Client Service Policy
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) is intended to make Ontario more accessible to Ontarians with disabilities. The Act provides for five (5) standards which all organizations and corporations must comply in a staged process. The standards includes Customer Service, Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation and Built Environment.
ASYR is required to develop policies and procedures for three (3) of the five (5). An Accessible Customer Service Policy was developed in 2012. An Integrated Services Policy was developed in early 2014. An Integrated Accessibility Plan was developed in late 2014.
ASYR Personnel, including members of the Board of Directors, will be trained on ASYR’s Accessibility Policies in 2016.
Update ASYR’s Customer Service Policy to ensure it continues to adhere to legislative requirements
ASYR’s commitment to providing goods and services to Ontarians in a manner that best meets the needs of the individual is a fundamental principle of the agency and it is based on dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for all of its clients and the community in the context of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005.
The following definitions come from the AODA (2005) and are provided to assist ASYR Personnel with a clear understanding.
- Any degree or combination 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 coordination, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing loss, loss of speech or impairment, or physical reliance on a service 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
- An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
- Capable of being entered or reached, approachable, easy to get at, capable of being influenced, obtainable, able to be understood or appreciated
- An adjustment made to enable a person with a disability to perform the essential duties or requirements of the position
- A technical aid used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of persons with disabilities
- Respecting and treating every person, including persons with disabilities, as valued and deserving of receiving services as any other individual
Goods and Services
- Goods, services and programs provided by ASYR to individuals, the community or other organizations/agencies
- Freedom to make your own choices; freedom from influence or control of others
- Animal(s) used by a person with a disability. Examples include guide dogs, oftentimes used by persons with hearing impairment, visual impairment and/or to alert an individual of an oncoming seizure.
- A person who has been hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with mobility, personal care, medical needs, communication or with access to goods and/or services
General Principles and Procedures
Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
ASYR is committed to excellence in serving all individuals, including persons with disabilities and will carry out its functions and responsibilities to ensure that policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:
- Goods and/or services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of person with disabilities
- The provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities is integrated with those provided to persons who do not have disabilities unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from ASYR’s goods and/or services
- Persons with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that of persons without disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from goods and/or services
- Communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability
- To ensure the best possible service, ASYR encourages two-way communication and expects persons with disabilities to communicate their need for accommodation or assistance
Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices, as required, when accessing goods and/or services provided by ASYR.
In cases where assistive devices present a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measure will be used to ensure the access of goods and services an example of this is open flames and oxygen tanks cannot be near one another for safety reasons, therefore the accommodation of a client with an oxygen take may involve ensuring the client is in a location that would be considered safe for both the client and the agency. Another examples is when elevators are not present and where an individual requires assistive devices for the purposes of mobility, service will be provided in a location that meets the needs of the client.
Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
A client with a disability that is accompanied by a guide dog, service animal or service dog will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. “No pet” policies do not apply to guide dogs, service animals and/or service dogs.
If it is not readily apparent that the animal being used by the client for reasons relating to his or her disability, ASYR may request verification from the client. Verification may include:
- A letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
- A valid identification care signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or
- A certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school
Care and Control of the Animal
The client that is accompanied by a guide dog, service dog and/or service animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all times when on ASYR premises, satellite offices and/or clinics
If a health and safety concern presents itself, for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, ASYR will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.
Food Service Areas
A client with a disability that is accompanied by a guide dog or service dog will be allowed access to food service areas that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. Other types of service animals are not permitted into food service areas due to the Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario – Regulation 562, Section 60.
If a guide dog, service animal or service dog is excluded by law, ASYR will offer alternative methods to enable the person with a disability to access goods and/or services, when possible, for example, securing the animal in a safe location and offering guidance of an employee.
Other Applicable Laws
If there is a conflict between a provision in other applicable legislation and regulations, the provision that is most restrictive in relation to controls or bans prevails.
If a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, ASYR will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter the premises together and that the client is not prevented from having access to the support person.
There may be times where seating and availability prevent the client and support person from sitting beside each other. In these situations, ASYR will make every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.
In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the client, prior to any conversation where confidential information might be discussed.
If payment is required by a support person for admission to the premises, ASYR will ensure that notice is given in advance by posting notice of admission fees for support persons where ASYR fees are posted.
Notice of Disruption in Service
Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of ASYR. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that clients with disabilities rely on to access or use ASYR’s goods and/or services, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice. In some circumstances such as in the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible.
In the event that a notification needs to be posted the following information will be included, unless it is not readily available or known:
- goods and/or services that are disrupted or unavailable
- reason for the disruption
- anticipated duration
- a description of alternative services or options
When disruptions occur, ASYR will provide notice by:
- posting notices in conspicuous places including at the point of disruption, at the main entrance and the nearest accessible entrance to the service disruption;
- contacting clients with appointments
- verbally notifying clients when they are making an appointment; or
- by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances
ASYR shall provide clients and the community with the opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided to persons with disabilities. Information about the feedback process will be readily available to all clients and the community and notice of the process will be made available by posting at reception and the ASYR website. Feedback forms, along with alternate methods of providing feedback, such as verbally (in person or by phone) or written, will be made available upon request.
Clients and the community who wish to provide feedback by completing an onsite client feedback form or verbally can do so to any ASYR employee. Individuals who provide formal feedback will receive acknowledgement of their feedback, along with any resulting actions based on concerns or complaints that were submitted.
Clients and the community may submit feedback by:
- Completing ASYR’s online Feedback & Complaints Form or
- Calling ASYR’s Ethics Hotline at: 844-792-2278 or 416-369-3797 or
- Sending an email to: [email protected]
Training will be provided to all employees, volunteers, students on placements, agents and/or contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of ASYR and to those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures at ASYR or on behalf of ASYR.
Training will cover the following:
- a review of the purpose of AODA (2005)
- A review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
- Instructions on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
- Instructions on how to interact with persons with disabilities who
- use assistive devices;
- require the assistance of a guide, service dog or other service animal; or
- require the use of a support person, including the handling of admission fees
- Instructions on how to use equipment or devices that are available at our premises or that we provide that may help persons with disabilities
- Instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing ASYR services, ASYR’s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to providing accessible customer service to persons with disabilities
ASYR will provide training on a periodic basis to all employees, at minimum, once every two years. Training will be provided to all new employees, students on placement, volunteers in the agency, agents and/or contractors who deal with the public or act on ASYR’s behalf during orientation. Updated training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures and/or practices.
ASYR will keep a record of training that includes the date(s) training was provided and the names of employees who attended the training. Additional training opportunities will be provided to those employees that were unable to participate in previously organized training.
Notice of Availability and Format of Documents
ASYR shall notify individuals that documents related to the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service are available upon request and in a format that takes into account the individual’s disability. Notification will be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place owned and/or operated by ASYR, ASYR’s website and/or any other reasonable method.
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
- Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
- Blind Persons’ Rights Act, 1990
- Dog Owner’s Liability Act, Ontario, 1990
- Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001
- Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990
- Ontario Human Rights Code, 1990