POLICY AND PLAN
The Canadian Opera Company (COC) and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (FSCPA) are committed to accessible customer service policies, practices and procedures based on the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.
Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that all patrons:
- Are treated with dignity and respect
- Are given the opportunity to attend performances in a way that is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible
- Have equal opportunity to access our performances, concerts, events and venues
- Have access to, and be informed of, all pertinent policies and procedures.
At the Four Seasons Centre we offer numerous features to assist patrons in all aspects of attendance; from purchasing a ticket to taking a seat and enjoying the production.
- Option to enlarge font on the COC and FSCPA websites
- Elevator access from the subway exit level to the main vestibule
- Barrier-free box office
- Automatic door openers at Queen Street entrance
- Elevator access to all levels of the venue
- Braille on directional signage and in elevators
- Every washroom is wheelchair accessible
- Unisex single transfer washrooms are available on Rings 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Wheelchair accessible designated locations throughout all levels (except Ring 5) in most price levels
- Transfer arm seats (one arm opens to the aisle) on Orchestra, and Rings 3 and 4
- Call to performance through ringing of bells
- SURTITLES™ translations projected on a screen above the stage for COC opera performances
- Staff that have been trained in accessibility standards
- Accessible underground parking with elevator access to main vestibule
- A limited number of:
1) Wheelchairs for patrons’ use
2) Hearing assistive devices available for use
3) Opera glasses available for rent
4) Armless loose chairs
5) Obus Formes and booster seats
To facilitate equal access to COC performances, we offer many ticket options for patrons with special needs. Opera Under 30, Rush and Standing Room discounts are all offered to patrons who require accessible seating.
Aisle and loose seating is offered to those with service animals, while support persons are offered discounted tickets if attending with a patron who requires assistance.
All seating is allocated based on availability and not all dates may be available. For more information on these services, call 416-363-8231.
We are committed to welcoming patrons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. A support person may help the patron with a variety of things that range from communication to helping with mobility, personal care or medical needs. While on our premises, we shall ensure that the person with a disability is not prevented from having access to the support person. The support person who accompanies a patron with special needs is eligible for a discount of 50% off the regular ticket price. Ability to book seats for any given performance or date is always subject to availability.
Should we require that a person with a disability be accompanied by a support person, we shall waive payment of the amount, if any, payable in respect of the support person's admission to the premises. In this situation, the requirement would be made after consulting, in advance, with the patron with a disability. Based upon the available information, we will determine that a support person is necessary in order to protect the health or safety of the person with the disability or the health or safety of others on the premises which could not be protected by reasonable alternate means. Each situation will be considered on a case by case basis.
A patron requiring personal and/or physical assistance to move within the venue is expected to bring a support person to the performance for the full duration of the visit. FSCPA staff members are not able to lift, lower, carry, hold, or physically support patrons, including those in a wheelchair. This policy protects the health and safety of both the patron and FSCPA staff.
We welcome patrons with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to patrons.
A patron requiring a service animal will be accommodated in select areas of the house where aisle or leg room allows space for the animal and does not obstruct other patrons. Seating will be subject to availability and, therefore, may not be available for all performances on all dates. While accommodating service animals, consideration must also be given to building fire codes and evacuation procedures.
In circumstances where it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, we reserve the right to ask the patron to provide documentation from a regulated health professional confirming that the person with the disability needs the service animal for reasons relating to his/her disability.
It is the responsibility of the person using the service animal to maintain control of the animal at all times.
The FSCPA can accommodate assistive devices brought into our venue including wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. The automatic door openers are turned on one hour prior to performance and are turned off after egress. Should a patron require the use of a wheelchair, walker or cane to move about the venue but prefer to sit in a theatre seat for the performance, the Front of House staff will assist with the storing of a support item during the performance. An usher will meet the patron at his/her seat to collect the support item, store it during the performance and return with it at intermission and at the conclusion of the performance.
The FSCPA offers patrons hearing-assistance devices for their use, including those that can be used in conjunction with hearing aids. They are available free of charge at the coat check on the Lower Level. Instruction on their use is also available at the coat check on the Lower Level.
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
Both the COC and FSCPA will make every attempt to communicate both planned and unexpected disruptions in facilities or services which are relied on by patrons enjoying our performances and venue. Notice of disruption will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. Notice of disruption will be clearly posted at appropriate locations within the facility and, in relevant circumstances (should timing permit) on the COC website.
In the event of an unplanned disruption, it must be recognized that the ability to provide reasonable notice may be limited.
In addition to our policies and plans, COC/FSCPA employees and volunteers are trained on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The training includes:
- An overview of the AODA
- The requirements of the Customer Service Standard
- The COC’s plan related to the Customer Service Standard
- Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people who have various types of disabilities, both visible and invisible
- Instruction on how to use assistive devices and facilities available at the FSCPA
- Instruction on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by an animal or support person
- Instruction on ways to work around barriers or challenges to offer service to patrons who are having difficulty accessing our services, including how to use equipment and devices available on-site and otherwise that may help with providing services to patrons with disabilities
This training ensures COC/FSCPA staff and volunteers are well versed in the Customer Service Standard. Training is provided on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to our policies, practices and procedures, and as soon as practicable when a new staff member or volunteer joins our team.
Training will also be provided to staff involved in the development of policies, plans, practices and procedures related to the provision of our services to the public.
Training records will be maintained on file.
The COC is committed to customer service and to providing the best possible experience for our patrons. We urge patrons to provide us with feedback, both positive and negative, in regard to the delivery of our services to persons with disabilities. We encourage your feedback so that we can continually enhance our capabilities and support. Patrons may do so in person at the welcome desk located on the main level by the Queen Street West entrance during a performance, by e-mailing us at [email protected], calling 416-363-8231 or posting a letter to the attention of “Accessibility at the COC,” Canadian Opera Company, 227 Front St. E., Toronto ON M5A 1E8.
Information gathered through these channels will be read and reviewed by an appropriate representative at the Canadian Opera Company. We will investigate and assess the feedback for appropriate action. A response, if required, will be made in a timely manner. In these situations, customers can expect to hear back from us within two business days.
To ensure that our feedback process is accessible to patrons with disabilities, we will provide or arrange for accessible formats and communication support, upon request.
The Canadian Opera Company and Four Seasons Centre Accessibility Standards may be requested in various font sizes by e-mailing us at [email protected] or by calling 416-363-8231. We will also post a notice at the FSCPA box office to notify patrons that our documents related to accessible customer service are available upon request. If a patron with a disability requests a copy, it will be provided in a timely manner and in a format that takes into account the person’s disability. Please contact us with any questions.
The following policy has been developed by the Canadian Opera Company and the Canadian Opera House Corporation (operating as the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts), hereinafter referred to as “the company,” to govern the provision of services with respect to the “Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation” (“Regulation”) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
These standards are intended to break down barriers and increase accessibility and participation for persons with disabilities in the areas of information and communications, and employment.
The company will develop, implement and maintain these policies in order to achieve accessibility through meeting our requirements as outlined in this policy, our Accessible Customer Service Policy and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005
Statement of Commitment
The company is committed to treating all persons in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in the principles of integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements, where possible, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005.
This policy will be implemented in accordance with the time frames established by the Regulation. Please refer to the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan for implementation time frames.
Multi-Year Accessibility Plan
The company will establish, implement, maintain and document a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (“Accessibility Plan”) outlining the organization’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers from our workplace and to improve access and participation for persons with disabilities while meeting our requirements under this Regulation.
The Accessibility Plan will be posted on the organization’s website and will be made available in an accessible format upon request. We will also review and update the Accessibility Plan at least once every five years.
The company is committed to training staff and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility standards and on the accessibility aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code that apply to persons with disabilities. Training will be provided to:
- All employees and volunteers;
- All persons who participate in developing the organization’s policies; and
- All other persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization
Training will be provided in a way that relates to the specific roles and best suits the duties of the employees, volunteers and other persons and will complement our existing Accessible Customer Service training.
All persons requiring training shall be trained as soon as practicable. In addition, training will be provided on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to the accessibility policy.
We will also maintain a record of the training we provide.
Information and Communications
The company is committed to meeting the information and communication needs of persons with disabilities in a way that takes into account their disabilities. We encourage patrons, staff and volunteers to provide us with feedback, both positive and negative, in regard to our performances, procedures and policies. We will continue to ensure that our existing feedback processes are accessible to persons with disabilities. When asked, we will provide information and communication materials in accessible formats or with communication supports. This includes publicly available information about our goods, services and facilities.
The company will consult with persons with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.
We will also notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.
The company will ensure that the website and content conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA in accordance with the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Regulation.
The company is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.
We will notify the public, staff and potential hires that, when requested, we will accommodate disabilities during the recruitment, assessment, selection and hiring process. This will include consulting with the selected applicants or employees on the suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the accessibility needs.
We will notify staff that supports are available for those with disabilities. As soon as practicable, we will inform our new hires of our policies used to support employees with disabilities.
The company will put in place a process to develop individual accommodation plans for employees. The company will also consult with the employees with respect to arrangements for accessible formats and communication supports.
If needed, we will provide customized workplace emergency response information to help employees who have a disability, if the disability is such that the individualized information is necessary and if the company is aware of the need for accommodation.
Any performance management, career development, redeployment and return-to-work processes, currently in place or implemented in the future, will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.
For More Information
This policy has been developed to break down barriers and increase accessibility for persons with disabilities in the areas of information and communications, and employment. For more information on this policy, please contact us at [email protected], calling 416-363-8231 or posting a letter to the attention of “Accessibility at the COC,” Canadian Opera Company, 227 Front St. E., Toronto ON M5A 1E8.
Accessible formats of this document are available upon request.
Issued: December 2013
Updated: December 2015