Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2021 – 2025
About Perimeter Institute
Perimeter Institute brings together great minds in a shared endeavour to achieve breakthroughs in theoretical physics. Our culture thrives on collaboration and new perspectives.
We recognize that imbalances persist, both in theoretical physics in general and at Perimeter Institute specifically We are taking concrete actions to increase inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in our community.
Perimeter is committed to providing an environment that is accessible and inclusive to all people who work, study or visit the Institute (including volunteers, patrons, and third-party contractors). The Institute strives to ensure that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the following core principles as outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA):
- Dignity: Goods and services are provided in a manner that is respectful to persons with a disability and does not diminish the person's importance.
- Independence: Accommodating a person's disability means respecting their right to do for themselves, and to choose the way they wish to receive goods and services.
- Integration: Persons with disabilities can access all goods and services. This may require alternative formats and flexible approaches. It means inclusiveness and full participation. This is a fundamental human right.
- Equal Opportunity: Service is provided to persons with disabilities in such a way that their opportunity to access goods and services is equal to that given to others.
The 2021-2025 accessibility plan outlines the achievements, strategies, and actions taken by Perimeter to improve opportunities, and remove and prevent barriers for individuals with disabilities. The Multi-year Accessibility Plan will be reviewed annually and updated to include steps taken to continuously improve accessibility at Perimeter.
Recent Accessibility Accomplishments at Perimeter Institute
Administration and Governance
As part of Perimeter’s efforts to increase inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) within its community and develop an IDEA strategy, the Accessibility Working Group was formed in 2020. Working closely with People & Culture (Human Resources) these volunteers act as agents of continuous improvement, identifying potential barriers to accessibility and making recommendations for removal and prevention. Members of the Perimeter community are encouraged to join the group and/or provide their experiences, thoughts, and feedback for review.
Understanding how people with disabilities interact with the built environment, our Facilities team applies universal design principles to designing, operating, and delivering services in physical spaces including individual office spaces.
In recognition of varying needs and work preferences, Perimeter has created different working spaces throughout the building. The library offers silent and quiet working zones. Meeting rooms provide private space equipped with technology to allow attendees to connect virtually, record meetings, and view a shared board or screen.
Elevators are located on each floor with additional lifts located at interaction area levels in the Stephen Hawking Centre expansion, which opened September 2011. Accessible washrooms are located on each floor. Accessible changerooms and showers are located on the ground level floor. Common area doorways have been outfitted with touch door operators.
Fire alarms include a visual (flashing light) notification throughout the building.
Perimeter provides accessible parking on site for its residents and has added designated parking for pregnant individuals.
Accessible accommodations are provided to employees and visitors with disabilities as required.
Throughout the building Perimeter’s Technical Services team has installed accessible information kiosks. These kiosks allow residents to access our directory, building maps, announcements, and additional pertinent information.
Perimeter Institute welcomes and serves individuals of all abilities. Our Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Policy outlines our commitment to accessibility and identifies our customer service practices which adhere to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Service animals accompanying persons with a disability are welcome within the Institute facilities. The use and safety of the service animal is the responsibility of the person with a disability, or their support person.
The Institute welcomes support persons accompanying persons with a disability in order to assist in accessing goods or services or for the purposes of providing support with mobility, personal assistance, or communication, provided the interaction between the person and their support person does not compromise academic integrity. There are no admission fees for support persons accompanying an attendee with a disability.
Personal assistive technologies are permitted and unrestricted in all areas of the Institute to which residents and the public have access, except when subject to operator safety and/or academic integrity.
Return to Work
People & Culture has an established return-to-work process for its employees who have been absent due to disability or other medical related reasons. Perimeter’s Return to Work Procedure was developed with the purpose of ensuring effective, proactive, and consistent management of employees return to work, from either short- or long-term leave due to occupational or non-occupational disabilities. The goal is to ensure a safe and successful reintegration of an individual into the Institute and ideally to their pre-disability position. The procedure outlines the steps Perimeter will take to facilitate the return-to-work process. Each plan is documented and tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities.
Perimeter Institute is committed to providing an inclusive environment that supports the well-being of its residents and visitors. The People & Culture team works with individuals with disabilities and medical conditions requiring accommodation, to ensure they are provided equal opportunity to participate, contribute, and have a positive experience at Perimeter. Accommodation refers to adjusting or modifying the work/research environment or method of completing work.
The physical workspace is adapted for staff with disabilities, as needed. Additionally, ergonomic assessments are provided to residents, on a request basis, as a preventative wellness measure.
All employees and volunteers are provided emergency response information. Individualized Emergency Evacuation plans are developed for those requiring assistance in case of emergency.
Recruitment and Employment
The Institute is committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes job and research applications from individuals who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. Perimeter Institute implemented a new talent acquisition system and process, ensuring communication of Perimeter’s commitment and ability to accommodate was included at each stage of the recruitment process.
Accommodation is available to all PI residents and visitors at any point in their time with Perimeter Institute.
Information and Communications
Perimeter’s websites perimeterinstitute.ca and insidetheperimeter.ca were designed to meet AODA’s website requirements under the Information and Communication Standards, including alternate text for images.
Perimeter residents are provided with Zoom licenses to meet virtually with their teams and collaborators. This includes auto captioning of speech and the ability to record sessions for future playback.
Training and Continued Learning
Perimeter Institute provides training to employees and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility legislation, how to interact and communicate respectfully with individuals with various disabilities, and how to improve access to goods and services. All employees and volunteers are informed of the Institute’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Policy, and employees are regularly updated on the activities of the Accessibility Working Group
Our Facilities team is well-versed and trained in the application of universal design for creating meaningful access.
Feedback is welcome from those accessing or wishing to access our services or materials. Feedback provided goes directly to People & Culture and is managed confidentially. A member from the People & Culture team will reach out to the individual to determine how Perimeter might assist in providing an equal opportunity and support the individual's needs.
Feedback provides valuable insight and helps to inform continuous improvement of our programs and initiatives. Feedback may be directed to People & Culture by email at [email protected], by phone at 519-569-7600 x 6032, or in person.
When procuring new systems, technology or other services, employees must consider accessibility needs and ensure the offering is compliant with AODA.
Strategies and Actions Planned for 2021 – 2025
Perimeter recognizes the measures and practices individual departments have established to increase accessibility for all who interact with the institute. Moving forward, this plan will pave the way for the establishment of an Institute-wide framework which supports and promotes inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in our community.
- Training and Development
Over the next several years, Perimeter will develop and deliver accessibility training specific to programs, systems, and platforms used to conduct research and business within the Institute. Additional web accessibility training will be provided to teams and individual content managers who manage content on our websites. Internal and external experts will be consulted in the development of training materials.
Program managers and Visitor Services will direct all inquiries related to accommodation to the People & Culture team for consideration. A centralized process will ensure consistent quality of support and service across the Institute. People & Culture will work with the individual to determine appropriate accommodation.
- Internal Contributors
The Accessibility Working Group will survey the Institute for individuals with special skill sets or knowledge related to accessibility who are willing to share their skill set with others. These individuals may be called on for support or to share their expertise as needed. We all have a shared responsibility to provide an inclusive environment and celebrate the special skills our residents bring to the Institute.
Perimeter’s Facilities team will review the building and re-assess the overall physical accessibility in the coming year. Recommendations for improvement will be put forth to the senior leadership team for review.
- Educational Materials
Perimeter will meet or exceed industry standards for accessibility in future teacher guides and videos. Existing materials will be converted into fully accessible formats as needed, taking into account the accessibility needs of the person with a disability.