The Archdiocese of Toronto and its associated parishes are committed to providing a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment for all of its parishioners, visitors, volunteers and employees. We work to ensure that the standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA,) 2005 are conscientiously observed and all of our parishes provide a welcoming and equal opportunity for worship.
Our family of faith works to assure that all persons within our community are aware of their responsibilities to foster an accessible and inclusive environment for persons with disabilities. Our belief, that encouraging an atmosphere that respects the worth, dignity and independence of all people as children of God, creates an accessible, inclusive and welcoming environment for worship. To ensure greater awareness and responsiveness to the needs of a person with disabilities, the Archdiocese will provide training for clergy, staff and volunteers who provide pastoral care or service to parishioners or members of the parish.
The Archdiocese established a Multi-year Accessibility Plan which outlines the specific steps we are taking to prevent and remove barriers and comply with current and future requirements of the AODA. The plan will be provided in an accessible format upon request and the Archdiocese will review the plan on a yearly basis to highlight our progress. The plan is available on the Archdiocese of Toronto website at www.archtoronto.org/about-us/safe-environment/accessibility.
The Archdiocese will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We will work with the person with a disability to determine what method of communication works for them.
Training will be provided to all employees, volunteers, contractors and other third parties; persons involved in the creation of policies; and all others who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the Archdiocese. This includes management and senior leaders of our organization, even though they may not be directly involved in providing goods or services to people with disabilities. It is important that the policy makers understand areas that must be covered in the training.
Each person will receive training as soon as practicable after he or she is assigned the applicable duties and will be trained on an ongoing basis, in connection with changes to the policies, practices and procedures governing the provisions of goods or services to persons with disabilities.
Training will include the following:
People with disabilities have the right to use their own assistive devices to participate in the sacraments and diverse ministries within the parish, contributing to full and active involvement in our faith community. The Archdiocese will make every effort to ensure that all people dealing with our parishioners and guests including clergy, lay leaders, volunteers and staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by persons who have disabilities.
Examples of assistive devices include:
The Archdiocese and its parishes will make every reasonable effort to provide accessible telephone service to our parishioners and other community members engaged in the activities of the church. We will train clergy, lay leaders, staff and volunteers to communicate over the telephone in clear and plain language and become familiar with telephone technologies used by people with disabilities. We will offer to communicate with people by alternate means such as hard copy mail, email or in person if use of the telephone is not a suitable communication vehicle.
Our parishes are committed to welcoming people with disabilities accompanied by a support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented to having access to that support person. Fees must be waived for support persons for admission to an event hosted in a parish for which a fee is charged.
There are certain cases when it might be necessary for a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person on our premises. You must first discuss the situation with the person and consider available evidence before you determine that:
Our parishes are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. We will train our clergy, lay leaders, staff and volunteers in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals.
Service animals are animals specifically trained to assist people with disabilities in their activities of independent living. They are not considered pets but rather an auxiliary aid similar to the use of a cane, crutch, or wheelchair.
Examples of service animals include:
A person accompanied by a service animal is not required to disclose the nature of their disability. When we cannot easily identify that an animal is a service animal, a letter can be requested from the following health professionals: speech-language pathologists, chiropractors, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, physicians and surgeons, physiotherapists, psychologists, registered psychotherapists and registered mental health therapists.
The Archdiocese and its parishes will provide a public notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
The notice will be placed in a suitable location.
A best practice is to prepare a template in advance and decide where you want to post the notification. You may want specific templates prepared for chronic problems or anything with a regular scheduled maintenance shutdown.
The Archdiocese and our parishes welcome feedback about our accessibility policy and services. Comments can be made in person, over the telephone, in writing and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to a parish office. Parishioners or visitors may expect to hear back within 15 business days upon receipt of their feedback. The public has been advised that our feedback processes can be provided in accessible formats and/or communication support can be provided, upon request.
The Archdiocese and our parishes are committed to developing accessibility service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. The Archdiocese will make reasonable efforts to modify or amend any policy that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to those members of our community with disabilities. Documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service are available upon request.
When a request is received, we will consult with the person to determine their accessibility needs. Accessible formats and communication supports must be provided in a timely manner and at no additional cost.
For further questions about this policy, please contact the Human Resources Department at: