ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

Last Revised: January 2017

Team members: Julie Schnurr, Giselle Bauman, Nichole Freeman


Our Mission   

The mission of Wallenstein Bible Chapel (WBC) is to Exalt Christ, Equip Disciples & Engage our Community with Passion and Joy!

WBC recognizes that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that God’s image is reflected uniquely in each person. Each person’s characteristics, including disabilities, are valuable and are to be respected.

Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, WBC strives at all times to provide its programs and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.

We are also committed to giving people with disabilities equal opportunity to access our programs and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other church attendees.

We will be welcoming to all by being a community of people who refuse to show favouritism to anyone, and by readily extending grace rather than casting judgement, greeting all with warmth and acceptance.  We will communicate the gospel in ways that are easily understood by the community with which we are connecting.  As good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us, we will include making our church’s facilities easily accessible to those unfamiliar to us and to those who move about with difficulty.

1)   Information and Communication

We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

We will train staff and volunteers who communicate with church attendees on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

Where appropriate, we will provide church materials (e.g. hymn books, S.S. material, Bible study booklets, bulletins, financial statements, church directories, etc...) in formats that are accessible for people with disabilities.

Upon request, we will provide information about our organization and its services, including public safety information, in accessible formats or with communication supports.

2)   Assistive Devices

We will ensure that people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access all applicable church programs and services. We will familiarize ushers and other front-line staff with the various assistive devices that may be used by members with disabilities while accessing our programs or services.

The church will also make available assistive devices it deems necessary for accessing its programs and services. Ushers and other front-line staff will be trained on how to use the assistive devices available on our premises (e.g. wheelchairs, listening devices, etc...).

3)   Use of Service Animals

WBC is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will permit people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animal when participating in services and programs.

In cases where the presence of service animals is excluded by law (i.e. WBC kitchen), we will provide an appropriate accommodation for members and their service animal.

We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with church attendees are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

Documentation from a regulated health professional may be requested if an animal accompanying an individual with a disability at a WBC event cannot be easily identified as a service animal.

4)   Support Persons

WBC is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter WBC’s premises with his or her support person.

At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.

Occasionally, WBC may determine that a person with a disability must be accompanied by a support person for the health and safety of the person or others on the premises. This will only be after consideration of the available evidence and consultation with the individual with a disability has occurred.

Fees will not be charged to support persons accompanying a person with a disability to events hosted at WBC that include a cost (e.g. dinners, conferences, etc...).

5)   Notice of Temporary Disruption

WBC will provide attendees with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities (e.g. accessible washroom, main doors, FM system, accessible parking spaces etc...).

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 delivered to attendees by means of an email to the congregation or a verbal announcement during services.

6)   Employment

During the recruitment and hiring process for paid positions, WBC will notify job applicants and the public about the availability of accommodations for those applicants with a disability.

We will notify selected applicants that supports (e.g. job accommodations, accessible formats, communications supports, etc...) are available for staff with disabilities.

Where needed, we will also provide customized emergency information to help an employee with a disability during an emergency.

7)   Design of Public Spaces

WBC will meet accessibility standards for public spaces when building or making major changes to such spaces, including accessible off-street parking and service-related elements like service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas.

8)   Training

WBC will coordinate and provide accessibility training for all staff and volunteers, and all those who are involved in the development and approval of church accessibility policies, practices and procedures.

The training will include a review of the purposes of the AODA and the requirements of the Customer Service Standard, how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disability, how to interact with persons who require the assistance of a support person or service animal, how to use any assistive devices available on WBC premises and what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing WBC’s programs and services. 

The training will also cover aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code that relate to persons with disabilities.

9)   Feedback Process

Comments on WBC programs and services regarding how well accessibility needs are being met are welcome and appreciated. Feedback regarding the way WBC provides programs and services to people with disabilities can be made by e-mail, verbally, or via a suggestion box at the Information counter.

All feedback will be directed to the WBC accessibility team.  Resolution of the accessibility issue raised will be in consultation with the individuals involved.