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Accessibility Policy

Westminster United Church 

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service 

Policy Statement 

June 2012

This policy contains statements that meet the requirements of the Customer Service Standard and the other items that are good practices. This policy will be revised as other standards are introduced under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

1. Our Mission

The Mission of Westminster United Church is to be: 

An open-spirited, affirming, child-friendly congregation. 

2. Our Commitment 

In fulfilling our mission, Westminster United Church strives at all times to provide its programs, goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our programs, goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in a similar way as other participants.

3. Providing Programs, and Services to People with Disabilities 

Westminster United Church will strive to be fully welcoming and inclusive of all people in all aspects of church life. This includes, but by no means is limited to, worship, committee work, social activities and community service 

Westminster United Church is committed to excellence in serving all participants and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas, mindful of the special needs of individuals with disabilities: 

3.1 Communication 

  • We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. 
  • We will provide publications in formats that are accessible for people with disabilities. 
  • We will train staff and volunteers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities. 

3.2 Telephone Services 

  • We are committed to providing accessible telephone services to our participants. 
  • We will train office staff/volunteers to communicate with participants over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. 
  • We will offer to communicate with participants by alternative means such as internet, mail and face-to-face communication if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs, or is not available. 

3.3 Assistive Devices 

  • We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and guide dogs, hearing aids) to participate in and benefit from our programs, goods and services. 
  • We will ensure that people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access the sanctuary for worship and other activities 
  • We will familiarize ushers and other staff/volunteers with the various assistive devices that may be used by participants with disabilities while participating in our activities 
  • We will endeavour to provide assistive devices that may become necessary for participants to access worship and other activities. Ushers and other staff/volunteers will be trained on how to use the assistive devices available on our premises 
  • Upon a participant’s request, we will make every effort to provide the requested assistive device and/or service. It is recognized and accepted that we may not be able to satisfy every request. 

3.4 Accessibility Committee/Officer 

  • Westminster United Church will be establishing an Accessibility Committee to oversee all issues relating to accessibility in consultation with the Westminster United Church Council. 
  • The Accessibility Committee will be responsible for raising the awareness with the congregation of Westminster United Church of our accessibility policies, practices and procedures. 

4. Use of Service Animals and Support Persons 

  • We are committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a service animal on parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. 
  • We will ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with participants are trained on how to interact with people who are accompanied by a service animal. 
  • We are committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Westminster United Church premises with his or her support person. 
  • Fees will not be charge for support persons accompanying a participant. 

5. Notice of Temporary Disruption 

Westminster United Church will provide participants with 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, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. 

Notice of disruption of services/activities will be communicated with individuals by telephone unless the member has informed Westminster United Church of a preferred alternative form of communication (i.e. e-mail). 

6. Training for Staff and Volunteers 

Westminster United Church’s Accessibility Committee is responsible for coordinating training for all employees, volunteers and others who deal with participants or other third parties on our behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of accessibility policies, practices and procedures. 

Individuals holding the following positions will be trained: 

Minister and Worship team 
Church personnel 
Sunday school and youth volunteers 
Church Council members 
Cedars Management Committee 

7. Feedback Process 

The ultimate goal of Westminster United Church is to meet and surpass expectations while serving participants with disabilities. Comments on how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated. 
  • Feedback regarding the way Westminster United Church provides programs, and services to people with disabilities can be made by communicating with: Chair, Accessibility Committee, Chair, Council, or Church Staff 
  • All feedback will be directed to the Accessibility Committee. 
  • Participants can expect to receive and acknowledgement of their feedback within three (3) business days. Resolution of issues may take some time and the participant can expect to be kept informed along the way. 
  • Confidentiality will be respected at all times. Feedback (positive and/or negative) will be addressed according to the procedures outlined by the Accessibility Committee. These procedures will be made available to the congregation. 

8. Modifications to this or Other Policies 

We are committed to developing accessibility policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. 
  • No changes, therefore, will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities or their families. 
  • Any policy of Westminster United Church that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed. 

9. Questions about This Policy 

This policy seeks to enable Westminster United Church to achieve service excellence to participants with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or its purpose, an explanation or reply will be provided by Chair, Westminster United Church Council.