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Get Inclusive – Certified 4 Access

Review this model prototype and submit your comments at the bottom of this page.

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Proposed by

Rick Watters

Objectives and Outcomes of the Model Prototype:

The main objective of this model is to help organizations and people to make the cultural shift to being inclusive toward people of all ages and abilities by going beyond AODA standards. This includes staff and volunteer sensitivity training; removing barriers to access goods, services and spaces; providing centralized access to resources and information; on-line resources for trainers and trainees.

Objectives:

Create a centralized certification model that:

  • Showcases Organizations that are Certified for Access, including their rating in key categories, such as wheelchair access, cane-detectable surfaces, high-contrast signage and customer service training for a wide range of abilities, to name few.
  • Contains a Membership area where client members and service providers can access the information, tools and educational resources they need to go beyond AODA to continuously cultivate organizational cultures of accessibility and inclusivity.
  • Involves end users to assess and validate an organization’s status or level of accessibility by assessing and providing meaningful feedback for continuous improvement reports with practical solutions to remove barriers for greater accessibility and inclusivity.
  • Includes applications for end-users to access information about levels of access and rate and report their experience in a crowd reporting fashion.
  • Provides participating organizations with a standardized Certificate that indicates levels of strength, such as silver, gold and platinum, in key areas such as wheelchair access, features for people with visual impairments, hearing impairments and other forms of disability.
  • Provides organizations with the benefits and incentives from being accessible and inclusive from both a market and demographic perspective.  Also, provides risk mitigation strategies to avoid potential human rights litigation situations
  • Provides organizations with recognition decals that can be placed prominently on windows, doors, signs, literature, websites, etc.

Outcomes:

The desired outcome is to facilitate the transition of communities, organizations and people to be accessible and inclusive toward people of all abilities. The ultimate measure of success includes the adoption of current standards, such as AODA and going beyond the letter of the law to make a cultural shift that embraces universal accessibility and inclusion toward people of all abilities.

The creation of a centralized certification program would unite existing organizations and individual consultants to provide the deliverables to end customers, in a consistent manner and by adopting the best practices from all parties, the collective outcome will have greater impact and relevance.

Executive Summary of the Model Prototype:

“Get Inclus!ve – Certified 4 Access” would consist of a central body for ease of recognition and logistics.  This organization would provide the virtual and administrative structure for the model. The governance of the organization could be structured as a co-operative or association that is comprised of the key stakeholders and organizations/individuals providing deliverables.  Preference will be given to candidates with lived experience and the desire to facilitate change.  

The organization could be a not-for-profit, governed by a board of directors, or an association of individuals/organizations providing the related services, or an existing organization that can provide the infrastructure needed to support a virtual enterprise.

Infrastructure would include a central website with a robust back end with a user/membership platform containing the content and tools needed for training, assessments, reporting and certification. The website can include training modules and other self-help training and educational resources.

The scope of the model would include accessibility needs assessments, reports with feedback, and certification.  All of the deliverables can be offered live by one of our qualified groups or individuals or through an interactive series of on-line training and assessment modules.  Our model will be self-sustainable with revenues generated from membership and proceeds from costs associated with training, assessing, reporting, and certification.  Experiential training and assessing services can be provided live, and in person at a premium or by using on-line learning resources.  The brand will be promoted through multiple channels and through partnerships with complimentary organizations to develop a unified symbol of accessibility and inclusivity that is easily recognizable and is perceived as something of social benefit.

  • The leadership model will be a collaborative effort featuring more than one organization, with ties to a diverse range of communities and organizations representative of persons of all ages and abilities
  • Leadership and governance of the model will be separate and distinct, with a collaborative, representative, and transparent accountability structure independent of leadership ensuring continuous evaluation of the model
  • The program will engage with coordinating bodies, including chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and professional associations, to organize partnerships and mentorships that augment each organizations’ capacity

Fit with Working Group Recommendations:

The Model fits with the working group principles and recommendations and are well aligned with all of the following guiding principles.

Prioritized Guiding Principles (if applicable):

  • The model will be simple, understandable, and easy to use for businesses, organizations, and other members of the community to help facilitate adoption
  • The model will be inclusive of persons of all ages and abilities, as well as adaptable to businesses of diverse types and sizes
  • The model will increase awareness among businesses and the general public on inclusive design and customer experience best practices
  • The model will support businesses that seriously commit to the process of learning, improvement according to best practices, inclusion, and innovation in accessibility and user experience
  • The model will be designed to perform four main functions: education, assessment, accreditation, and recognition
  • The model will be a “hybrid” that combines grassroots, community feedback with an organizational structure that can establish benchmarks, marshal resources, award certification, and monitor the program’s effectiveness
  • The model will evaluate businesses’ performance in serving the needs of the community rather than technical skills
  • The model will feature public facing recognition, on tiered or graduated levels, to be re-evaluated on a periodic basis
  • Any fees for service will be in proportion to the size and capacity of businesses, operating on a tiered system
  • The model will start small by piloting in a community or specific sector and evolve to encompass other areas according to user feedback
  • The standard for performance worthy of recognition will be based in large part on lived experience, using community feedback and outcomes-based research in cooperation with participating businesses and municipalities
  • Community feedback will be gathered and made publicly visible through diverse channels, and will include an option for businesses to provide feedback on their own challenges and progress in implementing accessibility
  • Community feedback will be cycled back to businesses, organizations, and the certification leadership to inform, evaluate, and update standards of excellence on a continuous basis
  • The certification program should feature a hub or platform of resources and initiatives to share knowledge, build community, and identify interdependencies
  • The community or sector chosen for the pilot project will be selected based on the diversity of businesses and organizations, with as many types and sizes represented as possible

Principles Not in Alignment with the Prototype (if applicable):

N/A

Organizational Capacity to Deliver and Sustain the Prototype:

Get Inclus!ve would make an ideal candidate for a leadership role as we piloted an accessibility assessment and reporting project for the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), followed by a training session, including train-the-trainer.  The assessment, reporting and training were all well aligned with CSI’s mission to increase inclusion for persons of all abilities.  This pilot project is in the process of being operationalized so that it will become a replicable system that can be standardized with adaptation to the unique attributes participants.

Proposed Partners and Resources to Support Delivery and Sustainability:

Get Inclusive will build on our existing model with other interested parties to develop the existing model into a sustainable model.  The model is currently being sustained by Enable Wellness Inc and Equal Grounds.  We would welcome collaboration from other interested parties will approach associations such as Chambers of Commerce to help coordinate our efforts with local businesses.

Benefits and Costs to Organizations:

The benefits of our model will include a simple and practical approach to assessing organizational accessibility status and requirements going forward.  Organizations that are not fully accessible may still be eligible for Certification in areas that are within their ability to implement.

The cost will be reasonable and scalable to suit the size, scope and complexity of each one.

Benefits to business:

The benefit to organizations include being well positioned to increase market share by tapping into a large segment of the population, estimated at 1 in every 7 Ontarians’ reported as having a disability at this time with a growing trend as the baby boomer population ages.  It is estimated that the ratio will grow to 1 in 5 within the next 20 years - that’s 20% of the population! Organizations will also show up as good corporate citizens with stronger ties to the community, opportunities for mentorship between early adopters and small businesses.

Cost to business:

There are nominal fees for evaluation by an accredited professional and for follow-up training and certification. Pricing will be scalable to the size and complexity of the organization.

Piloting strategy:

Overview:

We have already begun the process of pilot our model prototype at: www.getinclusive.ca

We have piloted a building audit and detailed report for CSI.  We have also piloted a training (and train-the-trainer) program for CSI with supportive resources here:  www.getinclusive.ca/resources

We will continue develop our prototype model for an indefinite period of time with guidance and collaboration from partnering organizations and individuals.  We will use a high-level approach to monitoring and evaluation (e.g., defined outcomes and qualitative metrics that will be re-evaluated by an advisory board after one year, supplemented by user feedback).

Area of Focus:

Our primary focus involves developing accessible, inclusive cultures and mind-sets that include both  customer experiences and access to built environments.

Scope:

Our initial scope will focus on organizations of all sizes in Ontario with particular emphasis on small to medium enterprises in the GTA that require an accessibility improvement plan.

Rationale:

Our rationale for our piloting strategy is based on our initial commission to develop a 360 degree strategy to address the accessibility needs of CSI Annex.  We have developed the model in such a way as to make it adaptable to a variety of industries and organizational needs so we are well poised to continue working with other organizations.

Five Year Vision:

In five years, I see our organization as a primary provider of accessibility solutions to organization throughout Ontario and strategic areas throughout north America.  With continuous improvements to build a robust on-line platform, we intend to automate processes and centralize data and resource for ease of use and ease of access.

Additional Information:

The Get Inclus!ve model will continue to grow and evolve with input from industry partners, consultants and feedback from customers and agencies.

Follow our progress at:  www.getinclusive.ca

Check out our growing member resources at:  www.getinclusive.ca/resources.html

Tell us what you think about this prototype

Please submit your thoughts by April 25.

Submissions are closed.