge will consult with the applicant and provide, or arrange for the provision of, a suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s accessibility needs due to his or her disability.
Notice to Successful Applicants
When making offers of employment, Northbridge will notify the successful applicant of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.
Informing Employees of Supports
Northbridge will continue to inform its employees of its policies, and of any change to its policies, which are used to support employees with disabilities, including policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account accessibility needs. This information will be provided to new employees as soon as is practicable after commencing employment.
Accessible Formats & Communication Supports for Employees
Upon the request of an employee with a disability, Northbridge will consult with the employee in order to provide, or arrange for the provision of, accessible formats and communication supports for information that is needed to perform the employee’s job and for information that is generally available to other employees. Northbridge will also consult with the employee making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support.
Workplace Emergency Response Information
Northbridge will provide individualized workplace emergency response information to disabled employees (and to persons designated by Northbridge to provide emergency assistance to such employees, where required), as necessary and when made aware of such necessity for accommodation. The individualized workplace emergency response information will be reviewed as required by the IAS.
Documented Individual Accommodation Plans
Northbridge has developed and implemented an accommodation policy, which includes elements required by the IAS, and for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.
Return to Work Process
Northbridge’s Short-term disability policy has been amended accordingly to include sections relating to the provision of employees with disabilities returning to work.
Northbridge will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, in its performance management of such individuals.
Career Development & Advancement
Northbridge will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when providing career development and advancement to such individuals.
Northbridge will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when re-deploying such individuals.
Part IV – Built Standards
Exterior Paths of Travel, Service Counters and Waiting Areas
Currently this Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) does not apply to our core business or strategic direction; however, Northbridge will ensure that, from January 1, 2017, any exterior paths of travel that it constructs or redevelops, any newly constructed service counters or waiting areas and any redeveloped waiting areas meet the built requirements as contemplated in the IAS. Northbridge will ensure that contractors performing such construction or redevelopment adhere to these requirements.
Maintenance of Accessible Elements
Northbridge will, from January 1, 2017, conduct preventative and emergency maintenance of the accessible parts of the above-mentioned exterior paths of travel, service counters and waiting areas and will also remediate temporary disruptions where the accessible parts of the above-mentioned exterior paths of travel, service counters and waiting areas are not in working order, as contemplated in the IAS. Northbridge will ensure that contractors performing such maintenance and remediation adhere to these requirements.