AODA – Customer Service Standard Policy
Soteria Policy Group Inc. (“the organization”) is committed to providing excellent, accessible client service to all clients and visitors. We are committed to providing services to people with disabilities in a manner that respects the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.
This policy is intended to meet the requirements of the Customer Service Standards included in the Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. It applies to the provision of goods and services to the public or other third parties, not to the goods themselves.
Policies, Practices and Procedures
As part of this commitment, we have established various policies, practices and procedures for how our services are provided to people with disabilities. These include the following areas:
All communication on behalf of the organization with a person with a disability will consider their disability and their preferred method of communication.
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use, or who may benefit from the use of assistive devices to access our services. Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing our services. In order to support a person with a disability to access our services, our staff may provide assistance upon request from the client.
In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access to services. For example, if a meeting is scheduled in a place where elevators are not present and where an individual requires assistive devices for the purposes of mobility, service will be provided in a location that meets the needs of the customer.
A customer with a disability that is accompanied by a service animal will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. “No pet” policies do not apply to service animals. If it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the customer for reasons relating to his or her disability, the organization may request verification from the customer in the form of a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the service animal is required for reasons relating to the disability.
For the safety of our employees and other visitors, it is the responsibility of the person with the service animal to maintain care and control of the animal at all times.
If a health and safety concern presents, for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, the organization will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.
The Use of Support Persons
We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by support persons. The organization recognizes that some people with disabilities may have support people – e.g., paid professionals, volunteers, family members or friends – to help them with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs, or with accessing our services. If a client with a disability is accompanied by a support person, the organization will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter the premises together and that the client is not prevented from having access to the support person.
Due to the confidential nature of some information that may be discussed, consent will be obtained from the client with respect to whether the support person remains in the meeting or is asked to wait in a reception area. If the support person will be remaining in the meeting the person with the disability may be asked to provide written acknowledgement waiving confidentiality with respect to the support person prior to any conversation containing the confidential information.
When occasions arise that the organization charges admission fees on a per person basis for services offered (e.g., seminars, workshops, etc.), the organization will provide notice of the amount of any admission fees applicable to support persons accompanying people with disabilities.
Notice of Disruptions in Service
Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of the organization. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services, whether planned or unplanned, the organization will promptly notify clients.
In some circumstances, such as in the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible.
Notifications will be posted to our website, clients with appointments will be contacted, our office voice mail system will be updated, and a notification will be sent to all employees. This notification will include the services that are disrupted, the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and any alternative facilities or services available.
Training will be provided to new employees, volunteers, agents and/or contractors during orientation. Revised training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures, policies, and/or practices.
Training will be provided to:
- Every person who is an employee or volunteer with the organization;
- Every person who participates in developing the organization’s policies; and
- Every other person who provides goods, services, or facilities on behalf of the organization.
Regardless of the format, training will include the following:
- An overview of the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of its Client Service Standard;
- How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person;
- What assistive equipment or devices the organization has available or other methods that may help our employees provide our services to people with disabilities; and
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our services.
Providing accessible client service is important to us and we will always endeavour to do our best. We welcome feedback about how we are doing from persons with a disability as your comments are important for us to be able learn and make improvements.
Feedback may be given verbally by telephone, through our client “Contact Us” webpage or electronically by email. Clients who provide formal feedback will receive acknowledgement of their feedback, along with any resulting actions based on concerns or complaints that were submitted.
Clients can send feedback to: