Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) policy – Customer Service Standard
The Firm strives to provide a barrier-free environment for its clients and to provide goods and services to people with disabilities in a manner that respects their dignity, and independence, assuring equality of opportunity and integration, and ensuring they receive the same high standard of service excellence that the Firm endeavours to provide to all clients.
The goal of the AODA is to create a more accessible Ontario by identifying, and to the extent possible, preventing and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with a disability. A standard for customer service (the “Standard”) has been established under the AODA to ensure that goods and services are, where at all possible, equally accessible to every Ontarian.
The Firm endeavours to ensure that the policy and related practices and procedures are consistent with the following four (4) core principles:
- Dignity: Clients with a disability must be treated as valued clients who are as deserving of service as any other client.
- Equality of Opportunity: Clients with a disability should be given opportunities equal to those given to other clients to obtain, use and benefit from the Firm’s goods and services.
- Integration: Wherever possible, clients with a disability should benefit from the Firm’s goods and services in the same place and in the same or similar manner as any other client. In circumstances where integration does not serve the needs of the client with a disability, the Firm’s goods and services will, to the extent possible, be provided in another way that takes into account the client’s individual needs.
- Independence: Goods and services must be provided in a way that respects the independence of clients with a disability. To this end, the Firm will always be willing to assist a client with a disability but will not do so without the express permission of the client.
Definition of Terms
|“Accessibility Report”||means the report that PS is required to file under Section 14 of the AODA.|
|“Assistive Device”||means any device that is designed, made or adapted to assist a person perform a particular task, including physical or technical aids, such as communication devices, canes, crutches, hearing aids and wheel chairs.|
|“Barrier”||means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability. This includes a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.|
|“Disability”||means:(a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness;|
(b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
(c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one of more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
(d) a mental disorder; or
(e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plans established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
|“Service Animal”||means an animal that has been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities and includes any animal if:A. it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or|
B. the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.
|“Support Person”||means another person who accompanies a person with a disability to assist with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.|
This policy applies to all employees, contractors and agents of the Firm, whether such employees, contractors or agents are engaged on a full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or reduced work arrangement.
Communication with Persons with Disabilities
The Firm strives to communicate with disabled clients in a manner that takes into account both the disability and the client’s preferred method of communication. The Firm can communicate with clients in writing, via telephone, email or meetings, either in person or via video conferencing. The Firm recognizes that not all clients will wish to communicate in the same manner.
Clients with a disability are permitted, where possible, to use their own assistive device when on the Firm’s premises for the purposes of obtaining, using or benefiting from the Firm’s goods and services.
If there is a physical, technological or other type of barrier that prevents the use of an assistive device on the Firm’s premises the Firm will first endeavour to remove that barrier. If the Firm is not able to remove the barrier, the Firm will ask the client how he/she can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible to him/her. The Firm will make best efforts to provide an alternative means of assistance to the client with a disability.
The Firm’s staff will receive training on various assistive devices that may be used by clients with a disability while accessing the Firm’s goods and services.
Clients with a disability may be accompanied by a service animal and keep the service animal with them on the Firm’s premises, if the public or other third parties have access to such premises and the service animal is not otherwise excluded by law. If a service animal must be excluded, the Firm will explain to the client why this is the case and explore alternative ways to meet the client’s needs.
It is the responsibility of the client using the service animal to ensure that the service animal is kept in control at all times.
The Firm’s staff will receive training on how to interact with clients with a disability accompanied by a service animal.
Clients with a disability may be accompanied by a support person and have access to the support person on the Firm’s premises.
The Firm may require a client with a disability to be accompanied by a support person where it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the client with a disability or the health or safety of others on the premises.
Notice of Temporary Service Disruptions
The Firm will notify clients if there is a planned or unexpected disruption of a facility or service clients with a disability use to access the Firm’s goods and services.
The Firm is committed to meeting the requirements of the Standard. Comments regarding how well client expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.
Clients may provide feedback on the manner in which the Firm provides the Firm’s services to clients with disabilities. Feedback may be delivered through the following channels:
- electronically, by visiting the Firm’s website;
- by email;
- in writing by mail
- in person, by visiting the Firm office and hand delivering feedback in writing to the reception area.
Additionally, a client may request for their Firm contact to submit feedback on their behalf.