Slide 5 - Module 3: Information and Communication Standards
There are four topics covered under the Information and Communication section of the standard:
- Feedback Processes;
- Accessible Formats and Communication Supports;
- Public Safety information and Library Services; and,
- Accessible websites and web content.
This section of the IASR establishes processes that organizations in Ontario must follow to create, provide, and receive information and communication in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Let’s start by watching this introduction on making Information and Communication accessible to all.
(Video by AccessForward on Information and Communication Standard plays- 2 minutes 30 seconds)
Slide 6 - City’s Feedback Process
Under the Accessible Customer Service Standard, we were required to establish a feedback process to receive and respond to feedback about how goods or services are delivered to people with disabilities. The IASR now states that the process must be accessible. (Picture depicting accessible customer interaction)
It is the City’s responsibility to receive and respond to feedback in an accessible format and with communication supports as requested. (Picture of Ottawa City Hall)
The City has many different and accessible ways by which people with disabilities can provide feedback. For example residents can provide feedback in person, in written format, by phone or TTY or online.
In addition to advertising our feedback process on Ottawa.ca, new signage on the accessibility of our services have been placed at all public facing service counters. (Picture of City signage regarding Accessibility Services)
Slide 7 - Accessible Formats and Communication Supports
The Legislation states that we must provide Accessible formats and Communication Supports.
This must be done:
- upon request;
- in a timely manner, that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs;
- in consultation with the individual making the request; and,
- at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
The cost to provide the accessible format and communication support is the responsibility of the department which produced the information.
You may think this sounds familiar because the City has had a multiple formats policy since 2001. This policy has been replaced with a new Accessible Formats and Communication Supports procedure located on Ottawa.ca. This new procedure outlines the steps to consider when a customer makes a request for an accessible format or communications support. (Screen shot of Ottawa.ca, accessibility resources pointing to this procedure) It also provides guidelines for communicating with people who have various disabilities.
Slide 8 - What are Accessible Formats and Communication Supports?
The most common Accessible Formats include:
- large print – for example, a document with a font of 18 point or larger to assist people with low vision;
- using accessible fonts in documents like Arial instead of stylized fonts;
- providing just the text from a power point slide deck in a word document so screen readers can easily follow; and
Commonly requested Communication Supports include:
- the use of an FM loop system to assists people who are hard of hearing at public forums or Council meetings; (picture of a crowd listening to a speaker)
- real time captioning which helps someone read what is being said at public events; (Picture of real-time captioning being used at a City event)
- captioning on videos;(Screen shot of video with captioning shown)
- sign language interpretation in either English or in French; (picture of person signing)
- screen readers like the BrowseAloud we have available for download on Ottawa.ca, (screen shot of Ottawa.ca- how to get BrowseAloud shown) or
- Something as simple as a plain language explanation of a complex City document.
This requirement applies to all information and communications provided to the public such as our garbage collection calendars, (screen shot displayed) Council reports (screen shot displayed) and recreation guides (screen shot displayed).
Although making our websites more accessible should decrease the number of requests for accessible formats and communication supports, we must still ensure we are meeting individual requests.
Slide 9 - Exceptions: Accessible Formats and Communication Supports
The IASR requirement does not apply to the following:
- Products and product labels;
- Information that you do not control directly or indirectly through a contract, unless your organization is involved in education or training;
- Information or communications that cannot be converted. For example, a technical drawing such as an architectural blueprint. In these case you need to provide the individual making the request with:
- An explanation as to why the information or communication are unconvertible, and
- A summary of the information or communications.
Slide 10 - Specific Accessible Formats and Communication Supports Requirements
The need to provide accessible formats and communication supports also applies to two specific areas of City business:
The First is for our prepared emergency procedures, plans and public safety information like our “Are You Ready” brochures. (A picture of the brochure is shown)
- Although we are not required to have accessible formats on hand, we need to recognize the critical nature of emergency and public safety information.
- Real-time emergency information (such as announcements and alarms) is not included in this requirement.
The second is for accessible Library materials where they exist.
As with all Accessible Formats and Communication Support requests, this should be done as soon as practicable which means:as soon as possible after a person with a disability makes a request taking into considerations the individuals specific requirements and the complexity of the document..
Slide 11 - Web Accessibility Requirements
New International website accessibility standards called the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” or WCAG must now be followed for all City content. This includes Council Reports, PDFs, videos, maps.
A few examples of what is now required are:
- including a transcript with videos,
- providing a written summary to explain a complex chart or map;
- including alt tags when using images; and,
- Using proper heading structure and applying styles in a Word document to assist in making PDF’s more accessible.
Targeted staff from each department who are responsible for web content have taken additional training on how to create accessible Word documents.
Please exit this activity and proceed to Module 4.