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Accessibility Standards for Customer Service

Policy Statement & Strategic Plan Linkages

Through the establishment of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service policy and supporting procedures and practices that respect the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities, the Town of East Gwillimbury is reflecting its commitment to sound governance, accountability and focus on service excellence in fulfilling its vision of being Our Town Our Future.

Purpose

The Town of East Gwillimbury is committed to giving all people the same opportunity to access and benefit from Town goods and services. To ensure support for and compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and relevant regulations, the Town of East Gwillimbury will make reasonable efforts to ensure that it provides accessible customer service to people with various kinds of disabilities and respects the core principles of independence, dignity, integration and equal opportunity, as defined herein.

Definitions

Taken from the Guide to the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

Assistive Device – shall mean an auxiliary aid such as communication aid, cognition aid, personal mobility aid and medical aid (i.e. canes, crutches, wheelchairs, or hearing aids etc.) to access and benefit from the goods and services offered by the Town of East Gwillimbury.

Barrier - means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of the disability. Barriers may include a physical, architectural and attitudinal barrier as well as, an information or communication barrier, technological barriers, a policy, procedure or a practice.

Disability - means any degree of physical disability including, but not limited to, diabetes, epilepsy, brain injury, paralysis, amputation, lack of coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, physical reliance on a guide dog, other animal, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device; mental impairment or developmental disability; learning disability or dysfunction in understanding or using symbols or spoken language; mental disorder; or injury for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Guide Dog or Service Animal - a “guide dog” means a guide dog as defined in section 1 of the Blind Persons’ Rights Act.

For the purpose of this policy, an animal is a service animal of a person with a disability 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 in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

A support person may be a paid support worker, a volunteer, a friend or a family member; the support person does not need to have special training or qualifications.

Principles

Dignity – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to maintain self respect and the respect of other people.

Equal Opportunity – service is provided to a person with a disability in such a way that they have an opportunity to access Town goods or services equal to that given to others.

Independence – when a person with a disability has the freedom to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others.

Integration – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other customers, unless an alternate measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to access goods or services.

Policy Provisions

Accessible Customer Service:
The Town of East Gwillimbury shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, procedures and practices as amended from time to time are consistent with the following principles:

a) The goods or services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

b) The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others must be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services.

c) Persons with a disability must be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.

Assistive Devices:

The Town of East Gwillimbury permits a person with a disability to use and keep with them their own personal assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services offered by the Town of East Gwillimbury.

Where Town-owned assistive devices are available, appropriate staff within the applicable department will be knowledgeable of the presence and trained in the use of the assistive devices. Staff will be available to assist with the Town owned assistive devices if requested for use by an individual.

Communication:

Town of East Gwillimbury employees, when communicating with a person with a disability, shall do so in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

Service Animals and Support Persons:

The Town of East Gwillimbury shall allow a person with disability, who requires to be accompanied by a support person into all Town premises that are owned or operated public facilities. Both persons are permitted to enter the premises together and the person with a disability will have access to their support person

A support person, when assisting a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the Town’s goods and/or services, will be permitted to attend at no charge where an admission fee is applicable.

The Town of East Gwillimbury allows a person with a disability to be accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal onto all Town of East Gwillimbury owned and operated public facilities and will ensure that the person is permitted to keep the animal with him or her unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law.

If the service animal is excluded by law from the facility, the Town of East Gwillimbury will ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the Town of East Gwillimbury’s goods and services.

Notice of Temporary Disruption:

Notice of Service Disruption shall be provided when facilities or services that people with disabilities usually use to access Town of East Gwillimbury goods or services are temporarily unavailable or if the goods or service are expected in the near future to be temporarily unavailable, in whole or in part.

The Notice must include the following information:
a) The reason for and information about the disruption
b) Anticipated duration
c) Description of alternative facilities or services, if available
d) Contact information

Notice may be given by posting information in a conspicuous place on the premises, on the Town’s website or any other such method as is reasonable in the circumstances.

Training:

The Town of East Gwillimbury shall ensure the following persons will or have received training regarding the provision of its goods and services to persons with disabilities.

1) Every person who deals with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of the Town, whether the person does so as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise.

2) Every person who participates in developing the Town’s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to members of the public or other third parties.

The training shall include but is not limited to the following:

1) Review of the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Ontario Regulation 429/07;

2) Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;

3) Instruction on how to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a guide dog, other service animal or support person;

4) Instruction on how to use equipment or devices available at Town premises or that are otherwise provided by the Town, that may help persons with disabilities access Town services, such as telephones, elevators, kiosks, listening devices or other technology; and

5) Instruction on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing the Town of East Gwillimbury’s services.

Training shall be provided to each person as soon as practicable and training records shall be maintained to ensure compliance with the legislation.

Feedback:

The Town is committed to providing accessible formats and communications supports for people with disabilities upon request. To request an accessible format or communication support please contact Customer Service at 905-478-4282 or email customerservice@eastgwillimbury.ca links to external site.

Notice of Availability of and Format of Documents:

The Town shall provide notice that upon request it will provide a copy of the following policies, procedures and practices required under Ontario Regulation 429/07 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service to any person.

  • Town policies, procedures and practices on the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities – including a policy on the use of personal assistive devices by persons with disabilities to access Town goods or services.
  • Service animals and support persons – Policy, procedures and practices with respect to the entry of service animals and support persons to those areas of the premises that are owned or operated by the Town, where such are open to the public.
  • Notice of temporary disruption – the steps that will be taken in connection with a temporary planned or unexpected disruption to facilities or services that persons with disabilities usually use to access Town goods or services.
  • Training – description of the Town policy on providing training on accessible customer service.
  • Feedback process – description of the process for receiving and responding to feedback on the manner in which the Town provides goods or services to people with disabilities.

Format of Documents:

Should the Town be requested to provide a person with a disability any document noted in this section, the Town will give the person the information contained in the document, in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.

If a person with a disability asks for a document in a different format, staff will discuss what options are available to the individual and then agree upon the format the Town will provide.

Accountability

All staff of the Town of East Gwillimbury shall use due diligence to ensure the Corporation complies with legislation by acting in accordance with the provision of this policy and the supporting procedures and practices.

Responsibilities

Responsibilities of Management:

  • Educate employees and ensure compliance with all aspects of the policy.
  • Demonstrate behaviours that are consistent with the policy.
  • Provide support and guidance to staff members in fulfilling the policy.
  • Ensure all staff are trained according to the requirements of the legislation.
  • When aware of areas of non-compliance ensure appropriate action is taken.

Responsibilities of Employees:

  • Comply with all aspects of the policy.
  • Demonstrate behaviours that are consistent with the policy.
  • Participate fully in training as it relates to this policy.
  • When aware of areas of non-compliance ensure the supervisor or manager is notified.
  • The Town of East Gwillimbury is committed to providing accessible formats and communications supports for people with disabilities upon request.

Exclusions

This Policy shall not apply during any period where an emergency has been declared by the head of Council.

Feedback

The Town of East Gwillimbury welcomes feedback on how we can provide accessible customer service. Customer feedback will help to identify barriers and respond to concerns. Residents can provide feedback in the following ways:

Cross-References