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Accessibility Policy





1. Purpose / Applicability

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, all public and private sector organizations in the Province of Ontario must meet the requirements of accessibility standards established by regulation. This policy establishes the accessibility policy, multi-year accessibility plan and related commitments, in accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation 191/11) for Ontario operations of United Natural Foods, Inc. Canada (UNFI). The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and its Regulations (including all other standards as may be developed) are collectively referred to hereafter as the AODA.

This Policy applies to all UNFI Associates in the Province of Ontario.


2. UNFI’s General Accessibility Policy

UNFI is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities based upon the core principles of dignity, independence, inclusion, integration, responsiveness, and equality of 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 the accessibility requirements under the AODA.


2.1 Commitment to Accessible Information and Communications

(i) Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

Upon request, UNFI will provide:

  1. all organizational information and communications made available to UNFI’s customers and the public, including this policy;
  2. any publicly available emergency procedures, plans or public safety information to its customers and the public; and
  3. access to any processes for receiving and responding to feedback,

in an accessible format or via accessible communication support.

UNFI will consult with the person making the request to determine the suitability of any accessible format or communication support provided. This information and documentation will be provided as soon as is practicable, but specific timeframes may vary depending on the format requested.

(ii) Website Accessibility

Except where doing so is not practicable, UNFI’s internet website(s) and the associated web content and web-based applications, published after January 2012, will conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA (other than success criteria 1.2.4 and 1.2.5).

(iii) Feedback Regarding Accessibility

UNFI encourages persons with disabilities to provide comments on the goods, services, and facilities they receive or use, including feedback regarding the accessibility of those goods, services, or facilities.

Feedback may be delivered to UNFI by mail or e-mail, or other means available to the person.

Customers may use any of the following feedback channels:

UNFI Canada
8755 Keele Street,
Concord, Ontario,
L4K 2N1
Attn: AODA Feedback/Human Resources

Contact UNFI by using our Contact Us form.

All feedback will be reviewed for possible improvement. Feedback will be directed to the most appropriate department for resolution and any complaints will be addressed as soon as possible. Persons providing feedback can expect an acknowledgment of their feedback to be issued within business 10 days. The acknowledgment will indicate when the matter will be addressed and when the individual will be notified further in the matter. Correspondence with the individual will consider their accessibility needs and will be provided in accordance with UNFI’s commitment to accessible information and communication supports described above.

2.2 Accessible Employment

UNFI has implemented the following practices and procedures to promote the inclusion of applicants for employment and existing employees with disabilities in its workplace.

(i) Recruitment

UNFI notifies employees and the public about the availability of accommodations for applicants with disabilities during the recruitment process and when job applicants are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process.

If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, UNFI consults with the applicant and provides or arranges for the provision of a suitable accommodation (including with respect to any materials or processes used in the application process), accounting for the applicant’s disability.

When making offers of employment, UNFI notifies successful applicants of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.

(ii) Employee Notification

UNFI informs its employees of its policies used to support its employees with disabilities: (a) to new employees as soon as practicable after they begin their employment; and (b) whenever there is a change to existing policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account accessibility needs due to a disability.

(iii) Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

Where an employee with a disability requests it, UNFI will consult with the employee to provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for: (a) information that is needed in order to perform the employee’s job; and (b) employment information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.

UNFI will consult with the employee making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support.

(iv) Individual Accommodation Plans

UNFI has a written process for the development of a documented Individual Accommodation Plan; Disabilities & Accommodation Policy – Canada. A copy of this process can be found on UNFI’s intranet.

(v) Return to Work Process

UNFI has a return-to-work process for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodation to return to work. An explanation of the process can be found in the Disabilities & Accommodation Policy on Canada’s SharePoint site "The Sweet Spot".

(vi) Performance Management, Career Development and Advancement and Redeployment

UNFI accounts for the accommodation needs of its employees, including any individual accommodation plans of employees, when: (a) using performance management; (b) providing career development and advancement opportunities; and (c) redeploying employees.


2.3 Training Commitment

UNFI provides three types of training related to accessibility: accessible customer service training (as further discussed in section 3.6 below); integrated standards accessibility training; and training on the Human Rights Code as it relates to individuals with disabilities.

This training will be provided to all Associates as soon as practicable and generally, within three months of the individual’s commencement of duties. Training will also be provided on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices, and procedures.

UNFI will keep a record of the training provided, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided.


3. Accessible Customer Service

UNFI is committed to providing access to goods and services to its customers in a manner that is consistent with the principles of independence, dignity, integration, and equality of opportunity, and that is compliant with the AODA. To that end, UNFI recognizes the importance of:

  • Providing integrated access to goods and services for individuals with disabilities;
  • Openly communicating and responding to the needs of customers with disabilities to provide them with excellent customer service; and
  • Complying with the mandatory Customer Service Standard addressed under the AODA.

3.1 Accessible Customer Communications

UNFI Associates are required to communicate with customers with disabilities in a manner that considers their disabilities. Associates will consider how a customer’s disability may affect the way that the customer expresses, receives, or processes communications and where possible, they will ask the customer how to best communicate with the individual.

3.2 Assistive Devices

Assistive devices that may be used by individuals with disabilities are welcome on UNFI’s premises that are open to the public or other third parties. UNFI will take steps to ensure that Associates are familiar with commonly used assistive devices.

3.3 Service Animals

UNFI welcomes guide dogs or other animals that serve individuals with disabilities in those areas of its premises that are open to customers and will permit the customer to keep the service animal with them, except for those animals that are otherwise excluded by law from the premises. In the event a service animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises, UNFI will provide the applicable customer with an alternative method of obtaining, using, or benefitting from its goods or services.

3.4 Support Persons

UNFI welcomes persons who support individuals with disabilities to accompany the individual with disabilities to UNFI and to those parts of its premises that are open to the public or other third parties. UNFI will ensure that customers who so require have access to their support persons while on the premises. Such support persons need not be paid professional support workers. They may be volunteers, family members, or friends who provide support to the customer. Such support individuals may be required to sign confidentiality statements or other privacy documents, as applicable.

3.5 Temporary Unavailability of Access to Goods or Services for Customers with Disabilities

In the event a facility, service, or system offered by UNFI to customers with disabilities becomes temporarily unavailable, in whole or in part, UNFI will provide notice of the disruption, as is reasonable in the circumstances. The notices will be posted in a conspicuous location at UNFI or in another reasonable location and shall:

  • Explain the reason for and anticipated length of the disruption; and
  • Provide a description of and indicate the location of an alternative facility or service that is accessible to individuals with disabilities, if available.

3.6 Accessible Customer Service Training

All UNFI Associates will be:

  • Provided with an overview of the AODA and the Customer Service Standard under the Regulations;
  • Trained on how to interact, communicate, and assist people with disabilities, and in particular, people with assistive devices and those who require the assistance of a guide dog, service animal, or support person;
  • Made aware of the policies and procedures created by UNFI in accordance with the Customer Service Standard; and
  • Trained on how to help a person with a disability who is having difficulty accessing UNFI’s goods or services.

This training will also be provided on an ongoing basis, as soon as practicable, whenever UNFI’s policies change with respect to customer service accessibility for individuals with disabilities.


4. Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Under the AODA, private and not-for-profit organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must create a multi-year accessibility plan. This Multi-Year Accessibility Plan outlines the policies and actions that UNFI will or has put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities across the organization.

This multi-year accessibility plan will be updated at least once every five years. UNFI’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan can be accessed here.


5. Availability of this Policy

A copy of this policy will be posted on UNFI’s corporate website.

Upon request, UNFI will provide or arrange for the provisions of this policy or the information contained in this policy, to the requesting individual in an accessible format or with a communication support in a timely manner that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs due to disability and at no cost. In doing so, UNFI will consult with the person making the request in determining the suitability of the format or communication support.

Definitions pertaining to terms in UNFI’s Accessibility Policy can be found here. Appendix A - Definitions.