Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy
1. Purpose & Policy Statement
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) provides for the implementation and enforcement by the Provincial Government of standards that are intended to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities in a number of aspects, including the provision of goods and services.
Regulations 429/07 under the AODA sets out the accessibility standard for customer service. This standard applies to Evans, Philp LLP as well as to all other organizations in Ontario that have at least one employee and which provide goods or services to members of the public or to other third parties.
Evans, Philp LLP is committed to excellence in serving all of its clients, including those with disabilities. The objective of this Policy is to ensure we at Evans, Philp LLP meet the requirements of the customer service standard under the AODA.
This Policy applies to all employees of Evans, Philp LLP who deal with members of the public or other third parties.
3. Core Principles
Evans, Philp LLP is committed to ensuring that this Policy and our practices and procedures governing the provision of our services to our clients with disabilities are consistent with the following principles:
Dignity and Independence – we will serve our clients in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
Integration – where possible, Evans, Philp LLP will provide its services in a manner that allows people with disabilities to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar manner, as any other client; in circumstances where integration does not serve the needs of all people with disabilities, our services will be provided, where possible, in an alternate manner that takes into account a person’s individual needs.
Equal Opportunity – our services will be delivered in a manner that provides persons with disabilities opportunities that are equal to those given to other persons to receive and benefit from such services.
4. Assistive Device
If a person with a disability uses an assistive device, we will take reasonable and appropriate steps, consistent with the above-noted principles, to prevent or minimize any interference such device may have upon our delivery of services to such person.
Evans, Philp LLP will take reasonable steps to ensure its lawyers and staff are familiarized with the types of assistive devices that may be used by people with disabilities while accessing our services
5. Service Animals
A person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal will be permitted to enter our premises, and to receive our services, while such dog or animal is with him/her. For the purpose of this section, “guide dog” and “service animal” for a person with a disability are defined as follows:
Guide Dog – a dog trained as a guide for a blind person and having the qualifications prescribed by the Regulations under the Blind Persons’ Rights Act;
Service Animal – an animal in regard to which:
(a) It is readily apparent the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
(b) The person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming he/she requires the animal for reasons relating to her/her disability
[Note 1: if it is not readily apparent to a person acting reasonably that the animal in fact is a service animal, a letter of the type referred to in subparagraph (b) may be requested by Evans, Philp LLP as a condition for allowing such animal onto its premises]
[Note 2: in some circumstances, the use of a guide dog or service animal in the premise may not appear to be feasible for reasons of health and safety; in such cases, Evans, Philp LLP will analyze the situation and consider options that may permit the guide dog or service animal to be used.]
6. Support Persons
A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will not be prevented from having access to such support person while on the premises. However, in order to ensure that solicitor/client privilege is not breached, lawyers and staff will first clarify with the person with the disability that the lawyer or staff person is authorized to discuss his/her file in the presence of the support person.
Evans, Philp LLP is entitled to require that a person with a disability be accompanied by a support person when on its premises if such support person reasonably is necessary to protect the health and safety of the person with the disability or the health and safety 6 of others on the premises. Determinations regarding the need for a support person will be made reasonably, based on factual considerations concerning the ability of the person with the disability to meet such health and safety requirements.
Staff will receive training on how to interact with persons with a disability who are accompanied by a support person.
When communicating with a person with a disability, lawyers and staff will do so in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability. Where appropriate, our lawyers or staff members will as the person with the disability directly how best to communicate with him/her. As well, we will offer our communications in alternate formats, as may be necessary.
Approaches for communicating with a person with a disability are set out in our Accessibility Training Program.
8. Notice of Service Disruptions
If, in order to use or benefit from our services, persons with disabilities usually use particular services or facilities of Evans, Philp LLP and there is a temporary disruption in those facilities or services, in whole or in part, we will provide notice of the disruption to the public. This notice will be posted at the entrance of our premises and on the homepage of the Evans, Philp LLP website. The notice will include the following information:
· the reason for the disruption
· how long it is expected to last; and
· the alternative services or facilities, if any, that will be available during the period of disruption.
9. Training & Records
Evans, Philp LLP will provide the appropriate training to its lawyers and staff. For new employees, training will be provided as soon as practicable after hiring. Such training will include:
a review of the purpose of the AODA and the customer service standard regulation;
instruction on how to:
· interact and communicate with persons with various types or disability;
· interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of guide dogs or other service animals or the assistance of support persons;
· use any technical devices or equipment that may be made available on our premises to help with the provision of services to a person with a disability;
· what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our premises or services.
Records of the training provided will be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the AODA.
Feedback pertaining to this policy or its implementation may be submitted:
· in-person to Jessica Soper;
· by telephone to 905-525-1200, extension 1013;
· e-mail using our Contact Form.
· mail – Attention: Jessica Soper
Evans, Philp LLP
Barristers and Solicitors
One King Street West, 16th Floor
Feedback received will be directed to the appropriate person and acknowledgement of our receipt of such feedback will be issued within three (3) business days.
Feedback will be reviewed and considered with a view to determining whether changes to the manner in which Evans, Philp LLP provides services to persons with disabilities are required or appropriate. Where appropriate, the person who provided such feedback will be advised of any changes implemented as a result of such feedback.
This policy, and related practices and protocols, will be made available, upon request, to any person. Notification of same shall be posted on the Evans, Philp LLP website and at a conspicuous place at our premises.
Evans, Philp LLP will provide a copy of documents, or the information contained in documents, to a person with the disability, as required under the AODA Customer Service Standard in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.