Customer Service Policy

Providing Goods & Services to People with Disabilities - Ontario Regulation 429/07

Policy Statement
HCA is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

Background
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was created with the goal of developing standards that would help make Ontario more accessible for people with disabilities. The AODA allows the Provincial Government to develop specific standards of accessibility and enforce them.

One of the specific standards that has been developed, and made law is the Accessible Customer Service Standard. This standard details specific requirements for all service providers, including Conservation Authorities, municipalities and others. In general, providers must deliver service in a way that preserves the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Providers must also integrate services and equal opportunity.

The HCA Customer Service Policy to comply with accessibility standards for customer service applies as of January 1, 2012.

Objective
This policy and its procedures are intended to meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 429/07 under the AODA. It applies to the provision of goods and services, not the goods and services themselves.

HCA will use reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:

  • The goods or services will be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
  • The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities, and others, will be integrated 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 goods or services.
  • Persons with disabilities will be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.
  • Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices and/or support persons in the access of goods and services.
  • HCA employees when communicating with a person with a disability shall do so in a manner that takes into account the person's disability.

Application
This policy shall apply to every person who deals with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of HCA, whether the person does so as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise.

Definitions

Accessibility Coordinator - The person appointed by HCA as Accessibility Coordinator which is the Manager of Customer Service & Operations.

Assistive Devices - Any auxiliary aid such as communication aids, cognition aids, personal mobility aids and medical aids (i.e. canes, crutches, wheelchairs, or hearing aids) or other mechanism that enables a person with a disability to do everyday tasks and activities such as moving, communicating and lifting.

Disability - As defined by the AODA 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 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 wheel chair 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 which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the workplace Safety & Insurance Act, 1997.

Examples of disabilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Hearing impaired
  • Vision impaired
  • Speech impediment
  • Restricted mobility
  • Mental health, intellectual disability, learning disability
  • Amputee
  • Prone to seizures

Service Animals - Any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. A service animal is not a pet, they are a working animal.

Support Persons - Any person whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member or friend that accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communications, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Procedure
HCA is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities, and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

Communication
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

Telephone services
We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our customers. We will train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. We will offer to communicate with customers by email or through a support person if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.

Assistive devices
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. We will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.

Billing
We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our customers; for this reason, invoices will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy, large print attachment to invoice, email, and fax.

We will answer any questions customers have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or email.

Use of service animals
HCA is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties, unless excluded by law. In the event that a service animal is prohibited from the premises, HCA will ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from HCA's goods or services.

HCA will ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. Service animals must be supervised by their owners and kept in control when used to access HCA's goods or services. Should a service animal is unruly or disruptive (jumping on people, biting, or other harmful behaviour) an employee may ask the persons with disability to remove the animal from the area or refuse access to goods or services. In this event, other reasonable arrangements to provide goods or services shall be explored with the assistance of the person with disability.

Support Persons
HCA is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter HCA's premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises. HCA 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 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 HCA's goods or services.

Support persons will be charged the person with a disability fee for admission to HCA's recreational premises at Wild Waterworks and Westfield Heritage Village where there is a per person fee. At other HCA conservation areas where a daily vehicle admission fee is charged, a discount per person with disability and attendant (if present) will be applied.

Notice of Service Disruptions
HCA will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. It is possible that from time to time there will be disruptions in service (e.g. an entrance way that is under repair, or renovations that limit access to an area such as an accessible washroom). Notice of the disruption shall be provided in advance when ever possible and in the event of an unexpected disruption, notice will be provided as soon as possible.

This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. Notice may be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place on the affected HCA premises and, may also be posted on the website or over the phone on the main line greeting or by such other method as is reasonable under the circumstances.

Training for Staff
HCA will provide training to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.

Training will include the following:

  1. The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and the requirements of the customer service standard (Ontario Regulation 429/07)
  2. How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  3. How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  4. How to use any equipment or assistive devices available on HCA's
  5. What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing goods and services
  6. HCA's policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard

As required by the Ontario Regulation 429/07, HCA will keep records of the training provided.

Availability of Documents
HCA shall, upon request, supply a copy of the HCA Accessible Customer Service Policy, along with any practices and procedures that are in place, to any person.

Customer Feedback
Feedback from our customers provides HCA with opportunities to learn and improve. Comments on our services regarding how well those customer expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way HCA provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by e-mail, telephone, or in writing addressed to:

Manager of Customer Service & Operations
838 Mineral Springs Road
PO Box 81067
Ancaster, ON
L9G 4X1
Phone: 905-525-2181 Ext. 168
Fax: 905-648-4622
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Accessibility Coordinator will respond either in writing, in person, e-mail or telephone acknowledging receipt of feedback and will set out the action to be taken in response to any complaints within 30 days.

Exclusions
This Accessibility Customer Service Standards Policy shall not apply during any period where HCA has declared a "State of Emergency" as defined under the Emergency Management Act.