Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions is committed to providing persons with disabilities with equal opportunities and standards of goods and services in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. These goods and services will be provided in a manner that respects dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.

Here you will find the SMFC policy on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilites and the plan that outlines what we have accomplished and lists the items that we continue to work on to achieve full accessibility. You will also find a contact form if you have any comments, concerns or questions about SMFC activities.


Access Room Spaces in Bell Farm will be out of order due to maintenance from October 31 to November 11 (see exact work dates below). In the meantime, some scheduled family visits will be rescheduled/displaced.

  • Oct 31 to Nov 4 – access rooms 1-5 and hallway
  • Nov 7-11 – washrooms, kitchen and family room

Access admins are currently rebooking all visits during the times below to other meeting room space at Bell Farm or Shak’s World. You will be notified if your meeting has been impacted and needs to be rescheduled/displaced.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (705) 726-6587

Policy and Procedure

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Policy and Procedure


1. Purpose and Scope


Simcoe Muskoka Child, Youth and Family Services (known throughout this document as SMCYFS) is committed to improving accessibility in all aspects of our service. We will ensure that our staff, volunteers, clients, agency representatives and members of the general public are provided services in a way that respects the dignity, independence, integration and equality of all.
The Agency will comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (known throughout this document as AODA) and its standards (ref.1). People with disabilities will have the same opportunity to access Society services so that they may benefit from those services, in the same place and in a similar way as any other person.

2. Roles, Responsibilities and Authority

Board Members and Executive Director are responsible to:
• Foster a workplace culture of accessibility for people with disabilities and ensure competent leadership.
• Ensure the development, support and endorsement of an effective multi-year strategy that will ensure accessibility to services and facilities for staff and the public.
• Allocate appropriate resources to deploy the multi-year strategy and to ensure procedures are in compliance with Simcoe Muskoka Child, Youth and Family Services’ legal obligations.
• Review the policy’s efficacy on an annual basis, and revise where necessary.

Human Resources:
• Design and develop Human Resource policies, procedures and best practices to ensure accessibility to services.
• Initiate an annual review of this policy/procedure and the accessibility plan and complete revisions and updates as required
• Act as an advisor to management regarding accessibility issues.
• Maintain an up-to-date working knowledge of AODA requirements and regulations as mandated locally, federally, and/or by the province.
• Ensure training is delivered to employees that is applicable to their specific work tasks to ensure the provision of Accessible services.
• Address any feedback or concerns regarding the provision of accessible services or failure to comply with AODA legislation or this policy.

Communications Department:
• Design and develop Communications policies, procedures and best practices to ensure accessibility to services.
• Ensures that this policy/procedure is posted internally and to the public as prescribed by the AODA.
• Ensures that proper notifications are posted and all organizational print materials and signage is in compliance with this legislation.
Property Department:
• Design and develop Operational policies, procedures and best practices to ensure accessibility to services.
• Ensures that all agency property is accessible as defined by this legislation to staff and the public.

Service Directors:
• Design and develop Service policies, procedures and best practices to ensure accessibility to services.

• Comply with SMCYFS’s AODA requirements, promote accessibility awareness with instruction, information, training and supervision to ensure the provision of accessible services by all staff.
• Ensure that employees work in compliance with, and are trained in the provision of Accessible Service, Human Rights and this policy.
• Address any feedback received regarding the provision of accessible services regarding staff under their supervision.

• Comply with SMCYFS’s AODA policies and procedures and ensure the provision of accessible services.
• Notify managers of any AODA or policy/procedural breaches, so that they may be dealt with promptly.
• Participate in required AODA training.
3. Definitions and Acronyms
SMCYFS: Simcoe Muskoka Child Youth and Family Services
AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

4. Information and Communication

The Society will use reasonable efforts to ensure its communication – verbal, written and electronic with the general public is done in a manner that considers their accessibility requirements. This includes social median and our website. Written material such as brochures, agreements, contracts, etc. will be provided in alternate format such as large print, Braille, audio, etc. upon request. Each of SMCYFS’s locations has a printed copy of this document and it is posted on the Agency Intranet under MY HR/ Health and Safety.

Anyone requiring an accommodation should contact the Human Resources Department. Feedback regarding the way in which the Society provides services to people with disabilities can be made in person, by email or by telephone to the Human Resources Department (see Appendix for contact information).

5. Supports required by an individual

Assistive Devices
The Society is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices in order for them to benefit from our services. All staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by caregivers and children/youth with disabilities while accessing our services. The Society will permit and welcome individuals who use assistive devices for the purpose of conducting business.

Service Animals
People with accessibility requirements who are accompanied by a service animal may enter premises occupied by The Agency that are open to the public.

Support Person
A person with a disability may enter The Agency’s public premises with a support person and have access to that person while on our premises.

Core Services
Meetings of Caregivers and Children/Youth on Site – Trained staff will make every reasonable effort to meet/accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

Branch office locations are located in Orillia, Midland, Collingwood, Alliston, Bradford, Huntsville, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Barrie. There are meeting rooms on the main levels of all Branch buildings, except the Alliston office where a lift is provided, and the reception staff has a key to access and control the lift. As our offices are secure buildings, caregivers and children/youth will be met by a staff member in the lobby who will assist them in entering the secure areas.

6. Disruption in Service

The Agency will provide staff members and the general public with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities (i.e. automatic doors being out of service). This will be done internally via email or announcement and by posted notice so that alternative arrangements can be made with staff. This notice will include the reason for and the expected duration of the disruption along with any available alternatives.

Staff members, with the assistance of the Human Resources Department if required, will make every effort to find an alternative to the disruption in service.

7. Training

The Society provides training on the AODA and its standards to all Board members, staff, foster/adoptive parents, volunteers, students and others who deal with the public. The training for new staff and staff returning from an extended leave will occur as soon as practicable of commencing or recommencing duties.

Training is provided in a number of ways such as formal workshops, print material, via an online webinar developed by Toronto Children’s Aid Society and the Toronto Child Welfare Institute, etc. Once registered the webinar is available to trainees at (English) or (French)

Training includes:
• A review of this document
• An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its requirements
• How to interact and communicate with caregivers and children/youth with various types disabilities
• How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person
• What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our service
• Disability and Human Rights
A record of completion of this training is kept by the Human Resources –Training Department. Staff are advised and trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to Accessibility policies, practices and procedures.

Appendix A:
Simcoe Muskoka Child, Youth and Family Connexions values your feedback. Please contact April Methot to provide feedback that will allow us to improve our service to you.
 By telephone: 705-220-3178 or 1-800-461-4236
 By e-mail:
 By mail:
April Methot
60 Bell Farm Rd., Unit 7
Barrie, ON
L4M 5G6

April will be happy to meet with you in person or make other arrangements to connect with you upon request.


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Plan

(Click here to download plan)

1. Completed

  • We have stated our commitment to Accessibility with the development of Accessibility policy. This policy includes the Agency’s commitment to improving accessibility in all aspects of our service and to ensure that our staff, volunteers, clients, SMFC representatives and members of the general public are provided services in a way that respects the dignity, independence, integration and equality of all.
  • Trained all staff and volunteers regarding communicating with people with disabilities through
    “AODA Customer Service” training
  • Dedicated resources through Human Resources staffing, and external consultation, to ensure we are meeting the requirements of AODA and better serve clients and staff with disabilities
  • Added wording to all job advertisements, both internal and external reflecting that “Accommodation is available upon request”
  • Added wording to all training posts to indicate classroom modifications or alternate training delivery methods are available, upon request.
  • Compliance reporting as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.
  • Trained all staff in IASR and the Human Rights Code
  • Reviewed training process, record keeping and scheduling to ensure that all staff, contracts, and volunteers are current on all aspects of the AODA legislation.
  • Trained all new hires on the AOD Policy, Accessible Customer Service, and Integrated Accessibility Standards during new staff orientation.
  • Developed an AODA reference group to review progress on plans and all feedback received and addressed each quarter.
  • Developed a hiring policy to ensure people with disabilities are considered for job openings and that their accommodation needs are met.
  • All existing Simcoe and Muskoka branch offices have been assessed for accessibility and recommendations for changes or improvements documented on a work plan.
  • AODA policy and procedures and plans updated as a result of amalgamation and reviewed on an annual basis.
  • Review, clarify and post the process to receive and respond to feedback from clients with disabilities
  • Develop a formal automated system, accessible to people inside and outside of the organization, to report AODA feedback. The system will support tracking of feedback & resolutions of issues and reporting of trends.
  • External webpage WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant
  • Develop a process to systematically review and update accommodated employees’ needs via a documented accommodation plan.

2. Looking Ahead – Commitments for 2021/2022

Customer Service

  • Review training and service needs on an ongoing basis and support continuing education of all staff members regarding all aspects of providing service to individuals with disabilities.

Integrated Accessibility Regulations

  • Provide accessible emergency and public safety information.
  • Continue to identify and address barriers through the appropriate forum.
  • Continue to monitor and report to JH and S Committee as well as Senior Management on the development and implications of this plan
  • Information on accessibility will be included on all newly updated public materials.

Built Environment

  • Accessibility consultation will continue to occur when new building is being planned or new lease arrangements or renovations are underway.
  • Welcoming spaces will have new, accessible designs completed and an implementation plan developed.
  • Continue to monitor completion of accessibility assessment recommendations on a quarterly basis.



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