Customer Service Policy
Accessibility Standards for Customer Services
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
The Government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005. The Act makes Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to create comprehensive accessibility standards in all areas of daily life. The Act requires the business community, the public sector, and the not-for-profit sector to develop, implement and enforce mandatory accessibility standards. The first set of the standards to be implemented are the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (O. Reg. 429/07).
The Customer Service Standard requires all organizations that have at least one employee to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessible customer service. The main components of this Standard include putting into place policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of its services to persons with disabilities.
For the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, complying with the Standard will allow it to serve its clients equitably, regardless of ability, and will ensure that all staff feel comfortable with the customer service policies for persons with disabilities.
The Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario (OIC) is committed to serving its clientele with regard to its mandates and to responding to queries from members of the public, regardless of ability. The OIC will make efforts to remove or reduce barriers to accessing its services.
The OIC office is located in an office tower that is managed by a private firm. The building is wheel-chair accessible; however, the OIC has no control over the maintenance of facilities outside its own office space, including elevators and escalators. The entrances of both offices are equipped with automatic door openers.
The OIC provides services related to its mandates to the following groups or people:
- Elected officials and their staff
- Members of the Ontario Public Service
- Certain Public Entities
The OIC will also receive inquiries from members of the public, which it may deal with directly or refer to another organization or entity.
Interactions with Clients
There are four types of customer service interaction that have been considered when working to remove barriers to service. They are:
- In person (at the Office of the Integrity Commissioner)
- By telephone
- By mail/e-mail/fax
- Through the website
Policies, Practices and Procedures
The following policies, practices and procedures have been developed in accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (O. Reg. 429/07 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005).
The Office will use reasonable efforts to ensure that services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to the services provided by the OIC that is given to others.
OIC services provided to persons with disabilities will be integrated with the services provided to others unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from OIC services. When communicating with a person with a disability, OIC staff will take into account the person’s disability.
Use of Assistance and Assistive Devices
Persons with disabilities are able to use their personal assistive devices when accessing OIC services. OIC staff will provide appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities where requested in order to access OIC services. This assistance may include, but is not limited to:
- Physical assistance and guidance within the office space or to access building facilities
- Assistance in exiting the building during emergency evacuation
- Use of the Telephone Relay Service
- Providing documentation in larger font
- Providing information verbally or in writing
When a person with a disability makes a request for a particular type of assistance, OIC staff will assess the feasibility of the request before making any decision as to whether the assistance can be offered. In this regard, the OIC may, but is not obligated to, seek temporary resources from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario or other Legislative offices.
Use of Service Animals or Support Persons
OIC staff will ensure that persons with disabilities accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal when on the premises are permitted to enter the premises with the animal and to keep the animal with him or her.
OIC staff will ensure that when a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, both persons are permitted to enter the premises. A support person may also be permitted to be present during the provision of OIC services, but only where requested by the person seeking the service.
OIC staff will ensure that the person seeking the service is comfortable with the support person being present during discussions that may be of a sensitive nature.
Notice of Temporary Disruption
OIC Staff will endeavour to inform all persons who are attending at OIC offices of any disruptions to building facilities (e.g. escalator or elevator) that may create difficulty for a person with a disability in accessing OIC services in person.
Staff will also provide, when requested, information about the disruption, its anticipated duration and, where possible, provide alternative methods of accessing OIC services. If the disruption in facilities will last longer than five business days, the OIC will take steps to provide information about the disruption on its website.
Training of Staff
All OIC staff members will inform and familiarize themselves with the OIC policy, practices and procedures on the provision of services to persons with disabilities. All OIC staff will take part in training that achieves the following goals:
- Reviews the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and Ontario Regulation 429/07 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service.
- Ways to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.
- Ways to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a guide dog or other service animal or the assistance of a support person.
- How to use available equipment, devices or services that may help in serving persons with disabilities, including the Telephone Relay Service.
- What to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty accessing OIC services.
The training will be provided to each staff member as soon as practical after he or she begins working at the OIC. Training will be provided on an ongoing basis in connection with changes to OIC policies, practices and procedures on the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
The OIC will keep records of the training provided to staff on this topic, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided.
The OIC welcomes feedback on the manner in which it provides its services to persons with disabilities. Feedback can be made in person, by telephone, by letter, by e-mail or in other accessible formats. Contact information for providing feedback is as follows:
Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor St. West, Suite 2100 Toronto, Ontario M4W 2E3
If the feedback is a complaint, the OIC will do the following:
- Acknowledge the complaint.
- Review the circumstances of the situation, taking into account current OIC policies, practices and procedures.
- Provide a response to the complainant in writing, as well as verbally if requested.
Every effort will be made to respond to a complaint within 10 business days. The OIC will make every reasonable effort to resolve the issue in accordance with its policies, practices and procedures for the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
Notice of Availability of Documents
Staff will provide a copy of this document upon request. A notice will be posted in a conspicuous place of both OIC offices of the availability of this document.
Format of Documents
If this document is requested by a person with a disability, the OIC will work with the person to provide the document, or the information included in the document, in a format that takes into account the person's disability. This may include providing the information verbally, explaining the content and meaning of the information, or providing the document in a larger font.
Revising of Policy
The OIC will undertake to review this document and make changes or additions as needed, particularly after undergoing physical changes to its office space, receiving feedback from clients or members of the public, or learning new information about assistive devices or resources. At minimum, this document will be reviewed on an annual basis.
Created and approved: December 2009
Last revised: January 2014