Accessibility Plan - Office of the Supreme Court of Canada
December 31, 2022
Table of Contents
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and the Accessible Canada Regulations (regulations) require that federal entities prepare and publish accessibility plans. This plan was prepared for the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada and is considered an evergreen document to be reviewed and updated yearly.
The designated official for the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court is Anne-Marie Larivière, Associate DG, Corporate Services Sector. Any feedback on this plan or on accessibility can be addressed to the designated official by mail at 301 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0J1 or electronically at email@example.com.
Definitions from the Act
“means anything—including anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, anything that is based on information or communications or anything that is the result of a policy or a practice—that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.”
“means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.”
Accessibility is an integral part of the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (ORSCC) underpinning values, and is included in our organizational strategic objectives. As such, we strive to continuously improve access to the Court and its services. We have been consulting those who appear before the Court and visitors for a number of years to improve accessibility and will continue to do so. Additionally, we will expand consultations on a number of internal policies and procedures as well as communication tools, to ensure we meet the highest standards of accessibility for all Canadians, our employees and applicants. We look forward to this evergreen process and welcome this opportunity to remove and prevent any barriers to accessibility which may exist.
Currently, consultations take place with lawyers who appear before the Court and visitors to ensure every consideration is given to accessing our organization. A number of important tools have been developed to increase accessibility to the Court, including e-filing, the publication of Cases in Brief, which are plain-language summaries of written decisions meant to be understood by the general public, the publication of an annual Year in Review to make the Court more accessible to the public, visits and e-visits with a tour guide, information material published in various languages, braille, and more. We continue to strive for a completely barrier free experience and will continue to improve our consultation process in the next 3 years to better identify and remove any existing barriers.
Further consultation will be required to identify barriers to employment within our organization. In the next year, we will be expanding our consultations with persons with disabilities to consider all barriers to employment. Currently, we have provided specific training to managers on unconscious bias. Our HR advisors work one on one with hiring managers to ensure processes meet the highest standards. This said, we realize that the application process may be cumbersome to some and that opportunities to improve our evaluation tools must be explored and we are committed in doing so.
|Barrier identification||Review current hiring policies and procedures||Director HR||June 2023|
|Identify mitigation strategies||Make changes to policies and procedures||Director HR||October 2023|
|Provide training to HR staff on accessibility||Provide training||Director HR||December 2023|
The built environment
The Supreme Court of Canada Building (SCCB) is a Heritage Building. The SCCB is owned and maintained by the Government through Public Services and Procurement Canada. We currently have implemented various mitigating measures for employees and visitors with mobility or other impairments to address structural accessibility issues. The building will be undergoing a major rehabilitation process in the coming years. The work to plan this rehab has started with the creation of a functional program. The program of work will include bringing the building up to code for accessibility purposes and ensuring that occupants and visitors have a seamless experience in accessing all areas of the building.
|Ensure program of work for rehabilitation includes all accessibility measures||Participate in the creation of requirement||Senior Project Leader||June 2025|
|Identify mitigation strategies||Ensure ongoing mitigation measures are adequate and periodically reviewed.||Manager, Building Operations and PSPC building manager||Ongoing|
|Ensure rehabilitation plans consider all accessibility requirements and needs||Review rehabilitation plans and documents as they become available||Senior Project Leader and PSPC project authorities||Ongoing until completion of Building rehab|
Information and communication technologies (ICT)
The IT Branch is responsible for the provision of all IT related services at the Supreme Court of Canada. Software developed in-house makes use of the Web Experience Toolkit which ensures accessibility and usability. Beyond development activities, efforts are made, often on a case by case basis, to ensure that information technology resources are accessible and can be used by individuals with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. As technology evolves, approaches aimed at ensuring accessibility must be reviewed and capitalize on advancements
|Ensure that applications developed in-house (including the Supreme Court of Canada Website) are accessible and usable||Leverage accessibility and usability standards (e.g. Web Experience Toolkit) for all development activities||Manager, Business Solutions||Ongoing|
|Provide users with assistive technologies as and when required||When a need for assistive technology is identified (e.g. text-to-speech, dictation, closed captioning, high contrast, and alternate input devices) research must be conducted and steps must be taken to acquire the required technology.||Manager, Client Services and Infrastructure||Ongoing|
Communication, other than ICT
As part of our tour program, we strive to ensure all visitors have access to our building. For visitors who are mobility impaired, access is provided through the East Entrance, which is wheel chair and motorized scooter friendly and provides access to the building through an elevator. We provide a hands on 3-D rendering of the Court building for visually impaired visitors to manipulate and make sign language interpreters available for visitors who are hearing impaired. Additionally, information about the Court is provided in 13 languages as well as braille (in French and English).
We receive ongoing feedback through surveys and social media and use this feedback to improve access and services.
We plan to target our consultations this year to persons with disabilities, to benefit from feedback on all of our accessibility tools. This will ensure we can mitigate any barriers that have not previously been be identified.
Furthermore, measures such as visits and e-visits, Cases in Brief and our Year in Review allow all Canadians to visit our building and have easy access to information about the Court and its decisions.
Procurement of goods, services and facilities
The ORSCC has embedded accessibility requirements within the procurement process by identifying at the procurement request stage, whether or not the goods or services to be procured have accessibility requirements. The project authorities are responsible for assessing accessibility for all procurement actions. Procurement officers are responsible for reviewing the accessibility assessments provided by the project authorities.
|Accessibility training provided to Procurement officers to increase awareness of accessibility standards and potential barriers in the procurement process||Training||Director, Finance||December 2023|
Surveys are conducted with lawyers who appear before the Court as well as visitors to outline their experience in accessing our organization. The information we have received has informed many of our initiatives, including e-filing, Cases in Brief, Year in Review, visits and e-visits with a tour guide, information material published in various languages and braille, and more.
While consultations have been key for us to improve our accessibility, we will continue to find new ways to consult in the coming year to ensure better outcomes for persons with disabilities in accessing our organization in all capacities
Although training in diversity and unconscious bias has been provided to managers and staff, we will create a specific organizational training plan for accessibility that will be provided internally to staff members, it will include communicating with people with different types of disabilities as well as barrier identification tools. We will develop this training in 2023/2024 and roll it out to all staff in 2024/2025.
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