- Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2005, Part II: What Does My Business Need to Do to Comply with the Law’s Customer Service Standards
- August 18, 2016 | Author: Michael Comartin
- Law Firm: Ogletree Deakins International, LLP - Toronto Office
This is the second installment in a three-part series of articles focused on employers’ duties under Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Part one addressed the scope and applicability of the law to -arious businesses. Part two addresses what a business must do to comply with the customer ser-ice standards under Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
While the exact answer to this question depends on the size and type of business in-ol-ed, there is a laundry list of requirements that apply to all pro-iders of goods and ser-ices with at least one employee in Ontario. According to the Guide to the Accessibility Standards for Customer Ser-ice, Ontario Regulation 429/07, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Ser-ice require all pro-iders to do the following:
- Establish policies, practices, and procedures on pro-iding goods or ser-ices to indi-iduals with disabilities.
- Use reasonable efforts to ensure that your policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the core principles of independence, dignity, integration, and equality of opportunity.
- Set a policy on allowing indi-iduals with disabilities to use their own personal assisti-e de-ices to access your goods and use your ser-ices, and about any other measures your organization offers (e.g., assisti-e de-ices, ser-ices, or other methods) to enable them to access your goods and use your ser-ices.
- Communicate with an indi-idual with a disability in a manner that takes into account his or her disability.
- Allow indi-iduals with disabilities to be accompanied by their guide dogs or ser-ice animals in those areas of the premises you own or operate that are open to the public, unless the animal is excluded by another law. If a ser-ice animal is excluded by law, use other measures to pro-ide ser-ices to an indi-idual with a disability.
- Permit indi-iduals with disabilities who use support persons to bring those persons with them while accessing goods or ser-ices in premises open to the public or third parties.
- Where admission fees are charged, pro-ide notice ahead of time on what admission, if any, would be charged for a support person of an indi-idual with a disability.
- Pro-ide notice when facilities or ser-ices that indi-iduals with disabilities rely on to access or use your goods or ser-ices are temporarily disrupted.
- Train staff, -olunteers, contractors, and any others who interact with the public or other third parties on your behalf on a number of topics as outlined in the customer ser-ice standards.
- Train staff, -olunteers, contractors, and any others who are in-ol-ed in de-eloping your policies, practices, and procedures on the pro-ision of goods or ser-ices on a number of topics as outlined in the customer ser-ice standards.
- Establish a process to gather feedback on how you pro-ide goods or ser-ices to indi-iduals with disabilities and how you will respond to any feedback and take action on any complaints. Make the information about your feedback process readily a-ailable to the public.
- Document in writing all your policies, practices, and procedures for pro-iding accessible customer ser-ice and meet other document requirements set out in the customer ser-ice standards.
- Notify customers that documents required under the customer ser-ice standards are a-ailable upon request.
- When gi-ing documents required under the customer ser-ice standards to an indi-idual with a disability, pro-ide the information in a format that takes into account the nature of the disability.
Many Ontario businesses remain noncompliant with the customer ser-ice standards despite the threat of enforcement action by the Ontario Ministry of Economic De-elopment, Employment and Infrastructure, including potential fines