Accessible Customer Service Policies and Procedures

The Corporation of the Township of Laurentian Valley

Accessible Customer Service Policies and Procedures

APPROVED JANUARY 19TH, 2010

Policy:

The Corporation of the Township of Laurentian Valley is committed to eliminating barriers and improving accessibility in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. 

Laurentian Valley permits persons with a disability to use their own assistive devices when accessing goods or services as well as those owned and operated by Laurentian Valley. These assistive devices may include but are not limited to: support persons, service animals, communication aids, cognition aids, mobility aids and medical aids.    

Applicability:

The Accessible Customer Service Policy and Procedures apply to members of Council, all Municipal employees as well as volunteers, agents and/or contractors who represent the Corporation of Laurentian Valley Township in any manner. 

Definitions:

Assistive Device is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities.

Barrier, as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, 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 an information or communications barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or practice.

Customer is a person who buys, receives, or uses goods or services.

Disability, as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Ontario Human Rights Code, is:

  • 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 guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  • a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  • a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • a mental disorder, or
  • an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Service Animal, as defined in Ontario Regulation 429/07, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or 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, as defined in Ontario Regulation 429/07, a 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.

Procedures:

Assistive Devices
The use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from the Township of Laurentian Valleys goods or services is recognized unless otherwise prohibited due to health and safety or privacy issues. 

Support Persons
Persons with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their support person in areas/premises that are open to the public, when accessing goods or services provided by the Township of Laurentian Valley. If a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, the provider of goods or services shall ensure that both persons are permitted to enter the premises together and that the person with a disability is not prevented from having access to the support person while on the premises.

Where admission fees for the support person are applicable, the Municipality will waive collection of admission fees for the support person

The Township of Laurentian Valley may deem it necessary to require a support person for a person with a disability in order to protect the health and safety of that person or of others on the premises. This will only occur after consultation with the person with a disability and when it is the only means to allow the person with a disability to access the Township of Laurentian Valleys goods or services.

Service Animals
Persons with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animal and keep that animal with them in areas/premises that are open to the public, when accessing goods and services provided by the Township of Laurentian Valley, unless superseded by other legislation (health & safety or privacy).

In the event that a service animal is otherwise prohibited by law from the premises, the Township of Laurentian Valley will ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from Laurentian Valleys goods and services.

Service Disruptions
In the event of a planned service disruption to facilities, services or systems that are relied upon by persons with disabilities to access the Township of Laurentian Valleys goods or services, notice of the disruption shall be provided in advance.

Notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternate facilities, services or systems that may be available. 

Notice may be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place on premises owned or operated by the provider of goods or services, or posted on the Municipal web site or by such other method as is reasonable under the circumstances. In the event of an unexpected disruption, notice will be provided as soon as possible.

Training
The Township of Laurentian Valley will provide training to:

  • every person who participates in developing the policies and procedures under Ontario Regulation 429/07 - Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
  • Every person who deals with the public on behalf of the Township of Laurentian Valley, including third parties such as employees, volunteers and agents.
  • Current employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public will receive their training starting January 4, 2010
  • New employees, volunteers, management, etc. shall receive their training as soon as Apractical@ after commencing their duties.
  • Agents working on various projects for the municipality and who have been approved by successful tender shall be responsible for providing their own training to meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 429/07

Training will include the following:

  • The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard,
  • How to interact and communicate with all people seeking to use municipal services
  • How to operate any assistive device in operation at the Municipal Office and the Recreation Centers at a given time
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing the Township of Laurentian Valleys goods and services, and
  • The Township of Laurentian Valleys Accessible Customer Service Policies and Procedures.

Staff will be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies and procedures and when further standards are developed. Training records will be kept of the dates and persons who attended, and the subjects covered.