Accessibility Plan 2022-2025

Message from the National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation. We present, create, produce, and co-produce performing arts programming, with a focus on nurturing the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada.

As described in our National Arts Centre 2020-2023 strategic plan, the NAC is committed to shaping a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future for the performing arts in Canada. We are proud of our commitment to delivering an exceptional experience for all. This includes our visitors, performers, employees, and our partners and communities.

We are also proud of our commitment to improving accessibility and inclusion by identifying, removing, and preventing barriers for persons with disabilities. To ensure that everyone can fully participate in society, all organizations must work together to make accessibility happen.

As part of our commitment to meeting our requirements under the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and as part of our goal to increase accessibility in our organization, we have prepared this Accessibility Plan. This Plan will serve as a roadmap for employees, performers, volunteers, and others to help the NAC continue to work towards becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization.

This Accessibility Plan has been reviewed by the NAC Accessibility Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from over twenty NAC departments and teams. At each stage of development and review of the Plan, we actively engaged participation from those with lived experience as persons with disabilities. We value the collaboration and input of members of the disability community, including patrons, volunteers, performers, and community members. The NAC senior management team is responsible for approving the final Plan.

We commit to reviewing the NAC Accessibility Plan annually, to providing progress reports as required by the ACA, and to updating the Plan a minimum of every three years. We will use the Plan as a resource to help us comply with accessibility and human rights legislation and help us meet our own accessibility commitments and goals. 

Christopher Deacon
President and CEO
National Arts Centre

General

As part of our commitment to meeting our requirements under the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and as part of our goal to increase accessibility at the National Arts Centre (NAC), the NAC consulted with employees, patrons, and other stakeholders to prepare this Accessibility Plan. Consultation for the initial plan included persons with disabilities, as will consultation for future progress reports and plan updates.

This Accessibility Plan and additional information about NAC accessibility services are available online at https://nac-cna.ca/en/visit/accessibility.

Contact the NAC at:

Street Address

1 Elgin Street, at Confederation Square

Ottawa Ontario

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 1534, Stn B

Ottawa, ON K1P 5W1

Email and Phone

accessibility@nac-cna.ca

613-806-4119

National Arts Centre Statement of Commitment to Accessibility

Engaging people in the performing arts is our passion. As Canada’s home for the performing arts, we make space for a diversity of voices, perspectives and lived experiences both on the national stage and within all the circles of people we touch, including audiences, artists, arts workers, and volunteers. The National Arts Centre is committed to providing a safe, dignified, and welcoming environment for everyone. We believe in integration, equality of opportunity, independent access, and participation for persons with disabilities. We will ensure compliance with all applicable accessibility legislation by identifying, preventing, and removing barriers to accessibility. We are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner.

Executive Summary

The National Arts Centre (NAC) recognizes and supports the principles set out in the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and its obligations under this legislation. In September 2021, the NAC engaged AIM for Inclusion as consultants to review its current ACA compliance status. Part of this work included raising awareness about ACA compliance requirements and accessibility best practices for NAC Accessibility Advisory Committee members, employees, and volunteers.

The purpose of the ACA is to ensure that persons with disabilities have fair and equitable access to programs and services and to improve opportunities for people with disabilities. The goal of the ACA is to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility in federally regulated organizations by 2040.

With this purpose and goal in mind, the NAC recognizes that it is essential to go beyond compliance and work towards developing services, programs, and activities that are inclusive for all.

An informal gap analysis review, including a review of accessibility-related NAC policy and procedures and stakeholder interviews, confirmed that the National Arts Centre is committed to working towards a more accessible and inclusive organization.

NAC Accessibility Policy

The National Arts Centre provides details about our accessibility policies and procedures, as well as accessible services and facilities available at the NAC, on our Accessibility page https://nac-cna.ca/en/visit/accessibility. The Accessibility page includes a link to our Accessibility Policy, which describes information related to NAC policies regarding service animals, support persons, assistive devices, and how to provide accessibility feedback and accommodation requests. For details, please go to https://nac-cna.ca/en/legal/accessibility-policy or contact us at for a copy of our Accessibility Policy in alternate formats, available upon request.

Contact Us

National Arts Centre
accessibility@nac-cna.ca

Accessibility Policies, Plans, and Procedures at the National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre Accessibility Plan, the NAC Accessibility Policy, and our Accessibility Feedback form are available on our website at https://nac-cna.ca/en/visit/accessibility.

For more information on National Arts Centre accessibility services or to request any of these documents in an alternate format, email us at accessibility@nac-cna.ca. The NAC will make every effort to provide these documents in an alternate format, upon request.

Alternate print, large print, plain text, and electronic formats for most documents can be provided within 15 days of a request. Requests for braille or audio format for content may require longer to arrange, however information will be provided in as timely a manner as possible.

Accessibility Achievements

The National Arts Centre is committed to meeting all applicable ACA compliance requirements and deadlines. This includes developing public accessibility policies and procedures related to customer service, developing, and posting this Accessibility Plan, and providing progress reports by applicable deadlines.

Accessible Canada Act Deliverables

The NAC has developed and delivered the following ACA requirements:

  • Accessibility Policy
    • An NAC Accessibility Policy that includes a clear statement of commitment and description of accessible services, as well as contact information for queries and accommodation requests, is available to the public on the NAC website and upon request.
  • Accessibility Feedback
    • An accessibility feedback form and process for NAC-wide use has been developed and is available to the public on the NAC website and upon request.
    • NAC Visitor Experience employees and volunteers have been trained on the procedure for receiving, responding to, and tracking feedback to ensure ongoing improvement of accessible and inclusive services.
    • Outreach to NAC contacts with lived experience as part of the Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse communities is ongoing.
    • Outreach to the broader community and invitations for feedback will be sought when updating NAC accessibility plans and progress reports.
  • Emergency information
    • Accessible emergency and safety information for artists and employees has been developed and is available upon request.
  • Training
    • Customer service training incorporating accessibility and accommodation information, including training on NAC assistive devices, has been provided to Visitor Experience employees and volunteers.
    • The NAC Volunteer Manual and Ushers’ Manual have been revised to incorporate updated accessibility policies and procedures, best practices, and plain language. These documents are available in accessible format.
  • Information and communication
    • The NAC continues to work towards ensuring that its website and its information services and content are accessible. This includes box office and ticket purchase procedures, phone support, and accessible marketing material.
    • Accessible information and communication also include provision of public information in alternate formats upon request.
    • Accessibility will be considered if purchasing information kiosks.
  • Employment
    • NAC employment practices have been reviewed for accessibility and inclusion. Policies and procedures have been updated to ensure accessible recruitment, hiring, retention, employee development, and accommodation request procedures.
  • Facilities
    • A facility-wide universal design accessibility audit was completed in 2022 by an independent third-party accessibility organization, including individuals with lived experience. The report includes a detailed listing of all accessibility deficiencies related to building code and related accessibility standards and legislation.
    • The report also includes recommendations for improvements beyond compliance, related to best practices and industry standards.
    • The NAC plans to use the audit report to help build a roadmap to become a barrier-free facility by 2040.
    • An NAC wayfinding project is also in progress (2022-23) to establish goals for addressing the most undersigned areas of the facility.
  • Transportation
    • While the NAC does not own or manage any public transportation services, it is committed to ensuring that any transportation it provides directly or indirectly will be accessible, upon request.

Goals and Measures to Identify, Remove, and Prevent Barriers

Those responsible for accessibility actions and initiatives within the National Arts Centre use various measures to identify, remove, and prevent accessibility barriers and to determine accessibility goals for inclusion in this Accessibility Plan.

Identifying Barriers

To meet or exceed ACA compliance requirements, the National Arts Centre is committed to working with its Accessibility Advisory Committee members to respond to employee, volunteer, patron, and community feedback in identifying priorities to increase accessibility and inclusion. The NAC ensures that its efforts related to consultation and to preparation of this Accessibility Plan include persons with disabilities regarding input and review.

Removing and Preventing Barriers

It is the goal of the National Arts Centre to meet the requirements of the ACA and its Regulations, while working towards incorporating best practices.

The NAC Advisory Committee and NAC management and staff, in consultation with patrons and community members who identify as Deaf, disabled, or neurodiverse, have identified the following accessibility goals for inclusion in this Accessibility Plan. NAC stakeholders and consultation participants identified existing accessibility barriers and offered recommendations on how to remove and prevent barriers.

Key NAC contacts, identified as Action Owners in the tables below, are responsible for ensuring that both ACA compliance requirements and NAC-identified accessibility goals and initiatives are carried out as per legislative and NAC-identified deadlines.

Employment

The National Arts Centre is committed to providing fair and accessible employment opportunities at all stages of the employment cycle. This includes ensuring accessible recruitment and selection processes, creating individualized workplace emergency response plans, and providing formal written accommodation and return to work plans. The NAC is also committed to informing all employees of policies and procedures that support employees with disabilities.

Accessibility Goal Action Owner Target Completion Date
Review job descriptions prior to posting to ensure requirements are accurate and potential accessibility barriers are removed where possible. Human Resources Ongoing, with annual reviews
Include accommodation request information and commitment to accessibility in job applications, when scheduling interviews, and at all stages during the recruitment process. Human Resources Ongoing, required
Increase outreach and collaboration with disability organizations, recruitment agencies and job boards for persons with disabilities, to increase promotion of employment opportunities in the disability community. Human Resources,

Diversity, Accessibility, Equity, and Inclusion (DAEI) team

Ongoing, with annual reviews
Ensure that employee accessibility and accommodation requests are addressed and reviewed on a regular basis, upon request by employees, and during annual performance reviews. Human Resources Ongoing required, with annual reviews
Ensure that individual accommodation plans including emergency and evacuation procedures are in place for employees who request support. Human Resources June 2023
Ensure NAC DEI strategy and initiatives related to “equity-seeking groups” clearly define and describe persons with disabilities as part of such initiatives. DAEI, Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) June 2023
Ensure emergency floor wardens and emergency response teams review and are aware of individual accommodation plans for individuals requesting support during emergencies or evacuations. Health & Safety Coordinator, HR,

DAEI

Emergency Response Team

June 2023

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

The National Arts Centre is committed to making information and communications accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes a commitment to ensuring both print and online information is accessible to employees and the public, including emergency and safety information and website content. The NAC is also committed to making every effort to provide information in alternate formats requested by people with disabilities.

Accessibility Goal Action Owner Target Completion Date
Provide resources to ensure that all National Arts Centre content creators have access and training regarding how to create information in accessible formats (for example, accessible Word and PowerPoint documents) and with accessible content (for example, clear language and appropriate terminology). IMS, Audience Engagement, DAEI March 2023
Publish the NAC Accessibility Policy and Accessibility Plan online, ensuring that each version meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA-level su

Consultations

Background

In 2021, the NAC Visitor Experience team initiated research and consultation efforts regarding how best to increase accessibility and inclusion at the NAC. Several priorities were established, including:

  • Reviewing and ensuring compliance with the Accessible Canada Act;
  • Assessing internal accessibility awareness (through surveys, interviews, and other feedback methods);
  • Reviewing and updating NAC accessibility policies, plans, and procedures;
  • Training NAC employees and volunteers;
  • Increasing collaboration with arts and culture organizations, disability organizations, and with disabled performers and artists; and
  • Increasing outreach and engagement with the broader disability community.

An external accessibility organization (AIM for Inclusion) was engaged to assist with an NAC gap analysis review, documentation of ACA and accessibility policies and procedures, development of ACA and accessibility training content, and creation of an Accessibility Plan that included interviews and consultation with NAC department representatives and individuals with lived experience.

National Arts Centre Accessibility Advisory Committee

The NAC formed an Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), with broad representation of NAC departments and stakeholders. The Committee is responsible for providing guidance to NAC management and teams helping to ensure that the NAC meets all ACA compliance requirements.

An AAC Terms of Reference was created and all AAC members received training on a range of topics, including:

  • The Accessible Canada Act and NAC compliance requirements;
  • The roles and responsibilities of AAC members;
  • The goals and process required to create an Accessibility Plan;
  • General accessibility awareness regarding how to identify, remove, and prevent barriers; and
  • How to communicate effectively and respectfully with persons with disabilities.

In addition to helping ensure ACA compliance, some other key activities of the AAC include the following:

  • Help identify accessibility barriers and provide recommendations to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility;
  • Help ensure ongoing engagement and consultation with persons with disabilities;
  • Prepare and approve accessibility plans and progress reports by required ACA deadlines; and
  • Promote and model the importance of accessibility and inclusion within the NAC.

Stakeholder Interviews and Consultations

Over twenty interviews with National Arts Centre department representatives and team members took place remotely. The NAC Visitor Experience team provided administrative support to identify contacts and arrange a schedule for remote interviews that took place during November and December 2021. In-person interviews did not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Additional interviews were held in March through October 2022 with individuals with lived experience (including employees, volunteers, patrons, and community members who experience accessibility barriers or who self-identified as Deaf, disabled, or neurodiverse). Various NAC team members provided outreach to known performers, patrons, and community contacts. AIM for Inclusion then contacted individuals who provided permission to be interviewed to discuss barriers and lived experiences related to accessing NAC events, facilities, and opportunities.

With annual progress report reviews and subsequent Accessibility Plan development, the NAC will continue to engage the broader community and incorporate feedback from individuals with lived experience.

Core interview questions for employees, stakeholders, and individuals with lived experience were included in interviews, with follow-up and open-ended discussion available with all interview participants.

Consultation input has been incorporated in this Plan as specific goals and objectives assigned to NAC departments. Specific goals include both NAC department owners and target dates (where appropriate) or a commitment to ongoing review and maintenance of goals (where appropriate).

Document Review Process

Numerous National Arts Centre policies and procedures were reviewed as part of the informal gap analysis process.

A further detailed review of all NAC policies is planned, to ensure that all NAC policies are accessible, inclusive, and accurate.

Policies and procedures will also be reviewed for accessible format, for both publicly available policies and for content required or requested in alternate formats by employees.

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