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ACCESSIBILITY

POLICY
The Ontario Wildlife Foundation (OWF) is committed to providing our goods and services in a  way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.  The OWF is also committed to giving people with disabilities an equal opportunity to access our goods and services, and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other members, customers, visitors, and other third parties.

PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to meet the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (Ontario).

SCOPE
This Statement of Policy and Procedure applies to all employees, Board Members, volunteers, members, customers, visitors, and other third parties of and to the OWF.

RESPONSIBILITY

Managers/supervisors are responsible for:

1)    Ensuring employees follow the guidelines set out in this policy;

2)    Ensuring employees are trained under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07), and under this policy, practices, and procedures:

3)    Communicating/coordinating/providing services to a person with a disability regarding the appropriate use of a service animal, support person or assistive device;

4)    Providing notification of service disruptions and support person admission fees, if any; and

5)    Providing all documentation in appropriate formats upon request by a person with a disability.

Employees are responsible for:

1)    Ensuring they follow the guidelines set out in this policy;

2)    Ensuring that their behaviour does not violate this policy or the requirements set out in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07);

3)    Ensuring that people with disabilities are treated with dignity and independence, and are provided an equal opportunity to access our goods and services; and

4)    Attending any training or information sessions provided by the OWF regarding the provision of accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

DEFINITIONS

“Assistive device” means a device used to assist a person with a disability to carry out an activity or to access the goods and services of an organization.

“Barrier” means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability; including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.

“Disability” means:

(a) Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect 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 co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a service animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;

(b) A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;

(c) A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;

(d) A mental disorder; or

(e) An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

The definition of disability also includes disabilities of different severity, visible and non-visible disabilities, and disabilities that may be temporary (e.g. broken foot).

“Dignity” means to respect and treat each person, including a person with a disability, as valued, and as deserving of effective and full service as any other member, customer, volunteer, or other third party.

“Equal opportunity” means having the same chances, options, benefits and results as others.

“Independence” means freedom from control or influence of others, and freedom to make one’s own choices.

“Service animal” means an animal for a person with a disability:

(a) If it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or

(b) If 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.

REFERENCES

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (Ontario)
  • Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07)
  • Blind Persons’ Rights Act, 1990 (Ontario) and Regulations
  • Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 (Ontario) and Regulations
  • Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 (Ontario Regulation 562)
  • Human Rights Code, 1990 (Ontario) and Regulations
  • Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (Ontario) and Regulations
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (Ontario) and Regulations
  • AccessON website www.accesson.ca
  • Ministry of Community and Social Services website www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/index.aspx
  • Ministry of Community and Social Services “Guide to the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07)”
  • Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters Policy 7.01 Accessible Customer Service

PROCEDURE

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities
The OWF is committed to excellence in serving members, customers, visitors, or other third parties, including persons with disabilities, and will carry out its customer service functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

(a)  Communication

The OWF will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.  The OWF will train employees who communicate with members, customers, visitors, or other third parties, including all persons with various types of disabilities.

(b)  Telephone and Other Services

The OWF is committed to providing fully accessible telephone service and will train employees to communicate with our members, customers, visitors, or other third parties.  The OWF will offer to communicate with members, customers, visitors, or other third parties by e-mail, TTY, or mail, if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs, or is not available.

(c)   Assistive Devices

The OWF is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use, or benefit from our goods and services.  The OWF will ensure that our employees are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by members, customers, visitors, or other third parties with disabilities, while accessing our goods or services.

(d)  Billing, Information, and Notices 

The OWF is committed to providing accessible invoices, information, and notices to all of our members, customers, visitors, or other third parties.  For this reason, invoices, information, and notices will be provided in alternative formats upon request.

Service Animals
The OWF welcomes people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal in the parts of our premises that are open to the public, and provided the animal is not otherwise excluded by law. It is the responsibility of the person with a service animal to control the animal at all times.  The OWF will also ensure that employees, volunteers, and others working with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

In the event an employee or volunteer is allergic to the service animal, alternative arrangements will be made.

Support Persons
The OWF welcomes people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person, and will ensure continued access to that support person at all times.

The OWF may require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person while on OWF premises in situations where it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the person with a disability, or the health and safety of others.

Consent from the person with a disability is required when communicating private or confidential information related to the person with a disability in the presence of a support person.

Where fees for goods and services are charged, the OWF will ensure that notice is given in advance about the amount, if any, which would be charged to a support person.

Notice of Temporary Disruptions
The OWF will provide members, customers, visitors, or other third parties with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.  The notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.  The OWF will not be able to give adequate notice in the case of an emergency temporary disruption.

The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises.

Training
The OWF will provide training to all employees, volunteers, and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures.

The training will be provided (as part of their orientation training) to new employees and employees who begin new duties that involve interaction with the public or other third parties.

Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07);
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person;
  • How to use the equipment or devices available on the OWF premises, or otherwise, that may assist with the provision of our goods and services;
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing OWF goods and services; and
  • The OWF’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities.

Employees will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities.  Employees will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these polices, practices and procedures.

For report purposes, the OWF will keep detailed records of all training provided.

Feedback Process
The ultimate goal of the OWF is to meet the expectations of members, customers, visitors, and other third parties while servicing people with disabilities.  Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way OWF provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made in any form (e.g. in person, by telephone, in writing, or in electronic format including email, or any other reasonable method) and for reporting purposes, all feedback will be recorded.  All feedback should be directed to the:

Coordinator
Ontario Wildlife Foundation
P.O. Box 1598, Stn Main
Peterborough, Ontario K9J 7S4
Phone: 705-876-7256
Email: owf@ontwf.org

Feedback will be used to improve customer service.  If it is deemed appropriate that the feedback receive a response and the author of the feedback has provided his/her contact information, the OWF will respond within five (5) days of receiving the feedback, in the format in which the feedback was received.

Modifications to this or Other Policies
The OWF is committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.  Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact, if any, on people with disabilities.

Any policy of the OWF that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Notice of Availability of Documents
The OWF will post this policy and any other documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429-07) on our website, and make available in an accessible format any of these documents upon request.

Alternate Formats
If the OWF is required to provide a copy of a document to a person with a disability, the OWF will take into consideration the person’s disability and provide the document in an accessible format.  The OWF and the person with a disability will agree upon the format to be used.

Questions about this Policy
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to members, customers, visitors, and other third parties with disabilities.  If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, please contact:

Coordinator
Ontario Wildlife Foundation
P.O. Box 1598, Stn Main
Peterborough, Ontario K9J 7S4
Phone: 705-876-7256
Email: owf@ontwf.org

August 31, 2014