Accessibility Plan Pursuant To The Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2005
This Accessibility Plan for Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (“Blakes”) outlines the policies, practices and actions that Blakes will implement in its Ontario operations over a multi-year period (the “Plan”) to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The Plan also incorporates and references Blakes existing accessibility policies and practices in an effort to streamline the Firm’s efforts in achieving its accessibility goals, and to comply with all applicable laws.
1. Statement of Commitment
Blakes is committed to ensuring that we provide services to our clients and client representatives with disabilities in an accessible manner and in a way that respects the dignity and independence of those individuals. The Firm’s commitment to ensuring accessible service is part of our overall objectives of providing excellent client service and promoting diversity. We are committed to meeting the needs of all individuals with disabilities in a timely manner and will identify and remove barriers to accessibility in the Firm’s operations and services. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to ensuring compliance with the accessibility requirements contained in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations (“AODA”).
The Human Resources team at Blakes will be responsible for ensuring that the Firm implements the obligations contained in this Plan in accordance with this Statement of Commitment.
2. Customer Service
Blakes maintains an accessibility policy in respect of customer service, along with appropriate feedback mechanisms with respect to that policy. We remain committed to complying with this policy and will review it on an ongoing basis for any required changes in order to promote accessibility within our client service operations.
Blakes has procedures in place to notify the public of service disruptions to the accessible parts of our offices and to prevent such disruptions to the extent reasonably possible.
3. Accessible Emergency Information
Blakes is committed to providing clients and other third parties with any publicly available emergency information in an accessible manner, upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information where necessary, in accordance with AODA. Blakes takes steps to determine whether employees require individualized emergency response information as part of our on-boarding process for new employees and our continuing occupational health and safety planning.
Blakes has completed the training required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service under AODA and will continue to provide updated training to new staff as required.
Blakes will ensure that training is provided to employees, volunteers and other staff (including all persons who participate in the development of our policies and provide goods and services on our behalf) regarding AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it pertains to individuals with disabilities as required by AODA. The content and delivery of such training is determined based on the job duties of employees, volunteers and other staff and in consultation with the Firm’s internal training resources. This training has been offered through in-person seminar opportunities as well in an on-demand, online learning format that will allow us to track completion of the training program.
Following a review of our operations, it has been determined that the Firm does not maintain kiosks. However, to the extent that kiosks are acquired or operated in the future, Blakes will consider accessibility issues at that time.
6. Information and Communications
Blakes is committed to meeting the communication needs of individuals with disabilities. Blakes will, in consultation with such individuals, provide information and communications in an accessible format in a timely manner. Such information and communications will be provided at no cost or at a cost that is no more than any regular cost. Blakes will continue to develop practices to ensure that it can make information accessible to individuals with disabilities upon request.
Blakes is also committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities continue to have the ability to access the Firm’s feedback processes. Individuals will be notified about the accessibility of feedback processes in accordance with AODA.
Blakes will monitor the creation of any new Internet websites and content, including those Internet websites undergoing a significant refresh and as applicable will make those websites conform to WCAG 2.0 Level A as required by AODA. Blakes also recognizes its obligation under AODA to ensure the accessibility of its Iinternet websites in accordance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA (with certain exceptions) by January 1, 2021. On an ongoing basis, Blakes will ensure a process is in place to confirm these obligations as any new content or sites are created or existing content is significantly refreshed and to meet 2021 obligations.
Blakes is committed to accessible employment practices and to removing any barriers that prevent or hinder the recruitment, retention and career development of employees with disabilities. We take the following steps to ensure compliance with AODA:
Notify our employees, potential candidates and the public (including via our recruitment website) that Blakes accommodates people with disabilities as required by law, at all times during the recruitment and selection process and during the course of employment, including making such information available in accessible formats;
The Human Resources and leadership teams at Blakes will be trained with respect to accommodations for persons with disabilities to ensure that the needs of employees with disabilities are considered in performance management and career development processes and strategies;
Blakes has renewed its employment-related documentation for Ontario employees to ensure that such documentation is compliant with AODA and its regulations; and
The Firm will ensure its continuing commitment to developing individual accommodation and return-to-work plans whenever appropriate.
8. Design of Public and Client Spaces
Blakes will meet its AODA accessibility obligations in respect of the design of public and client spaces when building or making major modifications to these spaces, including meeting rooms, reception and waiting areas. Blakes ensures that our leadership and facilities teams are fully aware of AODA requirements and will work with relevant designers, engineers, builders, and other experts and third parties involved in the builds or modifications to ensure that all necessary requirements are met.
9. Modification of the Plan
This Plan will be reviewed and updated by Blakes at least every five years. At the time of revision, information regarding any new accessibility policies and practices adopted by Blakes in accordance with the Plan or otherwise will be included in the revised Plan.
For more information regarding the Plan, please contact:
Address: 199 Bay Street, Suite 4000, Commerce Court West, Toronto, Ontario M5L 1A9