1. Purpose and Policy Statement Guiding Principles
LiveDifferent is committed to ensuring we meet the service needs of all individuals. This policy describes how LiveDifferent provides its programs, goods and services in a manner that respects the dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity of all people.
The following principles guide LiveDifferent’s efforts regarding accessibility:
Access: Individuals should have barrier-free access to places, events and other functions.
Equality: Individuals should have barrier-free access to those things that will give them equality of opportunity and outcome.
Universal design: Access should be provided in a manner that does not establish or perpetuate differences.
Systemic responsibility: The responsibility to prevent and remove barriers rests with the person or organization that is responsible for establishing or perpetuating the barrier.
Efforts will be made to provide all persons an equal opportunity related to all aspects of LiveDifferent programming and employment by focusing on the following key areas:
1: Customer Service accessibility addresses business practices and training requirements to provide better customer service.
2: Employment accessibility addresses practices related to employee recruitment, hiring and retention.
3: Information and Communications accessibility to address barriers to accessing information whether provided in print, in person, on websites or in other formats.
4: Design of Public Spaces accessibility to address access to areas such as sidewalks, pathways, parks and other aspects of the environment that LiveDifferent designs and constructs.
5: Transportation accessibility to address barriers people might encounter while participating in LiveDifferent’s programs.
It is important to note that there will be some situations where accommodations and adaptations cannot be made to improve accessibility. For example, some communities, due to their location and construction, are virtually inaccessible to people with mobility needs.
a. Assistive Device – is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. An assistive device may be provided by the individual or may be provided by LiveDifferent in the form of lifts, ramps, wheelchair, audio and visual enhancements, etc.
b. Barrier – anything that interacts with a disability in a way that may hinder the person’s full and effective participation in society on an equal basis. Examples include a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier or a barrier established or perpetuated by an enactment, a policy or a practice.
c. Disability –
i. any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness,
ii. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
iii. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
iv. a mental disorder, or
v. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received.
d. Service Animal – an animal used by a person for reasons relating to his or her disability.
e. Support Person – a person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.z
a. All employees are responsible for:
i. Providing documents in suitable formats, upon request.
ii. Notifying the Director of the relevant program or service of any service disruption.
iii. Reporting to the Director of the relevant program or service any feedback received from clients regarding the accessibility of LiveDifferent’s services.
iv. Notifying the Chief Operating Officer of any additional budgeting or training requirements to comply with this policy.
b. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for:
i. Providing notice to clients of any service disruption, in compliance with this policy.
ii. Inviting and responding to feedback from clients and forwarding a report to the Chief Executive Officer.
iii. Monitoring and reporting on compliance measures.
iv. Updating and interpreting this policy.
v. Communicating the accessibility procedures to all relevant parties.
vi. Confirming all staff and volunteers receive training to comply with this policy.
vii. Maintaining training records.
viii. Administering the feedback process and responding to clients.
ix. Providing individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability, where necessary.
4. Providing Services to People with Disabilities
Assistive devices and supports
We will ensure that employees receive training, when needed, and are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our services. Service animals and support persons are welcomed. Service animals are permitted in all areas of our premises.
Specifically related to LiveDifferent Builds and Academy: LiveDifferent’s fee structure consists of two elements: a donation to cover the costs of building structures, etc. and personal costs associated with travel, accommodations and food. Support persons will not be charged the donation amount when they are supporting someone who is taking part in LiveDifferent’s programs.
We will communicate with people in ways that take into account their disability. If the material introduces barriers for any customer, LiveDifferent will work with the person to determine the suitability of an alternative format or communication support.
We have made efforts to ensure our website is accessible by taking the following steps:
Consistent Site Structure and Layout: LiveDifferent’s website has a consistent structure, so visitors will be able to easily understand and navigate through all pages on the site.
The site has been designed to be navigable by keyboard. Visitors can navigate using a combination of the tab key and keyboard arrows to move through the site without the use of a mouse or trackpad. When navigating through the links and input form fields using the tab key, the element that has keyboard focus is highlighted visually with a visible highlight around the element.
For images where the content of the image will add additional context or enhance your understanding of the site, we’ve added alternative text. These descriptions (alternative text attributes) replace the information that would be conveyed by images for visitors using screen readers or when the images are turned off.
Images that are decorative only and image descriptions that only duplicate content already available as text, are hidden from screen readers or when images are turned off.
Use of Colour
The website does not include content or functionality which relies on colour alone to convey key information.
The purpose of all links on the site is clear so you will know where each link goes before you click on it. Whenever possible, the link destination will be clear from both the link or button text and the content immediately above where the link appears.
Wherever the link or button text may not be easily understood out of context, a ‘title tag’, ’label’ or other accessible markup has been provided for additional context for those visiting the site using assistive devices.
To improve site accessibility for visitors using screen readers who may not be able to see the form ‘placeholder content’ in input forms or buttons, we have added extra markup accessible to screen readers to ensure labels and form instructions are accessible.
Screen Reader Only Labels and Instructions
When needed, to add extra context, user instructions and information helpful to visitors using screen readers, we have added additional labelling and instructions available for screen readers only.
External Links and PDFs
Some documents on the site are in PDF format which will open in a new browser window. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to be able to open PDF files. Adobe’s free reader includes support for screen readers to read PDF documents. You can download the reader free from Adobe: Download Adobe Acrobat Reader (external link) (URL to link to https://get.adobe.com/reader/)
We have added CAPTCHAs to some of our forms. CAPTCHAs are used to ensure that forms are being filled in by human beings and not robots by requesting that before submitting the form, the site visitor complete basic tasks that cannot be easily replicated by bots. CAPTCHA are typically difficult to make fully accessible. To improve form accessibility, we’ve chosen to use a CAPTCHA designed with accessibility in mind that includes an option to use an audio test rather than a visual one.
5. Training for Staff and Volunteers
LiveDifferent will provide training to all employees and to those volunteers who provide service to the public on the organization’s behalf.
This training will be provided to new staff upon hire and given to new volunteers prior to them engaging in service provision to our clients.
Training will include:
a. How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
b. How to interact with people who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
c. What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing LiveDifferent’s programs
d. Other training around cultural awareness and diversity
6. Feedback Process
Individuals who wish to provide feedback related to this policy or its operationalization are encouraged to connect with the Chief Operating Officer using whatever format the individual prefers.
Individuals providing feedback can expect to hear back within ten business days. Complaints will be addressed according to our organization’s regular complaint management procedures.
7. Modification to this or other policies
Any policy of LiveDifferent that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of all people will be modified or removed.