AODA Policy

SOLMON ROTHBART GOODMAN LLP

POLICY ON

ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

 Our organization takes the position that the customer service and information offered by our company will be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and  independence of persons with disabilities.

The provision of customer service and information to persons with disabilities and others are integrated into our general customer service practices 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 the information and customer service our company provides.

Our company will make reasonable efforts to provide customer service and information to persons with disabilities, taking into account their disability.

Solmon Rothbart Goodman defines disability as:

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 coordination, 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 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 insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety Insurance Act.

Our organization defines “barrier” as ‘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 a practice.’

Our organization defines practices of “dignity” as those that treat customers with a disability as valued and deserving of the same level of customer service as any other customer.

We define the principle of “independence” as providing customer service information and communication to persons with disabilities in a way that considers their needs.

“Integrated Services” are defined as those that allow customers and clients with disabilities to have access to customer service and communications in a way that considers their needs.

“Equal Opportunity” means persons with disabilities should not have to accept lesser quality customer service than other customers, as much as is reasonably possible.

“Reasonable Efforts” means doing as much as is reasonably possible to take steps and make changes through a variety of means such as changing a procedure or considering the needs of persons with disabilities when creating customer service standards for accessibility.

Purpose

Create customer service standards and procedures that support the inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005 and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07.

To provide customer service to persons with disabilities, as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code (described in Section 3.01 above) in a respectful, helpful and accommodating manner.

This policy will be reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure compliance with accessibility standards on an ongoing basis.

Workplace Accessibility Analysis

Our organization will assess our workplace in two areas to determine gaps with regard to customer service accessibility standards:

  • Environmental assessment; and
  • Communication and Information assessment.

Our organization will take actions to address areas for improved accessibility identified in these assessments.

Procedures

Environmental Factors

Our organization adjusts facilities, where reasonably possible, to provide ease of customer service to customers with disabilities.

Communication and information

Our organization will communicate with persons with disabilities in ways that take their disability into account their disability.

Customers who wish to provide feedback on the way Solmon Rothbart Goodman provides services to people with disability can do so in person, by telephone, in writing or by e-mailing callak@srglegal.com. All customer feedback with regard to accessibility will be responded to, reviewed and remedied as appropriate.

In the event of a planned or unexpected temporary disruption in the services or facilities used by persons with disabilities, notice will be made available via written communication or by telephone. Notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, how long the disruption is expected to last and a description of alternative facilities or services available, if any.

Assistive support

Our organization permits assistive devices on our premises. Staff will not operate or interfere with these devices without permission from the owner/user (i.e. move a person’s cane or wheelchair without permission), unless absolutely necessary for emergency or safety purposes.  Where assistive devices exist on our premises, we train staff on their use and availability and keep these devices repaired and updated.

Our organization permits service animals on our premises and to accompany a person with a disability on the parts of our premises that are open to the public.

Our company permits Support Persons to accompany persons with disabilities.

Our company makes every effort to deal directly with persons with disabilities without their support person, wherever possible, when in the interest of the persons with the disability and/or requested by them, and makes every effort to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the customers with a disability.

 

Persons with a disability who are accompanied by a support person will not be prevented from having access to their support person while on our premises as much as is reasonably possible and in their best interest.

In the instance where a person with a disability must be accompanied by a support person for the safety or health of the person with the disability or the health or safety of others, but no support person is available, a manager will determine whether there is an acceptable alternative or if the services must be rescheduled when appropriate arrangements can be made.

Training

Solmon Rothbart Goodman provides training regarding Customer Service Standards for Persons with Disabilities to our employees. Training is provided through an E-Learning web based format and is accessible to staff 24/7 from any location or computer.

Training content includes but is not limited to:

  • An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005 and the requirements of the Customer Service Standards;
  • Plans and procedures related to the customer service standards;
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
  • Ensuring confidentiality, as much as is possible, for customers with disabilities, when accompanied by a support person;
  • Understanding how to interact with customers with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person;
  • How to use any equipment or devices on our premises that may help provide service to persons with disabilities;
  • What to do if a person with a disability has difficulty accessing our customer service or information.