Accessible Customer Service Policy
May 31, 2012
- All employees of Way-Mar who deal with members of the public or third parties in Ontario
- Vendors, consultants, and other individuals or entities that may provide services or products on behalf of Way-Mar in Ontario
- All persons responsible for the development, implementation, or oversight of Way-Mar's policies, procedures, and practices
At Way-Mar, one of our stated goals is to build continuing sustainable partnerships with our customers. To achieve that, we are committed to providing a service environment that is accessible for all people, including persons with disabilities.
This policy is intended to ensure Way-Mar meets or exceeds the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service(the "Standard") under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the "Act"), which applies to the provision of goods and services to the public or other third parties in Ontario. The Act's aim is to create a more accessible Ontario for persons with disabilities, while the Standard has been established to ensure goods and services are, where at all possible, equally accessible to every member of the public.
Assistive Device: Any device (such as a piece of technology, mechanical aid, communication device, or other instrument) this is used to assist a person in performing a particular task or tasks or to aid that person in activities of daily living such as hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, breathing, remembering, and/or reading. There are many types of common personal assistive devices that customers may bring with them such as wheelchairs, magnifying glasses, hearing aids, etc.
Disability: The definition of disability under the Act is the same as the definition of disability in the Ontario Human Rights Code:
- 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 coordination, 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, 1997.
Guide Dog: A Guide Dog as defined in section 1 of the Blind Persons' Rights Act, 1990 has been highly-trained to provide mobility, safety, and/or increased independence for people who are blind.
Service Animal: An animal is a Service Animal for a person with a disability, if:
- it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
- 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, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs, or with accessing goods or services.
Providing Goods & Services to Persons with Disabilities
i. Policies, Procedures, and Practices
Way-Mar will make every reasonable effort to ensure that this Policy and all our related policies, procedures, and practices for providing services and products to individuals with disabilities are consistent with the core principles of dignity, independence, equality of opportunity, and integration as mandated by the Standard.
Dignity: Persons with disabilities will be treated as valued customers as deserving of our services and products as any other customer.
Independence: Our services and products will be provided in a way that respects the independence of persons with disabilities and allows them to receive the same value and quality enjoyed by others.
Equality of Opportunity: Persons with disabilities will be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from our services and products.
Integration: Wherever possible, persons with disabilities will be provided with our services and products in the same place and in the same or similar manner as any other customer. If an alternate measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from our goods or services, we will provide them in another way that takes into account the person's individual needs and aligns with these four core principles.
Any policy, procedure, or practice of Way-Mar that does not respect and promote the dignity, independence, equality of opportunity, and integration of persons with disabilities will be modified or removed.
ii. Communicating with Persons with Disabilities
Way-Mar strives to communicate with persons with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their disabilities. Our staff members will take all reasonable steps to facilitate an accessible form of communication depending on an individual's particular disability. Persons with disabilities can also obtain basic information about Way-Mar's services and products directly from our website (www.waymar.ca), which provides information in clear plain language that may offer greater accessibility for customers who use accessibility software.
iii. Assistive Devices
Persons with disabilities are permitted to use their own Assistive Devices when on our premises as required to obtain, use or benefit from Way-Mar's goods and services. In cases where the Assistive Device presents a safety concern or cannot be permitted for some other reason, we will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the person with a disability through some other method to ensure his/her access to our services or products. In situations where a physical, technological, or other type of barrier prevents the use of an Assistive Device on our premises, we will first attempt to remove that barrier. If we are not able to do so, we will ask for the person's input on how he or she can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible. We will make our best efforts to provide an alternative means of assistance to the affected individual.
iv. Service Animals
Persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a Guide Dog or Service Animal may enter premises owned or operated by Way-Mar and keep the animal with them if the public or third parties has access to such premises and the Guide Dog or Service Animal is not otherwise excluded by law. If a Guide Dog or Service Animal is excluded by law or for any other reason, Way-Mar will offer alternative methods to enable the person with a disability to access our goods and services, whenever reasonably possible. If a health and safety concern presents itself, for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, Way-Mar will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all affected individuals.
Care and Control of the Animal: The client that is accompanied by a Guide Dog or Service Animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all times.
Recognizing a Guide Dog or Service Animal: If an individual enters premises owned or operated by Way-Mar with an animal in his/her possession and it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the individual for reasons relating to his or her disability, Way-Mar may request verification of the animal's status from the individual. Verification may include any one of the following:
- a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Ontario;
- a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to a disability; or
- a certificate of training from a recognized Guide Dog or Service Animal training school.
v. Support Persons
If a person with a disability is accompanied by a Support Person, we will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter premises owned or operated by Way-Mar and remain together in those areas of the premises that are open to the public or other third parties. The person with a disability will not be prevented from having access to the Support Person while in those areas of our premises. Way-Mar may require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a Support Person where it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the person with a disability or the health or safety of others on the premises.
Confidential Information: In situations where confidential information might be disclosed, consent will be obtained from the person with a disability prior to including the Support Person in any conversation or other activity where confidential information might be discussed or disclosed in any way.
vi. Notice of Temporary Service Disruptions
Service disruptions that may affect the accessibility of Way-Mar's customer service may occur from time to time due to reasons that may or may not be within our control. In the event of any temporary disruption to a facility or service that persons with disabilities usually use to obtain, use or benefit from our goods or services, Way-Mar will make every reasonable effort to provide advance notice to the public. In the event of an unplanned disruption, advance notice may not be possible, but we will give notice as soon afterwards as is practicable in the circumstances.
When disruptions occur, Way-Mar will provide notice by:
- posting a notice in a conspicuous location at our premises, including at the point of disruption, if applicable;
- contacting by telephone customers with appointments who are known to use the affected facility or service; or
- by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.
The notice will include the following information:
- that a facility or service is unavailable,
- the reason for the disruption,
- the anticipated duration of the disruption, and
- a description of any alternative facilities or services that may be available.
Training & Record Keeping
Way-Mar will provide training under the Standard to all persons to whom this Policy applies, and will ensure we provide ongoing training as required to keep individuals up to date with any changes in our policies, procedures or practices affecting the way in which we provide goods or services to persons with disabilities.
Training will be provided to all individuals to whom this Policy applies as soon as is practicable after they are assigned applicable job duties. For new employees, training will generally be completed within their first 90 days of employment with Way-Mar. In accordance with the requirements of the Standard, we will keep records of the training that was provided, the dates on which it took place, and the number of individuals to whom it was provided.
Training will include at a minimum:
- A review of the purpose of the Act and requirements of the Standard;
- A review of the contents of this Policy;
- How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
- How to interact with persons with disabilities who require the assistance of a Service Animal or a Support Person;
- How to interact with individuals who use assistive devices, and how to use any equipment or devices made available on our premises to assist persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from our goods or services;
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our goods or services; and,
- Way-Mar's policies, procedures and practices related to providing accessible customer service to persons with disabilities.
Availability of Documents
This Policy will be made available to any member of the public upon request. Way-Mar will post a notice to that effect in a conspicuous place in our office and also on our website at www.waymar.ca. We will provide this Policy document, or the information contained in it, to a person with a disability in a format that takes the person's disability into account.
Way-Mar welcomes feedback regarding this Policy and its implementation so that we can continuously improve how we provide goods and services to our clients with disabilities.
Feedback can be provided to us in the following ways:
- In person at Way-Mar's office
- By telephone to our CEO at 519-699-4236
- Electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In writing to:
3585 Ament Line, RR # 3
Where possible, we will respond to feedback within ten (10) business days of the date that it is received. In certain circumstances, we may require additional time to effectively address the feedback by conducting an investigation or reviewing or modifying our internal policies or procedures. In such cases, the individual will receive an acknowledgement within ten (10) business days that his/her feedback has been received and is under consideration; Way-Mar will then respond more fully as soon as is practicable thereafter. In any event, Way-Mar's CEO will review the feedback received and decide on an appropriate course of action; when necessary, he/she will engage other necessary individuals in the organization to remedy the situation and/or institute an improvement in Way-Mar's policies or procedures within a reasonable period of time. The CEO or a designate will then provide a response to the individual who provided the feedback.