Accessible Customer Service

Policy

Category: General – Agency
Subject: Accessible Customer Service
Division: Human Resources and Corporate Services
Policy Number: CA.50.01.105
Effective Date: December 1, 2015

POLICY STATEMENT

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to providing programs and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Wherever possible, persons with disabilities will benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other clients.  Programs and services provided to persons with a disabilities and others shall be integrated, unless alternative measures are required to enable a person with a disability an opportunity equal to that of persons without disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from WDGPH programs and services. 

PURPOSE:

WDGPH is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. The Agency is committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In addition, this policy will service to inform members of the public regarding their rights and WDGPH obligations with respect to:

The provision of services to persons with disabilities;
The use of support persons, assistive devices and service animals by persons with disabilities;
Notice of temporary disruptions in services and facilities; and
Client feedback and accessible communications.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees, students, volunteers and contractors who deal with the public on behalf of WDGPH.  

PROVISION OF SERVICES:

Accessibility Plan:

WDGPH will develop, implement and maintain a multi-year accessibility plan outlining its strategies to remove and prevent barriers that impede persons with disabilities from fully participating or benefitting from WDGPH programs and services.  The multi-year plan will be reviewed annually and updated as required.  The plan will be posted to the WDGPH website and will be made available in accessible formats upon request. 

Accessibility Policies/Procedures:

WDGPH will develop, review and/or update its policies, procedures and practices, including those for purchasing/procurement to ensure compliance with the AODA.

Training:

WDGPH is committed to training staff and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on accessibility aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code that apply to persons with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers, and Board of Directors.

THE USE OF SUPPORT PERSONS, ASSISTIVE DEVICES AND SERVICE ANIMALS:

Use of Support Persons:

If the person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, WDGPH will ensure that both persons are permitted to enter the premises together and the support person is permitted to stay with the person with a disability while accessing services or goods. In certain circumstances WDGPH may require that a person with a disability be accompanied by a support person to protect their health and safety, or that of others.

Where confidential matters are discussed, the person with a disability may be subject to the same confidentiality and privacy requirements as the person with a disability whom they are assisting.

Fees will not be charged for a support person when a person with a disability is accessing services subject to an admission or program fee. 

Use of Assistive Devices:

WDGPH will ensure that persons with a disability who use assistive devices have equal access to our services and goods. Where the use of a personal assistive device is a barrier to accessing services and goods, or where it is determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of the individual or others on the premises, WDGPH will assess the service delivery and provide alternative methods to meet the needs of that person.

Use of Service Animals:

A person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or service animal will be given access to all WDGPH premises and allowed to keep their animal with him or her when obtaining services or goods, unless prohibited by law. If the animal is prohibited access by law, WDGPH will make reasonable accommodations to provide services or goods to the person with a disability as soon as practicable.

NOTICE OF TEMPORARY DISRUPTIONS:

Where there are temporary disruptions, either planned or unplanned, causing interruptions in the delivery of services, goods or access to facilities for people with disabilities, WDGPH will provide notice of the disruption to the public as soon as possible. Notice will include the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and information about alternative services or facilities, if any.

Information about temporary disruptions will be posted at the premises and on the website. If appropriate, notice will be sent to the media for dissemination.

CLIENT FEEDBACK, ACCESSIBLE FORMATS AND COMMUNICATION SUPPORTS:

Feedback Process:

WDGPH welcomes feedback about the manner in which services and goods are provided to persons with disabilities. Feedback may be compliments, complaints or suggestions for improvement on how services and goods may be better delivered to people with disabilities. Feedback may be submitted in person, in writing, by telephone, any electronic format or by using the CA.30.01.003 Accessible Customer Service Feedback Form on the WDGPH website.

All feedback will be reviewed and the person providing the feedback will be responded to, if they provide contact information. Responses will outline the actions that WDGPH will take to improve the delivery of services and goods to persons with disabilities.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports:

WDGPH is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. When asked information and communication materials will be provided in accessible formats or with communication supports. This includes publicly available information about Agency goods, services and facilities, as well as publicly available emergency and safety information.

WDGPH will consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.

DEFINITIONS:

Accessible – capable of being reached or entered; easily understood or appreciated; easy to get at or obtainable. 

Assistive Devices – technical aids, communication devices or other instruments used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities (such as a wheelchair, specialized learning software, oxygen tank or hearing aid). Personal assistive devices may assist in breathing, hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, remembering and/or reading. Disability, as defined by the AODA, shall mean:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defects 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 heating impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal, a wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or advice;
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  • A learning disability, or 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 dog trained as a guide for a blind person having the qualifications prescribed by the regulations.

Persons with Disabilities – are individuals who have a disability defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Service Animals – animals trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. An animal is a service animal if:

It is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
If the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability.

Support Person – a person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to services and goods.

 

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:

Corresponding Procedure:  N/A
Ontario Regulation 429/07, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
CA.30.01.002 Accessible Customer Service Request for Information and Communication
CA.30.01.003 Accessible Customer Service Feedback Form

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Accessibility Coordinator, Human Resources

APPROVED BY

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services