Customer Service Policy
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – Customer Service Standard
We have always been committed to doing the right thing for our customers and employees. Our values and behaviours are the foundation for the relationships we foster with our customers and employees. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the “AODA”) is an Ontario law that was created to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. The integration of the AODA Customer Service Standard into our workplaces will bolster our continued commitment to showing respect, understanding, and tolerance towards our customers and employees.
1. Application and Scope
This Policy applies to all of our Ontario employees, agents and contractors who engage with the public on our behalf.
2. Providing Goods and Services to Ontarians with Disabilities
We are committed to using reasonable efforts to:
- Provide goods and services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
- Provide goods and services in a manner that enables a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services; and
- Provide persons with disabilities with an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from our goods and services.
When communicating with a person with a disability, we are committed to doing so in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability. We want everyone to feel comfortable serving customers with disabilities. Any questions or concerns about how to interact with persons with disabilities must be discussed with a Manager.
4. Assistive Devices
In our workplaces, we welcome the use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities in order to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. Some examples of assistive devices are walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen tanks.
5. Service Animals
We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals.
- An animal is a “Service Animal” if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to disability, or if the person has a letter from a physician or nurse verifying that the animal is required for reasons relating to disability. Examples of a Service Animal are guide dogs, autism service dogs, mobility animals, and seizure alert animals.
- People with disabilities are allowed to use their Service Animals in the parts of our stores that are open to the public.
- If it is not obvious that the animal is a Service Animal, then any questions or concerns must be discussed with a Manager.
- Service Animals must be in the care and control of the individual at all times.
- Any questions or concerns concerning a Service Animal must be discussed with a Manager.
6. Support Persons
We welcome people with disabilities and their support persons.
- A “Support Person” is a person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.
- Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person is permitted to access our stores in the same way as any other customer.
7. Notice of Temporary Disruption
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for customers with disabilities, the Manager will notify customers promptly with a clearly posted notice. The notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of available alternative facilities or services, if any.
8. Accessibility Training
Any person who interacts with the public or who participates in developing policies, practices and procedures will receive training on an ongoing basis, including information on how to serve persons with disabilities.
Training topics will include:
- Review of the purposes of the AODA and requirements of the Customer Service Standard;
- Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people with disabilities;
- Instruction on how to interact with people with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a Service Animal or a Support Person;
- Instruction on how to use equipment or devices available at the premise or that is provided otherwise, that may help people with disabilities access our goods and services, such as TTY telephones, elevators, or lifts; and
- Instruction on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our goods and services.
Integrated Accessibility Policy & Multi-Year Accessibility Plan
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – Integrated Accessibility Standard
1. Integrated Accessibility Standard Plan and Policy
This accessibility plan outlines the policy and actions that we will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards (Regulation 191/11) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“Regulation“), came into force on July 1, 2011. The Regulation establishes standards to address barriers that persons with disabilities face in the following areas:
- Information and communication;
- Built environment; and
The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that we comply with the Government of Ontario’s Integrated Accessibility Standards. The requirements under these standards are not a replacement or substitute for the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
3. Policy Statement and Our Commitment
We support the principles of the AODA. We are committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to an inclusive culture across the organization by preventing and removing barriers for persons with disabilities. Where it is not possible to remove barriers, we will make efforts to accommodate persons with disabilities in a timely, effective and suitable manner.
4. Customer Service Standard
We strive to provide all customers with the same service experience, regardless of disability. We will continue to:
- Provide new Ontario employees with training on providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities as soon as it is practicable to do so after commencing their duties;
- Provide updated training to Ontario employees when there are changes to the accessibility policies, when business needs require such training and/or when legislative requirements change;
- Provide training for employees on the requirements of the Regulation, as well as Human Rights Code related obligations;
- Be mindful to ensure training is appropriate to the job duties performed; and
- Keep a written record, including dates and number of participants, of the training provided.
5. Accessible Emergency Information
We are committed to providing our customers with accessible publicly available emergency information upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.
We will provide training to employees on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees.
- We will take the following steps to ensure employees are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s accessibility laws by January 1, 2015:
We will provide training to all current employees on the requirements of the accessibility standards referred to in this Regulation and on the requirements of the Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities (as required by Section 7 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards, O. Reg 119/11); and
- Customer Service Training for all employees who deal with members of the public and/or other third parties (as required by Section 6 of the Customer Service Standard, O. Reg 429/07).
7. Information and Communications
We are committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. We may consult with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs. We will take the following steps to make all new websites and content on those sites conform to WCAG 2.0, Level A following January 1, 2014:
- We will ensure that all new websites and content on sites conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A
- Current website will be assessed for future compliance requirements
We will take the following steps to make all websites and content conform to WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021:
- AODA compliance will be included as one of the main criteria when selecting technology vendors for new website development
- We will ensure that visitors to our public website will have access to downloadable tools to enhance navigation of the website if the customers have reading or dexterity challenges related to a variety of disabilities by January 1, 2021
- We will ensure that our website is compatible with rich media formats to assist those who are blind or partially-sighted by January 1, 2021
By January 1, 2016, we will take the following steps to notify our employees and the public about the availability of accommodations for applicants with disabilities as follows:
- During the recruitment process, we shall notify job applicants, when they are selected to participate in a selection process, that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes used
- During the recruitment process, if a prospective applicant requests an accommodation, we shall consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for the provision of a suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s needs due to disability
By January 1, 2016, we will take the following steps to develop and put in place a process for developing individual accommodation plans and return-to-work policies for employees that have been absent due to a disability:
We will develop a written process for individual accommodation plans, including the following:
- How the employee can participate;
- How the employee will be assessed;
- How we can request an evaluation by an outside expert (at our expense) in order to assist in determining if/how the accommodation can be achieved;
- How often the plan will be reviewed and updated;
- How the reasons for denied requests will be communicated; and
- How the plan will be provided to the employee
By January 1, 2016, the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities will be taken into account if using performance management, career development, and/or redeployment processes.
By January 1, 2016, we will have a process in place to assess, review, and alter (if required) policies and procedures on a frequent basis to ensure compliance with the AODA.
9. Design of Public Spaces
By January 1, 2017, we will meet the Accessibility Standards for the Design of Public Spaces when building or making major modifications to our public spaces. We will establish procedures to prevent service disruptions to accessible parts of our public spaces and we will notify the public of the disruption and alternatives available.
10. Policy Review
We will review and update this policy at least once every five (5) years (as such the first version of this policy will be reviewed no later than January 1, 2019).