Compliance with the Customer Service Standard
All individual or organizations in the private sectors including private manufacturing; non-profit and public sectors including universities and colleges, no rx hospitals, decease school boards, provincial and municipal governments and public transportation organizations, that:
- “Provide goods or services either directly or indirectly to the public or to other businesses or organizations, and”
- “Have one or more employees in Ontario.”
Under the Act, Customer Service Standard Section 1
(1) This Regulation establishes accessibility standards for customer service and it applies to every designated public sector organization and to every other person or organization that provides goods or services to members of the public or other third parties and that has at least one employee in Ontario.
(2) In this Regulation, “designated public sector organization” means the Legislative Assembly and the offices of persons appointed on the address of the Assembly,
(3) every ministry of the Government of Ontario, every municipality and every person or organization listed in Schedule 1 or described in Schedule 2 to this Regulation
What are the Compliance Steps I need to Take?
Under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, you must complete the following steps to ensure you are providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities as outlined in the definitions of this guide.
- Establish policies, practices, procedures and the appropriate training (specific to your industry) on your organization providing goods or services to people with disabilities.
- Create a policy on allowing people to use their own personal assistive devices to access your goods and use your services and about any other measures your organization offers (assistive devices, services or methods) to enable them to access your goods and use your services.
- Ensure that your policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the core principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity. Reasonable effort is expected by all to comply with these core principles of the act.
- When addressing a person with a disability, take in to consideration their individual needs.
- Train staff all members of your organisation on a number of topics as outlined in the customer service standard.
- Allow people with disabilities to be accompanied by their guide dog or other service animal 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 service animal is excluded by law, make reasonable effort to use other measures or means to provide services to the person with a disability.
- Permit people with disabilities who use a support person to bring that person with them while accessing goods or services provided by your organization.
- Where admission fees are charged, waive any fees that would be charged for a support person.
- If facilities or services become temporarily disrupted, be sure to provide notice to customers with disabilities that may rely on the access to the goods or services.
- Establish a feedback process that emphasizes on how you provide goods or services to people with disabilities as well as how you will respond to anyfeedback. Also, make the information regarding the feedback available to the public.
a) Additional requirements that apply to all public sectors and private sectors with 20 or more employees include:
- Complete an online report on your compliance by the reporting deadline.
- Identify and or notify your customers that all documents are available upon request.
- When providing documents to a person with a disability, provide the information in the required document(s), in a format that takes into account their disability.
b) Who counts as an employee?
For the purpose of the customer service standard, full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract employees regardless of status, must be counted when determining the number of employees an organization has. Do not include volunteers and independent contractors in your count; however, depending on the work they do for you, they may have to comply with the requirements of the standard.
- All obligated organizations are responsible to ensure that the services provided by non-employees on their behalf follow the rules of the standard and many need to ensure these individuals are trained.
- If self-employed, do not count yourself or any of your business partners as employees; however, you may be considered an employee, if you are incorporated.
Consider the Alternatives. This video, although from the Norwegian Institute for the Blind gets the point across quite well that allowing Seeing Eye Dogs is not a bad thing.