|Quick Facts||Concepts, Skills and Terminology||How to Learn More||Find Services|
- 1 Accessibility
- 1.1 Quick Facts
- 1.2 Concepts, Skills & Terminology
- 1.3 How to Learn More
- 1.4 Find Services
- Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010. Government of Canada
- One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. By 2036, that number will rise to one in five as people age. Ministry of Community and Social Services
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) aims to achieve a barrier-free Ontario for all persons with disabilities residing or visiting the province by the year 2025.
- Newcomers identified disability as an area of need for newcomers, particularly for seniors. City of Toronto, 2011
- Changes to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in 2002 removed pre-existing medical conditions as a barrier to settlement in Canada. This led to an increase in Canadian refugees with complex medical needs. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2011.
- Refugees with medical needs and disabilities are among the most socially excluded, isolated and marginalized of all displaced populations. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCDP), 2006
- Attitudinal, physical and social barriers in society are at times more limiting than the physical and mental limitations of persons with disabilities. For refugees, traditional community coping mechanisms, such as extended family and other caregivers, often breakdown during displacement. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCDP), 2006
- Serving newcomers with disabilities takes a lot more time than serving other newcomers; on average 5 or 6 times more. Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and the Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO), 2011
Concepts, Skills & Terminology
Discover important concepts, definitions and terms relating to serving persons with disabilities communities in the settlement sector.
Persons with disabilities include “those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments [by illness, injury or wounds] which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCDP), 2006
- Attitudinal Barriers – Attitudes that discriminate against people with disabilities.
- Example: Thinking that people with disabilities are inferior
- Information or Communication Barriers – Occur when a person cannot easily understand information.
- Example: Print is too small to read
- Technology Barriers – Occur when a technology cannot be modified to support various assistive devices.
- Example: Website that do not support screen-reading software.
- Organizational Barriers – An organization’s policies, practices or procedures that discriminate against people with disabilities.
- Example: A hiring process that is not open to people with disabilities.
- Architectural and Physical Barriers – Features of buildings or spaces that cause problems for people with disabilities.
- Example: Hallways and doorways that are too narrow for a person using a wheelchair, electric scooter or walker.
- Visual Disabilities – Visual disabilities reduce a person’s ability to see clearly.
- Hearing Loss – People who have hearing loss may be deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
- Deaf-Blind – A person who is deaf-blind has a combined loss of vision and hearing
- Physical Disabilities – There are many types and degrees of physical disabilities. Not all physical disabilities require a wheelchair, it may be difficult to identify a person with a disability.
- Speech or Language Disabilities – Some people have problems communicating, they may find it hard to pronounce words, speak without slurring or stuttering, or express themselves clearly through speech or writing.
- Mental Health Disabilities – Mental health disabilities are not as visible as many other types of disabilities. Some people with mental health disabilities may have hallucinations, difficulty concentrating or remembering, and acute mood swings.
- Learning Disabilities – Learning disabilities are information processing disorders. They can affect how a person acquires, organizes, expresses, retains, understands or uses verbal or non-verbal information.
- Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities – An intellectual or developmental disability is a life-long condition which interferes with a person’s ability to lern at the same pace or to the same extent as those without this disability. Individuals may have difficulty understanding abstract concepts or adapting to some of the demands of daily life.
To better understand each type of disability, obtain tips on how to interact with people with each disability, as well as the appropriate words to use, go to Ministry of Community and Social Services
The Experiences of Newcomers with Disabilities Who Use Settlement Services
The Welcoming and Inclusive Communities: Accessibility Project found that newcomers with disabilities experience additional barriers as people with disabilities, for example:
- Challenges in the interaction with settlement workers, due to a lack of understanding of disability issues in general and a lack of capacity, and resources to service them.
- A lack of disability-related accommodations in ESL classes, and unavailability of American Sign Language (ASL)in their local communities
- Newcomers with disabilities are sometimes turned away from temporary housing created to service refugees because the welcoming centre or shelters are inaccessible.
- Newcomers tend to understate their needs for fear of exclusion or deportation.
- Barriers to Accessible Settlement Services Reported by Settlement Workers
The settlement workers that attended the research focus groups and participated in the one-on-one interviews and filled out the online survey were eager to share and learn new information on how to better service newcomers with disabilities. Main challenges identified by this group were:
- Serving newcomers with disabilities takes, on average 5 or 6 times more times than serving other newcomers.
- There is a lack of information on available services for people with disabilities.
- Lack of dedicated funds at settlement agencies to work with clients with disabilities.
- Physical inaccessibility of newcomer welcome centres and settlement agencies.
- There are not enough partnerships between disability organizations and settlement organizations
Inclusive Communication and Practice can be achieved by:
- Using plain language when speaking
- Ensuring that information is accessible
- Communicating with newcomers with disabilities on the phone in the following manner:
- Speak normally, clearly and directly
- Don't worry about how their voice sounds. Concentrate on what is being said.
- Be patient, don't interrupt and don't finish their sentences. Give them time to explain themselves.
- Don't try to guess what they are saying. If you don't understand, don't pretend; ask again or repeat or rephrase what you've heard.
- If a client on the phone is using an interpreter or a TTY line, speak normally, and speak to the client, not to the interpreter.
- If your client has great difficulty communicating, ask them if they prefer another form of communication or if they would like to call back when it is convenient. Ontario Community Support Association, 2009
Recommendations for making information accessible are described at [www.ryerson.ca/studentservices/accesscentre Ryerson University - The Access Centre]
Some of the best practices in providing services to persons with disabilities include:
- Accommodating by moving classes around to meet their needs (i.e., LINC classes on main floor to avoid stairs)
- Agency brochures are provided in alternate format and copies of cross-disability/new immigrant magazines that profile success stories are kept in the lobby of the centre for people to read while they wait.
- Settlement services and resources are offered in American Sign Language.
- Accessible venues for community events.
- Obtain funding to create resources in ASL (for example videos)
- Partnerships with other organizations in order to overcome accessibility challenges. For example, in one agency, the building is not physically accessible. The agency partnered with the local library in order to be able to meet with clients with mobility disabilities in an accessible space close by.
- To treat persons with disabilities like everyone else and not make them feel different.
- Sharing information with family members and other workers.
- Connecting with doctors and clinics in the area, as this is often the first point of contact for newcomers
- Network with disability organizations
- Having a settlement worker that specializes in clients with disability
- Invite outside agencies to provide workshops to build capacity - March of Dimes, Community Living Toronto
How to Learn More
|Featured Resource! Accessibility Program - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and the Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO)|
Further your knowledge with practical guides, best practices, projects and research. Find out how to become qualified to work in the field through online or classroom-based training.
Best Practices/Practical Guides
- Abuse of People with Disabilities for Service Providers – People’s Law School – 2008
- Accessibility for Specialized Populations in One-stop Employment Centres: Best Practices from the UK, US and Australia (Webinar Recording) - BC Centre for Employment Excellence - 2014
- Applying for Ontario Disability Support Program Benefits - Community Legal Assistance Sarnia - 2014
- Disability Benefits in Ontario: Who Can Get Them and How to Apply - Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) - 2015
- Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities – The Conference Board of Canada – 2013
- Home Care Bill of Rights - Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) - 2014
- Interim Federal Health Program: Summary of Benefits - Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
- Your Right to Accommodation Under Ontario Human Right's Code - Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)
- Accessibility Program - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and the Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO)
- Interactive one day workshop on how to provide accessible and inclusive support to newcomers with disabilities
- AODA e-learning: Improving Access to Violence Against Women Services for Women with Disabilities – Springtide Resources
- Online, self-directed training for those providing direct service to women with disabilities and Deaf women who may disclose a history of physical or sexual violence or criminal harassment.
- Individual and in-house group training for staff from immigrant service agencies whose positions are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI)
- Access to Immigrant Settlement Services for People with Disabilities (Self-directed online training) - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) - 2014
- Online training for Customer Service Standard – Accessibility Ontario
- Overview of the Ontario Disability Support Program – ODSP Action Coalition - 2013
- Working Together: The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act - Ontario Human Rights Commission
- Legal Information for People with Speech and Language Disabilities - Public Legal Education (PLE) Exchange Ontario2015
- EnAbling Nonprofits Ontario
- Disability in Canada:Initial Findings from the Canadian Survey of Disability - Statistics Canada - 2013
- Disability - Ontario Human Rights Commission
- Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act - Canada Revenue Agency
- Memory Disabilities Amongst Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older, 2012 - Statistics Canada - 2015
- Making Ontario Accessible – Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
- ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) Action Coalition
- Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ontario - Ontario Women's Justice Network (OWJN) - 2014
- Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities (Video Series) - Canada Revenue Agency - 2014
- Legal Aid Ontario Services in Immigration and Refugee Law - Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)
- Community Volunteer Clinic for the Medically Uninsured
- ConnexOntario Health Service Information - ConnexOntario
- Labour Market Access Program for Newcomers Living with Disabilities – Family Services of Peel
- Learning Disabilities Centre – JVS Toronto
- Legal Advice and Assistance - Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)
- Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA)
- OnWIN – Persons With disABILITIES
- Services and Supports for People Labelled with an Intellectual Disability (Factsheet)- ARCH Disability Law Centre and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) - 2014
- Ready, Willing and Able – Supported Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities – Family Services of Peel
- Services Near Me - Settlement.Org