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Ontario Arts Council

2016 Annual Status Report on Year Four of OAC’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

This marks the fourth and final year of Ontario Arts Council’s (OAC) current multi-year accessibility plan. In 2016 OAC continued to comply with the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards that have come into effect. This year there were no new requirements under the legislation for OAC and none are expected for 2017.

In 2016 OAC built and launched a new accessible website that meets WCAG 2.0 Level AA, which is an international standard of web content accessibility. OAC is pleased that our website has met this standard in advance of the AODA’s 2021 requirement, and that our website can be more user-friendly to a wider group of visitors.

OAC provides accessible formats of all its public information upon request and offers communication supports such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for OAC’s meetings with Deaf artists. OAC has developed relationships with suppliers of alternate formats and ASL interpretation services both independently and through the Ontario Public Service and works with these vendors to accommodate these requests in a timely manner.   
In addition, under the Employment Standard of the AODA, OAC offers accommodations on request during the hiring process and employment of its staff.

In 2017 OAC will create a new multi-year accessibility plan for 2018-22 to reflect our ongoing commitment to accessibility and compliance with the AODA.

Other OAC Accessibility Achievements in 2016
  • OAC moved to a new office location that is fully accessible for visitors and employees.
  • Training was provided to staff on creating accessible documents.
  • OAC launched NOVA, its new online granting system. We anticipate that users will find the online application process to be more accessible than paper applications.
  • OAC developed accommodation policies for people using NOVA who may face barriers due to a disability or technology access issues.
  • OAC convened a Deaf and Disability Arts & Access advisory group, made up of Deaf artists and artists with disabilities. This group was established to gather feedback on issues and developments in the Deaf and disability arts community, and the barriers faced in relation to OAC policies, programs and practices, from artists with relevant lived experiences and knowledge of the Deaf and disability arts field.
  • OAC continues to offer funding to cover the accessibility costs associated with completing a project. This year the eligibility criteria for this fund were expanded so that:
    • incorporated organizations that are Deaf or disability-led and have a mandate to serve and involve Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may request these funds;
    • eligible expenses can include making a project accessible to audiences, participants or learners involved in the project; and
    • requests for these funds can be made after the point of application.
  • The Deaf and Disability Arts Projects program entered its second year, and OAC continued to offer funding to Deaf artists and artists with disabilities for application support, as well as materials and supplies assistance to purchase what is needed to make work.
  • OAC conducted a professional development session for Deaf artists on accessing grants and creating work.
  • More artists with disabilities participated on peer assessment panels.
  • OAC held its first panel where applications from Deaf artists to the Deaf and Disability Arts Projects program were assessed by Deaf individuals.
  • For the second year, OAC funded an initiative to help make artist-run media arts production centres more accessible to Deaf artists and artists with disabilities.
  • OAC participated on a panel discussion about supports for Deaf artists and artists with disabilities at the ReelAbilities Film Festival.