Time for Human Resources, Facility Managers and Purchasing to Meet with Sr Level OPC Consultants before Human Rights Complaints start!!

Following is recent correspondence which OPC Inc. has had with our clients as there are increasing “demands” from employees and their Physicians (by way of Doctors Notes) regarding Sit to Stand workstations. …..it is our opinion that a national strategy needs to take place for YOUR COMPANY along with the development of a Standards Document and Policy document regarding Sit to St

Did you know that static standing at work increases your heart rate and blood pressure?

Did you know that static standing at work increases your heart rate and blood pressure?

and Workstations for a few reasons which have been outlined below. 1. What will be the HR Directors response be regarding if Physician Notes determine how your Facility Manager and Purchasing group action the request including what equipment you need to buy for an employee? – GP’s knowledge levels about low back pain/mechanical low back pain & musculoskeletal injuries is limited at best. There is plenty of evidence published by MD’s themselves that evidence is not being used in their day to day practice. Access the YouTube public forums being delivered by Dr Hamilton Hall MD and Orthopaedic Surgeon plus the papers published by Dr. Stuart McGill U Waterloo to see how limited the GP’s knowledge is about the application of best evidence for patients with musculoskeletal injuries in particular the lower back. 2. Should OPC Inc continue to apply evidence-based ergonomic practice regarding when and if a sit to stand workstation is required by any of YOUR COMPANY’s employee whom we assess? We are increasingly “policing” the use of sit to stand workstations based on best evidence however there are risks for your related to human rights complaints & work refusals if standards, policies and education are not put into place around sit to stand workstations. 3. Managers and/or employees who upon finding they did not get the equipment they “want” are “escalating” their requests to Sr. Managers, to HR and in some cases hinting they will take their complaints to Human Rights”. 4. The literature from which we (all of OPC’s consultants) draw our facts and base our ergonomic practice upon must come from researchers who are not sponsored by any of the furniture manufacturers. They include but are not limited to; 1. Cornell University’s non-sponsored research (some of the furniture manufacturers hire the PhD’s to conduct “research for them and white papers” 2. Hedge A., Ray E.J. (2004) Effects of an Electronic Height-Adjustable Worksurface on Self-Assessed Musculoskeletal Discomfort & Productivity among Computer Workings, Proceedings of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Sept 20-24, HFES Santa Monica, 1091-1095. 3. Krause N. Lynch JW., Kaplan G.A., Cohen R.D., Salonen J.T. (2000) Standing at Work and the Progression of Carotid Atherosclerosis. Scand J Work Environ Health, 26(3):227-236 4. Tuchsen F. Krause N., (2005) Prolonged Standing at work and Hospitalization due to Varicose Veins: a 12 year prospective study. Occup Environ Med. 2005 December: 62(12):847-850 5. Wilks S., Mortimer M., Nylen P. (2005) The Introduction of Sit-Stand Worktables: aspects of attitudes, compliance and satisfaction. App. Ergo., 37(3), 359-365 6. Sleeth, JE., Workplace survey of general office worker following implementation of 50 sit to stand workstations in the absence of ergonomic assessments. Internal Paper December 2014. Sit to Stand workstations are not the panacea for sore backs & other musculoskeletal complaints in the office. It is important to avoid referring to research published by or sponsored by furniture companies and manufacturers. Reading the Cornell University’s Ergonomic research is a great start in understanding why MD notes are not evidence based because static standing leads to greater generalized fatigue, ischaemic heart disease worsening, increased progression of carotid atherosclerosis & varicose veins. As well, when people stand up to work their fine motor skills diminish – remember moving the mouse is a fine motor skill. So what do you do about your employee’s health & productivity? Read our Blogs to learn more about best evidence in this field, join us at our many conferences and seminars or contact us to learn how the application of REAL ergonomics makes tangible improvements to employee work rates, error rates and health. You can also reach us at 416 860-0002

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If the ROI of Accessibility in your Workplace Does Not Convince you, the Penalties Should

Integrated Accessibility Standards – The Next Step in AODA Compliance for Private Companies in Ontario.
If the ROI doesn’t Convince you, the Penalties for Non-Compliance Should.

The compliance deadlines for the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service was the first of 5 Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians’ with Disabilities Act (AODA), have past. Private organizations in Ontario should be well under way in the planning stages for meeting the next IASR (Integrated Accessibility Standards) which is the next phase of requirements under Ontario’s Accessibility legislation. These Integrated Accessibility Standards came into effect on January, 2012 for Private Organizations and are also accompanied by the mandatory requirement to ensure public outdoor spaces include accessible design elements. The IASR significantly impacts most organizations in Ontario with respect to their human resources practices, procurement and day-to-day business practices.

The Integrated Accessibility Standards address accessibility in three areas: Information and Communications; Employment; and Transportation. The IASR is much more complex than the Customer Service Standard in its application as compliance with each section is not consistent for all organizations. Most of the compliance deadlines are phased in between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2017 (many extend beyond 2017). The deadlines within each standard vary making it critical that organizations know which parts of which standards apply, how and by what dates.

Who do the Integrated Accessibility Standards Apply to?

The IASR applies to the Ontario Government & Legislative Assembly, every designated public sector organization AND every person or organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or to third parties and has at least one employee in Ontario.

The 2 classifications of private organization under the IASR with targeted compliance include.

1. Large private and not-for-profit organizations (50+ employees)

2. Small private and not-for-profit organizations (between 1–50 employees)

* All organizations with the exception of small private and not-for-profit organizations (less than 50 employees) are required to report compliance to the government at designated timelines.

Outline of Basic Steps required in each Standard?

Following is a summary of categories and the primary requirements associated with each. The requirements under the IASR are extensive & as such this does not represent a complete complete list. Our AODA Policy experts and Built Environment Experts can assist in reviewing and planning for the more in-depth Integrated Accessibility Standards. contact us at AODA@optimalperformance.ca to arrange an initial consult.

General Requirements

The IAS Regulation has a set of General Requirements:

· Accessibility Policies and Plans

Organizations are required to develop, implement and maintain policies on how they will achieve accessibility requirements and commit to removing barriers to inclusion. Organizations will be required to establish, implement, maintain and document a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan which outlines the organization’s accessibility strategy to meet the requirements of the Integrated Standard. The plan must be posted on the organization’s website, provided in an accessible format and be reviewed at least once every five years.

· Mandatory Training

Organizations must train all employees on the IASR requirements which include the Communication and Information, Employment and Transportation standards as well as the Human Rights Code for Ontario. The requirements are numerous and training should be specific to the duties/nature of each job. This means employee & manager training requirements will differ in length and content.

Other groups which must also be trained include persons who develop policies (i.e. board members) and anyone who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization

Other General Requirements include the procurement of goods, services or facilities and self-service kiosks.

Information and Communications Standard including:

· Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

Organizations must, upon request, provide accessible formats and communication supports. Examples may include enlarged print, braille, accessible electronic formats, captioning, sign language interpreters and reading documents aloud. Accessible formats and communication supports must be provided or arranged for in a timely manner and at a cost not exceeding the regular cost charged to other persons.

· Accessible Websites

Organizations will be required to make their internet websites and web content conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines called WCAG 2.0. These guidelines define the requirements for an accessible website. These guidelines include four principles of web accessibility:


Adherence to these guidelines will increase readability and allow persons with different disabilities to use assistive devices such as screen readers, magnifiers, & alternate navigation methods within the web.

· Feedback Processes

By now Organizations should have processes for receiving and responding to feedback related to the Customer Service Standard. There is now a requirement to ensure Feedback regarding the CSS and the IASR are accessible to persons with disabilities by providing accessible formats and communication supports, upon request.

Information and Communications requirements also include emergency procedures and educational and training resources and materials.

Employment Standard

The Employment standard is specific to Employers as it relates to the employment of paid employees. This Standard establishes obligations for employers regarding recruitment, accessible training and testing information, employee accommodation, return to work, performance management, career development and re-deployment. This will entail training managers on their responsibilities and training employees on their rights under the AODA.

· Individualized Workplace Emergency Response Information

Organizations must provide and document individualized workplace emergency plans for employees with a disability. Employees are not required to disclose a disability however organizations must request that an employee inform them if the existing emergency response plan does not meet their needs and how the Plan can meet their individual needs.

*This requirement was to be met on January 1, 2012.

· Recruitment Practices

Employers must ensure that all matters related to the recruitment process are accessible to persons with all disability types. This includes jobs being posted in accessible formats and locations; consulting with applicants to provide or arrange suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s disability; and providing communication supports and information in an accessible format.

· Employee Accommodation

Upon request, employers must meet an employee’s need for accessible formats and communication supports for information that is needed in order to perform the job and to access information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.

Transportation Standard

The Transportation standard applies to organizations that provide public or specialized transportation services. The details of the Transportation standard are numerous & technical in nature. Organizations should carefully review this standard to determine whether or not it applies to them.

Enforcement and Penalties

Failure to comply with the AODA requirements can lead to administrative monetary penalties and prosecutions. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario has the power to conduct inspections, assign monetary penalties and prosecute through the courts. Penalties for non-compliance range from $200 to $2,000 for individuals and unincorporated organizations; $500 to $15,000 for corporations.
In the case of an offense under the AODA, penalties can reach a daily maximum of $50,000 for individuals or unincorporated organizations and $100,000 daily for corporations.

There are numerous excellent studies and evidence about the ROI of incorporated Accessibility Programs and Policies as well as Built Environments in the UK, US and Australia. Evidence is starting to emerge in Canada as well primarily in the Province of Ontario. If the ROI and Businesses cases are not motivation enough to embrace accessible, inclusive organizations, then the possibility of corporate penalties of $100,000 per DIEM, brand damage & negative shareholder perceptions may well motivate organizations to comply and do so on the timelines outlined by the Directorate.

To learn the details as to compliance requirements and deadlines for reporting please contact one of our AODA Policy experts.
To learn more about the Accessible Public Space Design requirements which were quietly passed in December 2012 or the new Ontario Build Code Accessible Built Environment (ABES) which passed December 27th 2013 contact one of OPC’s Built Environment Experts.
Contact us at AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca to set up an initial meeting with our experts. Continue reading

Posted in AODA, AODA Act, compliance, IASR, Ontario Build Code, Penalties | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Accessible Escalator in Japan

While becoming rare, some places in Japan still have wheelchair accessible escalators. Three of the steps stay together and form a platform. They aren’t the …

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.youtube.com

See on Scoop.itAccessible Travel

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A Visit to Steelcase Worklife Los Angeles – Design Milk

A tour inside Steelcase’s newly opened 11,000 square feet showroom in Downtown Los Angeles, offering the latest in office solutions and technologies.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: design-milk.com

At Optimal Performance Consultants we work with many design firms and furniture co’s. Thus far Steelcase has the best ergonomic/human factors solutions which impact Wellbeing. Very functional looking office here in LA.  Well done.  JESleeth OPC Inc

See on Scoop.itInclusive

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Baby boomers and the accessible travel market

As boomers reach retirement age, the tourism industry will need to adapt to meet their needs, according to a leading figure in accessible travel. Kahla Preston reports. Baby boomers are set to have…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: babyzoomers.wordpress.com

Amazing how hotels, restaurants and tourism in Canada has not figured out just how much discretionary money is available with disabled and aging populations within and outside of Canada. Apart from RBC + TD banks and now BMO, First Capital and 20 VIC plus BOMAToronto the # of large companies embracing this is paltry and not entrepreneurial in the least.  JESleeth OPC Inc

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Go Accessible 365 – Home

You can check out the website here: http://t.co/RUNodSwK5J – and if you drive an accessible taxi, van or bus, you can register on the site!

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.goaccessible365.com

This is a great site! Too bad Toronto Canada is not using this for the Para Pan Athletes about to come here in August!  When technology meets disability suddenly there is more ability!  JESleeth OPC Inc.

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‘Responsive street furniture’ in cities could boost accessibility

Imagine a city that could physically adapt to the individual needs of the people on the street.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.cbc.ca

These design changes benefit everyone – not disabled people – it helps those of us who are distracted and walking; younger and older users of public space. Great article. OPC Inc.

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Jane Sleeth’s response to a Federal Government Survey; RFP’s do not work for top Consulting Firms


How much time and cost is associated with responding to Fed Government RFP’s?

…..My time as owner of OPC at $$$ per hour which should be devoted to client management and revenue generating activities not on long and convoluted RFP’s which we are NEVER successful at landing with the Fed Government or any of its agencies.

  • What are the costs?:
    Cost to hire an RFP expert writer.
    Cost to pay my Admin staff to assist with RFP responses.
    Zero ROI for us in 24 + years of being in business.

At OPC Inc. we believe in developing trusting relationships with our clients & prospective clients. RFP’s do not allow this to occur.

E procurement approaches makes even more certain that Managers who need assistance from external consultants with the Federal Government are that much further away from the human contact that is really required to make working partnerships work.
I understand RFP’s are about looking like things are being fair & transparent – however these should be reserved for very large contracts where corruption and “cheating” can occur.

For smaller specialized consulting and service firms these stringent exercises cause the Fed Gov & its agencies to not work with innovative firms who can really add value.

It is my firm belief as a long term owner of a specialized firm that any government agency and now private companies who rely on Procurement and RFP strategies are commoditizing that which cannot or should not be commoditized.

If we really want the Canadian economy to be more nimble, responsive and innovative RFP’s should be removed from the system and we should get back to working relationships and partnerships that are effective and measureable in their outcomes and contributions.

The opinions expressed in this Blog are that of Jane Sleeth. You can read more about this very important topic in Million Dollar Consulting Proposals by Alan Weiss.

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Which monitor should I buy – Bigger is better, right? – CNIB Blog OPC Inc recommends as important read

Blindness is across a spectrum. The solutions for accommodation are the same with professionals needing to determine this.

Blindness is across a spectrum. The solutions for accommodation are the same with professionals needing to determine this.

Which monitor should I buy – Bigger is better, right? – CNIB Blog.

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