Policies and Commitments

Founded in 1982 and the largest emergency housing provider in York Region, Blue Door provides lifesaving services to the most vulnerable members of our community – youth, men, women, and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness and poverty.

While homelessness affects all ages, races, and genders, because of systemic racism and discrimination, racialized groups, 2SLGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, newcomers, and immigrants are overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness.

Racialized, marginalized and other systemically oppressed groups experience overwhelming structural barriers and challenges including inequitable access to education, employment, housing, and health services – factors that disenfranchise, snowball, and push people, families, and whole generations into homelessness and poverty.

It is with this knowledge, in combination with recent organizational growth, a strong deep-rooted desire to uphold human rights, and the humble acknowledgment that Blue Door needs to do better, that Blue Door shares its commitment to an ongoing journey of listening, learning, and purposeful action in order to better support and serve our beautifully diverse community.
For over 8 years Blue Door has engaged in capacity building work to strengthen its ability to work within an intersectional anti-racist anti-oppressive framework. This includes but is not limited to annualized staff and leadership training on a range of issues.

To further this work, in 2020 Blue Door completed an organization-wide Anti-Racism Anti-Oppressive Organizational Assessment with the support of a third-party consultant. Using learnings from the ARAO Organizational Assessment, Blue Door is continuing to do the work needed to strengthen its organizational culture, and improve its policies, practices and impact.

Stay tuned for updates capturing what we have learned and how we are continuing to take steps towards developing and sustaining more diverse, responsive, inclusive, and equitable services.

Blue Door is committed to providing excellent customer service. We are committed to providing a barrier-free environment for our clients, employees, volunteers, job applicants, visitors, community partners, staff and other individuals who enter our premises and access our information and services.

You can find more details in our AODA Commitment and Policy.

Blue Door is committed to making its services accessible to people with disabilities in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Blue Door will make all reasonable efforts to provide the same level of service to all people no matter their ability or disability. As well, we will work to provide all individuals with equal opportunity to obtain, use or benefit from our services. Service will be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of all individuals.
Our Accessibility plans are listed below.

Blue Door respects its clients’ and employees’ rights to privacy, and the expectation that the information collected by the Agency will be protected. As such, the Agency has developed the following Privacy Policy to which all employees, representatives and agents must adhere. This Privacy Policy describes our practices regarding how the Agency handle personal information, and to assure of our continuing commitment to protect all personal information that the Agency collect, use and disclose in the course of commercial activities. “Personal information”, as referred to in this Policy, means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include an individual’s business contact information.

The Agency collects, uses, transfers and discloses personal information for purposes limited to those which are related to its business of providing services to our clients. The Agency also collects, uses, transfers and discloses personal information of its employees for reasons related to administration of the employment relationship. Such purposes include the following:

  • To manage the customer service and activities of the Agency;
  • To establish relationships, provide quality service to and communicate with our clients;
  • To establish and maintain harmonious employer-employee relations;
  • To administer the Agency’s policies and procedures, including investigations related to alleged breaches of such policies and/or procedures; and
  • To meet requirements imposed by law.

The Agency limits the amount and type of personal information collected to that which is necessary for our identified purposes, and will only collect personal information by fair and lawful means. If the Agency plans on using any personal information collected for a purpose not previously identified, the Agency will communicate and document this purpose, and take steps to obtain any required consent before such use. The Agency does not lease, sell, trade, barter or exchange personal information obtained in the course of fulfilling purposes related to our business activity, as identified above.

Transfers and Disclosures of Personal Information

In the course of fulfilling the purposes described above, the Agency may transfer or disclose your personal information to service providers, including organizations retained by the Agency to perform functions on its behalf, such as its information technology suppliers and any third party consultants. The Agency may also transfer or disclose personal information to third parties where an individual has consented to such disclosure or where disclosure is required by law. When personal information is transferred to third parties, the Agency will ensure that a comparable level of protection is provided and that employees’ personal information is not used for purposes unrelated to those set out above.

Employee Files

The Agency maintains a personnel file for each employee. This file includes the employee’s resume, emergency contact information, performance reviews, salary information and other necessary employment records. Given the sensitivity of some of the contents, all employee files are handled confidentially and are securely maintained using appropriate safeguards. Only the Human Resources Manager and supervisors/managers, with legitimate reasons, may review an employee’s file. If/when required, the Board Chair may require access to employee files.
At the conclusion of the employment relationship the Agency will retain employee files and information on site for a period of no more than two (2) years, or as required by law.


The Agency uses safeguards and other security measures to ensure that all personal information is protected against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.

E-Mail Communication

Given the nature of the medium, the Agency does not guarantee the confidentiality of any communications made by you via e-mail.


By submitting personal information to the Agency or its service providers and agents, staff members agree that the Agency may collect, use and disclose this personal information in accordance with this Privacy Policy and/or as required by law. Subject to legal or contractual requirements and reasonable notice, you may refuse or withdraw your consent at any time upon request. If staff members refuse to consent or withdraw their consent, the Agency may be limited or unable to provide staff members with certain services or information. If staff members provide the Agency or our service providers and agents with personal information of another individual, you will be deemed by the Agency to have obtained consent from such person to enable us to collect, use and disclose such information for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy.

Any questions related to this policy or the handling of personal information by the Agency can be addressed with the Human Resources Manager.

Blue Door believes in resolving employees’ concerns and disputes, related to their employment relationships, in a prompt and equitable manner. Employees who express any concerns, or lodge a formal complaint under this policy, or who provide information regarding a complaint under this Policy and Procedure may do so without fear of retaliation or reprisal, except in cases where there has been false complaints with malicious intent. Any such retaliatory conduct will be subject to immediate corrective action, up to and including dismissal.


Managers are responsible for investigating and responding to employees in a timely manner regarding issues or concerns raised through this procedure. Employees who believe they have legitimate complaints or concerns are encouraged to use these procedures — without fear of reprisal or recrimination.

If an employee is dissatisfied with:

  • The application of the Agency’s Human Resources policies;
  • The actions of a manager or co-worker;
  • Treatment, actions or behaviour from an employee, manager or client that may be in violation of the Agency’s policies, except those complaints covered under the Harassment and Workplace Violence policies;
They may file a complaint subject to the following procedure:

Step 1: The employee shall discuss the problem with their direct manager within five (5) calendar days of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint or first becoming aware of the issue to give the manager an opportunity to resolve the issue. Where the manager is the subject of the complaint, the employee may discuss it with the director (or designate) for the program. In the event that the complaint is against the director (or designate) for the program, the employee may discuss it with a person of authority in which they are comfortable disclosing.

Step 2: If the matter is not resolved within five (5) calendar days of speaking to the manager, designate or other appropriate person, the employee may provide a written request for consultation to the manager’s immediate manager/director. This request should include the nature of the complaint, date(s), time(s), location(s), person(s) involved, witness(es) and any relevant detail. The complaint should also include the remedy sought, if known. The manager, or other appropriate person, shall investigate and respond to the request within ten (10) calendar days to resolve the issue.

Step 3: Should the complaint not be resolved, the employee may request a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer (or designate). Such meeting shall take place within ten (10) calendar days of the request. The Chief Executive Officer (or designate) shall respond within five (5) calendar days following the meeting, unless further investigation is required.

The Chief Executive Officer’s (or designate) decision shall be final and binding on all. Timelines and steps in the process may be modified where it is deemed appropriate and necessary in the circumstances, particularly in complaints of a serious nature and/or where an immediate threat to someone’s personal safety is involved. This shall be at the discretion of the General Manager (or designate).

Conflict Resolution

Conflict can occur in any working environment. In an effort to resolve conflict in an expedient, yet fair manner, where the issue is still not resolved, and resources allowing, the Agency may deem to bring in an external party to support the staff to address the dispute. A decision to bring in external support will be made by the Chief Executive Officer (or designate).

Blue Door is committed to providing excellent customer service. All services provided by Blue Door shall follow the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity. To achieve this, we recognize the diverse needs of people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, community members accessing our services and strive to provide services and facilities which are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. A comprehensive definition of disability can be found in the definitions section of this Manual.

The Agency will make all reasonable efforts to provide the same level of service to all people. Service will be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of all individuals.

This policy is meant to meet the requirements under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Blue Door Accessible Customer Service policy will be reviewed as often as is necessary, but at least annually.


Assistive Devices: Auxiliary aids such as communication aids, cognition aids, personal mobility aids and medical aids (e.g., canes, crutches, wheelchairs or hearing aids).

Communication Supports: Supports facilitating effective communications, including, captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language and sign language.

Disability: As per the Ontario Human Rights Code, means:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  • A mental disorder; or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

Employees: Every person who deals with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of the Agency, whether the person does so as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise.

Persons with Disabilities: Individuals who have a disability as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code (and above).

Service Animals: Animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.

Support Persons: Any persons, whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member, or friend, who accompany an individual with a disability in order to help with communications, personal care or medical needs, or with access to services.

Service Provision: This policy aims to ensure that people with disabilities are given the same opportunities to obtain, use or
benefit from services provided by Blue Door. This will be done by:

  1. Ensuring that all individuals receive the same opportunity, value and quality when accessing services.
  2. Allowing people with disabilities to do things in their own way, and at their own pace when using Blue Door services (as long as there is no safety risk present).
  3. Finding different ways to provide services to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner.
  4. Communicate with a person with a disability in a way that takes the person’s disability into account.

Assistive Devices: People with disabilities may use their own personal assistive devices, or those which may be offered by Blue Door, while accessing services provided by Blue Door. In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure access to services. Blue Door will ensure that staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by persons accessing our services

Service and Emotional Support Animals: Persons with a disability using Blue Door services may choose to be accompanied by service and/or emotional support animals. Such persons may keep the service animal with him or her while at Blue Door, unless the service animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises. If it is not obvious that the animal is a service and/or emotional support animal, confirmation may be requested. Service and/or emotional support animals are not allowed in food preparation areas (as per Public Health regulations) and additional restrictions may be in place due to Health and Safety needs (e.g. in cases of severe allergies of other individuals). When service and/or emotional support animals are not allowed by regulations or for health and safety reasons, staff will provide a reason why they are not allowed and will work with the person to find other ways to access services. People accompanied by service and/or emotional support animals are responsible for the care and supervision of their service animals. Blue Door will not accept responsibility for animals’ care while the animal is on the premises.

Support Persons: Support persons may accompany any person with a disability while accessing Blue Door services. If a person with a disability is assisted by a support person, he/she/they may be provided with a temporary bed in the client’s room. Provision of a bed will be dependent on shelter occupancy.

Notice of Temporary Disruptions in Service: Blue Door will provide notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services used by persons with disabilities. Notice of unexpected disruptions will be provided as soon as is reasonably possible. Notices will include information about: the reason for the disruption, how long the disruption is expected to last, and a description of any available alternative facilities, services or resources. At a minimum, Blue Door will notify service users of the disruption by posting a notice in a conspicuous place on the premises of the service disruption and on the Blue Door website ? or if possible?. Blue Door will consider who will be most affected by the disruption and make sure the information is communicated in the most appropriate manner possible. Management will provide the shelter programs with templates to be used when notifying service users about a disruption.

Customer Service Training: Customer service training will be provided to those:

  1. Who work with members of the public or others on behalf of Blue Door as a staff member, student, and/or volunteer.
  2. Who participate in developing policies, practices, and procedures directing the provision of services.
    Training will include a review of the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, a review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 and instructions on the following:
    1: How to interact and talk to persons with various types of disabilities.
    2: How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or a service animal or support person;
    3: How to use equipment or devices available at Blue Door; and
    4: What to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty accessing Blue Door services.
    New staff and volunteers will receive training during orientation. Ongoing training will be provided in connection with changes to policies, practices and procedures for the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
    The Human Resource Manager will ensure that training is delivered and appropriate records are kept. Records will include: the training provided, the dates on which the training was provided, the number of individuals to whom it was provided, the names of those who were trained and the name of the trainer/facilitator.

Feedback Process: Feedback is welcomed and appreciated as it may identify areas that require change and encourages continuous service improvements. Clients using Blue Door services will be notified of the feedback process. Clients can provide feedback via the Client Satisfaction Survey. Additionally, a feedback form is also available for use by clients or the general public. This form (See Appendix A) can be submitted to the Human Resources Manager and is available electronically or in an alternate format, if requested. Feedback can be provided in person, by telephone, in writing, by e-mail or any other method of communication that is accessible to the person(s), using the contact information below. Where possible, feedback will be addressed immediately. Some complaints, suggestions or recommendations may, however, require more effort to address and will be reviewed for action. Feedback will be reviewed and responded to within 14 business days or as soon as reasonably possible. Feedback may not be possible to provide when the issue is related to confidential personnel issues, or if the person providing feedback has not left contact information.

Notice of Availability of Documents: as required by Ontario Regulation 429/07, Blue Door will provide the following information upon request to any person;

  • Blue Door policies, practices and procedures about offering of services to people with disabilities.
  • Blue Door policies, practices and procedures about the use of service animals and support persons.
  • The steps Blue Door will take to notify people about a temporary disruption of facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.
  • Blue Door Policy on providing training on accessible customer service.
  • Blue Door process for receiving and responding to feedback on the offering of goods and/or services to people with disabilities.

If Blue Door receives a request for these documents, the documents or information will be provided in a format that takes into account the person’s disability. The process to request documents will be posted in conspicuous place in each shelter and on the Blue Door website.
Requests for documents related to Ontario Regulation 429/07 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service are to be forwarded to the Human Resources Manager.