Update:

The public feedback period on the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee’s initial proposed changes to the Customer Service Standard is now closed.

The committee thanks members of the public who provided feedback and contributed toward improving accessibility in Ontario.

The committee is reviewing the public’s comments to finalize its proposed revisions to the Customer Service Standard. The committee will submit its final recommendations to the Government of Ontario for its consideration. The final proposed changes from the committee will be published online for your information.

Introduction:

The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is to achieve an accessible Ontario by 2025 through the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards that apply to the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Under the AODA, the government of Ontario has developed accessibility standards to identify, remove and prevent barriers in key areas of daily living: customer service; employment; information and communications; transportation; and the design of public spaces. All organizations with one or more employees in Ontario are required by law to comply with the AODA and its accessibility standards.

On January 1, 2008, the Customer Service Standard became the first accessibility standard to be made into regulation under the AODA. The Standard sets out requirements to achieve accessible customer service. Accessible customer service is about understanding that customers with disabilities may have different needs and finding the best way to help them access goods and services.

The Customer Service Standard applies to all organizations (public, private and not-for-profit) that provide goods or services either directly to the public or to other organizations and that have one or more employees in Ontario. Requirements for organizations pertain to topics such as accessible customer service policies, practices and procedures; service animals; support persons; customer feedback; and staff training.

Public sector organizations were required to comply with the Customer Service Standard as of January 1, 2010. Private and not-for-profit sector organizations were required to comply with the Standard as of January 1, 2012.

The AODA requires the review of each accessibility standard five years after it becomes law to determine whether the standard is working as intended and to allow for adjustments to be made as required.

In September 2013, the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee, in its role as the Standards Development Committee, began its review of the Customer Service Standard at the direction of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. The committee includes leaders from the disability community and from organizations that must comply with accessibility standards.

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Public Involvement:

Based on its review, the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee developed its initial proposed changes to the Customer Service Standard. Members of the public were invited to provide feedback on the committee’s initial recommendations from March 3, 2014 to May 22, 2014.

NOTE : If there is a conflict between a document that describes the Customer Service Standard regulation and the Customer Service Standard regulation itself, the Customer Service Standard regulation prevails. The proposed revised Customer Service Standard is representative of the work of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee and does not reflect the proposed direction of the Government of Ontario.

Next Steps:

The committee is reviewing the public’s comments to finalize its proposed revisions to the Customer Service Standard. The committee will then submit its final recommendations to the Government of Ontario for its consideration. Public feedback is being reviewed but may not be adopted into regulatory amendments.