Manitoba Hydro Accessibility Plan 2017–2018

Part 1 – Baseline report

Overview of programs and services

Manitoba Hydro’s mandate is to provide for the continuance of a supply of energy to meet the needs of the province and to promote economy and efficiency in the development, generation, transmission, distribution, supply and end-use of energy. The corporation strives to be recognized as a leading utility in North America with respect to safety, reliability, rates, customer satisfaction and environmental leadership.

Manitoba Hydro operates in all regions of the province, and strives to establish cooperative relationships with all customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, aimed at achieving the Corporate Vision.

Accessibility achievements/accomplishments to date

Manitoba Hydro continues to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities. The Corporation has taken various steps to foster an accessible organization and workplace, including:

  • Collaborating with customers and members of the public on a case-by-case basis to respond to their individual accessible needs. The Corporation has successfully accommodated requests related to accessible formats; mobility requirements; public event accessibility requests; and customer service procedures such as meter reading and customer billing.
  • Improving accessible features of Manitoba Hydro’s external website and working towards the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  • Using a TTY (Text Telephone) machine to communicate with hearing impaired customers.
  • Offering accommodations to job applicants during various stages of the recruitment process.
  • Overseeing accommodations for employees and facilitating individualized return to work programs where necessary.
  • Providing various online learning courses and educational sessions to employees to promote disability education and awareness. In addition, many employees have been trained and received their Mental Health First Aid Certification.
  • Conducting public consultations through surveys on Accessibility with the general public and disability agencies to determine the appropriate information and communication needs of people with disabilities.
  • Creating a cross-functional Accessibility Working Group to ensure compliance with The Accessibility for Manitobans Act requirements. The working group is responsible to identify policies, programs, practices, and services that cause or may cause barriers to people with disabilities within their respective Business Units/Divisions.

Accessibility barriers

In an effort to better understand the barriers to accessibility encountered at Manitoba Hydro, feedback was gathered through various surveys regarding Accessibility from the public, disability organizations, and employees.

Some of the barriers identified through the surveys were:

  • Attitudinal:
    • Different levels of employee awareness regarding accessibility practices and procedures.
  • Physical and architectural:
    • Building entrances are not accessible in all locations and some have limited accessible parking options.
    • Service Counter heights are not all wheelchair accessible.
    • Some door handles are problematic for people with dexterity issues.
  • Informational and communication:
    • Front line staff is not trained in American Sign Language.
    • Communication challenges arise when an employee communicates too quickly with people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.
    • Printed leaflets in small print can be problematic for people with learning and visual impairments.
    • Converting large volume materials into accessible formats may present challenges due to size and complexity of the information, such as detailed financial schedules.
  • Technology:
    • Sections of Manitoba Hydro’s external website (including web documents) are not fully accessible for screen readers, such as our online application system or MyBill.
    • Automated phone voice messages may cause auditory challenges for customers with hearing impairments.
  • Systemic:
    • Employees have limited knowledge regarding accessibility features of Manitoba Hydro buildings.
    • Inconsistent processes for addressing accessibility requests.

Part 2 – Accessibility plan

Statement of commitment

Manitoba Hydro is committed to achieving accessibility and meeting the needs and abilities of all people while ensuring their dignity and independence is maintained.

Manitoba Hydro believes in inclusion, values diversity, and recognizes the importance of improving access and removing barriers for its customers, public and employees. Manitoba Hydro is committed to meeting the requirements of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

Manitoba Hydro’s accessibility plan

Manitoba Hydro has, and will continue to, incorporate accessibility measures into its policies, procedures, training, and websites, as identified in the multi-year accessibility plan.

Multi-year accessibility plan: 2017–2018

General requirements

Accessibility policy

  • Develop an overarching Accessibility Policy.
  • Develop a Statement of Commitment.

Outcome

  • Provide a clear message and overarching direction about accessibility at Manitoba Hydro.

Multi-year accessibility plan

  • Create and make public a multi-year accessibility plan.
  • Provide the plan in accessible formats upon request.
  • Review and update the plan every two (2) years.

Outcomes

  • Identify actions and priorities that will assist Manitoba Hydro in becoming more accessible.
  • Create employee awareness and support of AMA and Manitoba Hydro’s Accessibility Plan.

Accessibility requests

  • Develop a process for responding to accessibility requests from members of the public.
  • Provide documents in an accessible format upon request.
  • Create an accessibility registry to track and monitor requests from members of the public.

Outcomes

  • Provide a consistent process for customers and the public to access information which best suits their needs.
  • Provide information and communication in accessible formats.
  • Track accessibility in a corporate registry.

Training

  • Design and/or source training for employees on the AMA, The Human Rights Code and Accessible Customer Service.
  • Establish training guidelines and timeframes for employees to complete the Accessibility training.
  • Track and monitor course completions.

Outcomes

  • Create awareness and educate employees on the AMA, The Human Rights Code and Accessible Customer Service Standard.
  • Assist employees with identifying barriers to accessibility and solutions to resolve, remove or prevent barriers in the future.

Customer services

Barrier-free access to goods & services

  • Develop internal guidelines and practices for employees to improve barrier-free access to goods and services.
  • Design customized training for employees on complex accessibility requests.

Outcomes

  • Improve customer service for members of the public facing barriers to goods and services.
  • Provide a consistent customer service process for members of the public making accessibility requests.

Communication supports

  • Assist and consult with customers who self-identify as being disabled by a barrier in addressing their needs.
  • Recognize and support customers that use assistive devices, support persons or service animals.
  • Develop resources to familiarize employees with formats and supports to make information more accessible to those disabled by barriers.

Outcomes

  • Customers receive equal and timely access to information, goods or services.
  • Employees are aware of accessible formats and communication supports to enhance customer service.

Public events

  • Develop processes, resources and/or checklists for employees to ensure reasonable accessibility to public events.

Outcome

  • Public events are accessible to all Manitobans.

Built environment

  • Review and document accessible features of Manitoba Hydro buildings. Make information public.
  • Establish process of notification and signage when accessible features of buildings are not working.
  • Consider incorporating barrier-free, Universal Design principles when upgrading current and designing new buildings.

Outcome

  • Improve physical access for the public to various Manitoba Hydro buildings.

Information & communication

  • Review external website content and identify ways to improve accessibility.
  • Develop all new website content to comply with WCAG version 2.0 Level AA.

Outcome

  • Improve access to Manitoba Hydro information on external website.

Employment

  • Continue to review employment programs and processes to identify and/or remove employment barriers.
  • Establish a process for tracking candidates’ accessibility requests.

Outcome

  • Enhance employment opportunities for members of the public disabled by barriers.

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