All Humber College staff are being required to complete a new online accessibility awareness training program in the wake of changes to the Accessibility Awareness Training Act, aligned with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
The training’s objective is to educate staff on the proper integration of students with special needs. It guides staff members to identify barriers, provide strategies, and give the proper resources to help students with special learning requirements to excel.
Some changes to the AODA include the requirement that all staff must complete the training, rather than just staff who had first-hand interactions with individuals with special needs. The theme is that before anyone makes any assumptions about an affected individual, they must approach them first to better understand their needs.
A business or non-profit with 50 or more employees must put its accessible customer service policy in writing and make it available to people who request it, either posted publicly or on a website. On request, it must be provided in accessible format or with communication support, on request.
“The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act applies to all levels of government, nonprofits, private and public sector organizations in Ontario that have one or more employees,” said Michael Thompson, equity generalist at Humber.
“As a public sector organization, Humber College is required to train all members of the organization on accessibility standards and how to interact with persons with disabilities.”
The reasoning for this new requirement from the staff, Thompson explained, is that, “on July 1, 2016 new legislative changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act came into effect. As part of these changes, Humber was required to revise its training on Accessible Customer Service Standards for all employees.”
Thompson said employees were notified through bimonthly postings in the online staff newsletter, the Communique.
“Information about the trainings may also be communicated through other means, such as email, workshops, by phone, or through another Humber media,” said Thompson.
Thompson added that, “the online trainings have proven to be an effective and an accessible method of training for employees. Humber maintains a completion rate of 90 percent and higher.”
Humber is home to about 36 students with intellectual disabilities each year and works to ensure the students are given the guidance they require.
Thompson says that staff will be monitored through records of completion for each of the trainings.