Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal(Tribunal) and Board of Negotiation (BON)
Tribunal Accessibility, Policies, Practices and Procedures
These policies, practices and
procedures are designed to ensure that the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Appeal Tribunal continues to be accessible to all Ontarians, including Ontarians
with disabilities, and to comply with its legal requirements under the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
Disability is defined in Section
2 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as follows:
- any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation
or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and,
without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus,
epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical
co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment,
muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal
or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
- a condition
of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
- a learning disability,
or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or
using symbols or spoken language,
- a mental disorder, or
- an injury
or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance
plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997;
policies, practices and procedures may be amended by the Tribunal at any time.
Whenever new or revised standards are developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians
with Disabilities Act, this document will be reviewed and updated as necessary.
In the event these policies, practices and procedures are changed, an amended
document will be posted on the Tribunal's website.
This document will be
posted on the Tribunal's website at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/tribunal/index.html.
request, the Tribunal will provide the document or the information contained within
it in an alternative format appropriate to the particular needs of a person with
The Tribunal's policies, practices and procedures are designed
to meet provincial standards for customer service, information and communication.
Section 1 - Customer Service
Policy on the Provision of Services
to Persons with Disabilities
- The Tribunal
provides services to its clients; it does not provide goods.
- The Tribunal
is committed to being inclusive and accessible to all Ontarians and providing
barrier-free access to its hearings and to providing quality service to every
individual seeking its services.
- The Tribunal respects the principles
of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities.
- All persons receiving services from the Tribunal will be treated with
- All persons with disabilities receiving services from the Tribunal
who require accommodation will be accommodated to the extent possible. Accommodation
will be customized to each person according to individual needs.
the Tribunal specifically invites or requires a person to attend a hearing (e.g.
party, or witness who has been summoned) the Tribunal will ask the person to identify
accommodation needs as soon as possible but no later than ten business days before
the hearing. The Tribunal will then work with the person with a disability to
develop an accommodation plan to enable the person to participate fully. If notice
is received less than ten business days in advance, the Tribunal will accommodate
the person to the extent possible.
- The Tribunal will provide a sign language
interpreter, real-time captioner or other appropriate services if a party or witness
with a disability identifies that this type of accommodation is required.
with a disability who wish to attend a public hearing of the Tribunal and require
accommodation should notify the Tribunal of their accommodation needs as soon
as possible but no later than ten business days before the hearing. The Tribunal
will then work with the person with a disability to develop an accommodation plan
to enable the person to attend. If notice is received less than ten business days
in advance, the Tribunal will accommodate the person to the extent possible.
Chair of the Tribunal, or a Vice Chair acting in the capacity of the Chair, may
require that a person with a disability be accompanied by a support person while
on premises used by the Tribunal if a support person is necessary to protect the
health or safety of the person with the disability or the health and safety of
others on the premises.
- The Tribunal
offices are easily accessible to persons with disabilities. The Tribunal's hearing
room is located on the main floor of 1 Stone Road West in Guelph, which is a wheelchair
accessible building with ample parking for persons with disabilities. The building
has mechanized doors, accessible washrooms, wide walkways and clear signage. The
elevator controls are within easy reach of a person who uses a wheelchair/scooter,
and an automated voice announces the stop on each floor (English and French).
- Hearings held in Guelph, Ontario will normally be held in the Tribunal's
hearing room or in hotel meeting facilities in the vicinity. Hearings held for
matters under the Drainage Act are held in municipal offices near the location
of the municipal drain.
- In selecting meeting rooms for hearings held
off-site, preference will be given to accessible meeting rooms where possible.
held in rural areas will normally not be accessible by public transit. If a person
with a disability wishes to participate in such hearings, the individual will
be required to arrange their own transportation.
- In the event that it
is not possible to accommodate a person with a disability at a specific hearing,
the Tribunal will make alternative arrangements such that the person with a disability
may participate by teleconference or video conference. These situations will be
addressed on a case by case basis according to the individual's needs.
The Tribunal does not provide refreshments, other than water, at hearings. The
cafeteria at 1 Stone Road West in Guelph is wheelchair accessible. For hearings
held at locations other than 1 Stone Road West in Guelph, the Tribunal office
can be contacted to obtain information about the nearest accessible location for
beverage or food needs.
Availability of Information
- The Tribunal website is contained within the website of the Ontario Ministry
of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. OMAFRA uses the Ontario Public Service's
Enterprise Content Management System (Stellent) to ensure that the internet site
- Notices about upcoming hearings and decisions arising
from hearings are posted on the Tribunal's website.
- The Tribunal's general
enquiry telephone line is not equipped with TTY. However information can be obtained
from the Tribunal by contacting the Ministry's TTY telephone line at (519) 826-7402.
Alternatively, information can be obtained by e-mailing the Tribunal office at
- When a person with a disability identifies
the need to receive information in an alternative format, the Tribunal will provide
the information in a format that can be understood by the person requesting the
Use of Assistive Devices
with disabilities may use their own personal assistive devices (e.g. note taking
devices, walkers, oxygen tanks) when attending Tribunal hearings. The Tribunal
will not operate or otherwise handle a person's personal assistive device unless
invited to do so by the user or their support person.
Use of Service
Animals and Support Persons
it is known in advance that a person with a disability will be attending a hearing
and will be bringing a service animal, the Tribunal will:
- Determine a
suitable area for the service animal to relieve itself and communicate this to
the person with a disability on the day of the hearing.
- Have a water bowl
available for the use of the service animal.
- Provide seating that allows
space for the service animal to comfortably rest by the person with a disability.
sufficient time at breaks for the person with a disability to attend to the animal's
needs as well as their own needs.
- Ensure that the service animal is allowed
to enter the premises and remain with the person with a disability. Building security
will be notified that a service animal will be accompanying the client.
interact with or touch a service animal without the permission of the owner/handler.
- Any additional needs related to the use of a service
animal which are identified by a person with a disability will be considered on
a case by case basis.
- Where it is not known in advance that a service
animal will be present, efforts will be made to accommodate the person with the
service animal to the extent possible.
- Where it is not readily apparent
that an animal accompanying a person with a disability is a service animal, the
Tribunal will accept that the animal is a service animal if the person provides
a letter from a doctor or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal
for reasons relating to the disability, or that the person provides documentation
that he or she is certified as a handler of a service animal.
- There are
no areas in the offices of the Tribunal where service animals are excluded by
- Where it is known in
advance that a person with a disability will be accompanied by a support person
, the Tribunal will:
- Ensure there is adequate seating and ensure that
the support person can sit next to the person with a disability.
that the person with the disability is not prevented from having access to the
support person while on the Tribunal's premises or facilities rented for a hearing.
copies of any written hearing material to both the person with a disability and
the support person.
- Ensure adequate lighting, location and space for a
sign language interpreter, real-time captioner or other appropriate service, if
one is to be present.
- Ensure that there is adequate space for any equipment
that the support person will be using (e.g. real time caption steno, laptop and
- Notify the person with a disability that he or she and any support
person are responsible for parking fees for attending Tribunal hearings at 1 Stone
Road West in Guelph, and are responsible for paying any parking fees that may
be required for attending hearings at off-site locations.
- Notify the
person with a disability that when parking in a parking spot reserved for persons
with disabilities at 1 Stone Road West in Guelph, an accessible parking permit
must be visible in the vehicle.
- Where it is not known in advance
that a support person will be accompanying the person with a disability, an effort
will be made to accommodate the person with the support person to the extent possible.
matters of a confidential nature are to be discussed with a person with a disability
who is accompanied by a support person, the Tribunal will require:
person with a disability to consent to sharing confidential information with the
- The support person to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Notification of Temporary Disruptions in the Provision
- Individuals seeking a hearing before the Tribunal
or information about the hearing process may contact the Tribunal office by telephone,
e-mail, fax or by mail. Information about the Tribunal, its procedures, upcoming
hearings and recent decisions can also be found on the Tribunal's website. Because
the Tribunal resides within the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,
and its telephone, fax, e-mail and website services are supplied by the Ministry,
in the event that the Tribunal's telephone, fax, website or e-mail is temporarily
unavailable to the public for more than 48 hours, the Ministry will provide advance
notice of their unavailability and the reason that it is to be unavailable.
the event that there is a planned temporary disruption in services that is expected
to last for less than 48 hours, no advance notice will be given.
In the event there is an unanticipated disruption of service that is expected
to last for more than 48 hours, the Ministry will provide information about the
disruption and the anticipated date that the service will once again be available,
if known, on websites or telephone general enquiry lines operated by the Ministry,
whichever is still operational.
Where there is a disruption in
services in the premises where the Tribunal is holding a hearing, the Tribunal
will post a notice at the hearing location advising of the disruption, its anticipated
duration if known, and alternative arrangements for the hearing if any.
Feedback and Responding to Complaints
- Feedback on the
provision of services to persons with a disability may be made by:
mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facsimile transmission to 519-826-4232
- Letter or e-text on compact disk readable with Microsoft
Suite software mailed to
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2
- Requests for using
alternative mechanisms for giving feedback will be considered on a case by case
- The Tribunal will acknowledge receipt of a verbal complaint within
two business days, and complaints by mail or e-mail within five business days.
If a complaint is received, where possible, it will be addressed immediately.
If a complaint cannot be addressed immediately, the acknowledgement will advise
that the matter will be reviewed, and a response on the status of the matter will
be provided within 30 days.
Section 2 - Information and
The Tribunal will communicate with persons with disabilities
in ways that take into account their disability. This means that Tribunal members
and staff will communicate in a manner that enables persons with various disabilities
to communicate effectively for the purpose of participating in hearings before
Section 3 - Training
- Within three months of
their appointment to the Tribunal, all appointees are to receive training on:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
- The requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service
- The Tribunal's accessibility policies, practices and procedures.
- How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disability,
including those who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service
animal or support person.
- How to use equipment/devices on the Tribunal's
premises that may help with the provision of goods and services to a person with
- What to do if a person with a particular type of disability
is having difficulty accessing the Tribunal's services.
training will be provided to current appointees prior to December 31, 2009.
In the event the Tribunal makes any changes to its accessibility policies, practices
or procedures, it will ensure that all members are familiar with the change and
receive any additional training that may be required as a result of the change.
- Training may be provided by employees in the Ontario Public Service,
an outside service provider, a web-based training module or through the provision
of written training materials. Accessibility training will be incorporated into
orientation sessions for new members as deemed appropriate.
- Records of
training including the names of individuals who receive the training, the number
trained and the dates on which they receive the training are to be kept by the
- All employees of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs who support the Tribunal are to receive a copy of the Tribunal's
accessibility policies, procedures and practices and training materials. Tribunal
staff are employees of OMAFRA who will train its employees on the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and how to interact with persons with disabilities.
Section 4 - Reporting
The Tribunal shall file annual accessibility
reports in a form approved by the Minister of Community and Social Services as
prescribed in Section 14 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act. Additional reports will be filed as required. Accessibility reports shall
be made available to the public on request.
Section 5 - Procedures for
Ensuring Hearings are Accessible
- All formal notices of hearings are
to include a reference to the Tribunal's accessibility policies, practices and
procedures and information on how to contact the Tribunal should accommodation
- When a person with a disability notifies the Tribunal office
that an accommodation is required, the Tribunal Coordinator or Tribunal Assistant
will be the contacts between the person with a disability and the Tribunal.
Tribunal Coordinator or the Tribunal Assistant will discuss accommodation requirements
and options with the person with a disability and will develop a plan to accommodate
- The accommodation plan shall specify:
- Any changes
in room configuration, furniture requirements and lighting required.
requirements for specialty equipment.
- Any adjustments that may be made
to the hearing (e.g. breaks) that may be required.
- Any modifications that
may be required to the format of documents or alternative communication methods.
- Whether or not a service animal or support person will be accompanying
the individual, and any special needs of the animal or support person.
Tribunal Chair or a Vice Chair acting in that capacity will review the accommodation
plan. If the Chair/Vice Chair is of the view that it is not possible to implement
the accommodation plan then the plan may be modified, in consultation with the
person with a disability, or service may be provided to the individual in an alternative
format. If there is any concern as to the health and safety of any individual
attending the hearing, it will be addressed prior to the date of the hearing.
- The Tribunal Coordinator or Tribunal Assistant will be responsible for
ensuring that the approved accommodation plan is implemented and shall ensure
that the person with a disability is provided with:
- A contact number
to call in the event there is any difficulty accessing the meeting room on the
day of the hearing, and/or assistance in reaching an area of the room reserved
to accommodate the person with a disability.
- Information on the location
of accessible restaurants in the area of the meeting, if needed.
on fees that are payable to access the building (i.e. parking).
- Any additional
information required for the service animal or support person, if one is used
(e.g. location for service animal to relieve itself).
- The Tribunal
Coordinator or Tribunal Assistant will inform building security if a service animal
is to accompany the person with a disability.
Practice for Booking
Off-site Meeting Rooms
- For hearing functions that are held
off-site, Tribunal staff will inquire as to the accessibility features of the
available meeting rooms that meet the needs of the Tribunal with regard to location,
size, cost, available date and any additional hearing-specific requirements.
evaluating potential meeting rooms as to their suitability, Tribunal staff will
consider accessibility features, and will favour an accessible room over one that
is not, provided that it meets the needs of the Tribunal. Optional accessible
features (i.e. close captioning on screen feature) will not be ordered unless
the Tribunal knows that a person with a disability requiring the feature will
be in attendance.
- The Tribunal does not normally conduct pre-booking
site inspections of potential meeting rooms. The Tribunal relies upon the meeting
room provider to accurately represent the features of the meeting room.
for Assessing the Need for a Support Person
- The Chair
or Vice Chair will only require the person with a disability to be accompanied
by a support person when he/she finds that this is necessary to protect the health
or safety of the person with the disability or the health and safety of others
on the premises.
Section 6 - Questions About the Policy
anyone has a question about this policy, or wish to receive a copy of the policy,
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal
1 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2
Fax: (519) 826-4232
Telephone: (519) 826-3433
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext. 519-826-3433