This is a draft policy prepared pursuant to Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). This is the first of five standards that are being developed. In addition to goods and services, the AODA will roll out other standards in relation to: employment, transportation, accommodation, facilities, buildings, structures and premises.
The Customer Service Accessibility Standards apply to:
- Every designated public sector organization (as of January 2010); and
- Every other person or organization that provides goods or services to members of the public or third parties and which has at least one employee
Effective date for compliance for private sector = January 1, 2012
Persons or organizations with at least 20 employees must have a written document or documents outlining their policies, practices and procedures for accessible customer service AND upon request will provide a copy of the policy/policies to any person.
The Provincial Government has prepared some very helpful manuals to assist:
Guide: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
Compliance Manual: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
Training Resource: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 Compliance Manual for Small Business and Organizations: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
Training Resource for Small Businesses and Organizations: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
(Copies of these documents are available in a binder in my office along with a copy of the Act and Regulation).
1. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSEThis Accessible Customer Service Policy is made under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). The objective of this Accessible Customer Service Policy is to identify, develop and implement accessible standards to improve access to the Company’s goods and services to persons with disabilities.
2. OUR COMMITMENTThe Company strives at all times to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. The Company is committed to providing persons with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and to benefit from these goods and services in the same place and in a similar way as other persons. The Company will strive to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following core principles outlined in the AODA: Dignity – Goods and services are provided in a manner that is respectful to a person’s disability. Independence – Goods and services are provided in a manner that respects a person’s right to do for him/herself and to choose they way he/she wishes to receive the goods and services. Integration – Goods and services are accessible in an inclusive manner with full participation as the ultimate goal. Equal Opportunity – Goods and services are provided in a manner that allows persons with disabilities the same chances, options, benefits and results as others.
3. SCOPEThis Accessible Customer Service Policy applies to all of the Company’s employees, volunteers, third party contractors and visitors.
4. POLICY4.1 Communication with Persons with Disabilities The Company will communicate with persons with disabilities in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability. The Company will provide training to all current and future employees and volunteers with respect to how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities. 4.1.1 Telephone Services [or other communication related service] The Company is committed to providing fully accessible telephone services. The Company will train staff to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. The Company will offer to communicate with clients by email or TTY relay services if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs, or is not available. 4.2 Assistive Devices and Technologies Assistive devices or technologies are permitted and unrestricted in all areas of the Company to which employees and the public have access. The Company is committed to serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from the Company’s goods and services. The Company will strive to ensure that its staff is trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing the Company’s goods and services. The provision, use and safety of personal assistive devices is the responsibility of the person with a disability. 4.3 Service Animals Persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal may access premises owned or operated by the Company, if the public has access to such premises and the service animal is not otherwise excluded by law. If a service animal is excluded by law, the Company will strive to ensure that alternate means are available within reasonable time and location to provide access to the Company’s goods and services to persons with disabilities. 4.4 Support Persons The Company welcomes staff, employees and visitors who are accompanied by a support person when the support person has been hired or chosen by the person with the disability to accompany them in order to assist in accessing goods or services and/or for the purposes of providing support with mobility, personal assistance and/or communication. [The Company will provide advance notice if any amount is to be paid in order to access the Company’s premises] 4.5 Notice of Planned or Unplanned Disruption in Services and Facilities The Company will take reasonable steps to report any planned or unplanned service disruption affecting employees, visitors, contractors or members of the general public. The Company will report such disruption in a timely fashion through appropriate information channels, including its website and postings in conspicuous locations at the premises. The Company will report alternatives that exist to allow access to persons with disabilities during the disruption. The required information necessary for any communication of a temporary disruption may include: • the time, date and location of the disruption; • the reason for the disruption; • the anticipated duration of the disruption; • descriptions of alternative facilities or services, if any; and • contact information for the responsible service area.
5. TRAININGThe Company shall provide training in respect of the AODA and Accessible Customer Service Standard to all current employees, volunteers and third parties and, in particular, to those providing services and who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, procedures and practices. New employees will be provided such training as part of their orientation. Training will include the following:
- The purposes of the AODA and the requirements of the Accessible Customer Service Standard;
- How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person;
- How to use TTY Relay services; writer, email
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing the Company’s goods and services; contact designated staff for assistance.
- The Company’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
- Staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.