August 24, 2007

Providing Excellent Accessible Customer Service For People with Disabilities

Ontario's first mandatory accessibility standard developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 is the Accessible Customer Service Standard. Organizations that provide goods or services to the public and have at least one employee will have to:

  • establish policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities, including a policy about the use of assistive devices.
  • use reasonable efforts to ensure that their policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:
    • the goods or services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities
    • the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others must be integrated unless an alternative 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 (for example, assisting a person with a disability to reach items on a shelf)
    • persons with disabilities must be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services
  • communicate with customers with disabilities in a manner that takes into account the customer's disability (for example, providing a publication in an alternative format, such as audio or Braille)
  • train their customer service staff, volunteers and people responsible for developing the organization's customer service policies, practices and procedures in the provision of accessible customer service
  • permit customers with disabilities who are accompanied by support persons or service animals to use them while accessing goods or services in premises open to the public and, where admission fees are charged, provide advance notice concerning what admission, if any, would be charged with respect to a support person
  • provide notice when accessibility to services or facilities for customers with disabilities is temporarily disrupted (for example, posting signs at the entrance of a building to let customers know that one or more elevators is temporarily out of service)
  • establish a process for customers to provide feedback respecting the provision of customer services to persons with disabilities and for the organization to take action on complaints.

Members of the Customer Service Standards Committee

Judith Sandys(Chair)
Ryerson University
Cynthia Archer
Ontario Library Association
Cathie Auger
Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario
Beverly Ball
Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario
Colleen Bell
City of Toronto
Mike Bonnah
Ontario Hospital Association
Richard Clarke
Ontario Ministry of Governement Services
Della Derrough
Community Living Ontario
Terry Downey
Ontario Federation of Labour
Wendy Feldman
Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Dennis Finucan
Canadian Council of the Blind (Ontario Division)
Martha Johnson
Canadian Bankers Association
Stuart Johnston
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Douglas Jure
Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas
David Kelly
Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs
Brian Kon
Ontario March of Dimes
Sheila Larmer
Ontario Ministry of Tourism
Adina Lebo
Motion Picture Theatres Association of Canada
Lorin MacDonald
Individual Representative
Kerry Ann Markle
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ashley McClinton
Retail Council of Canada
Victor Palmer
Adult Learning Disabilities Resource
Rod Seiling
Greater Toronto Hotel Association
Margaret Shenton
Canadian Hard of Hearling Association (Ontario Chapter)
Sharon Vilcini
Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre
Walter Edward Visser
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
Jane Warwick
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

For additional information, please call 1-888-520-5828 or toll-free teletypewriter (TTY) 1-888-335-6611.

John Letherby
Communications and Marketing Branch

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