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Accessibility for People with Disabilities Customer Service Policy


Purpose and Scope

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is a Provincial act aimed at creating a more accessible Ontario by identifying, and to the extent possible, preventing and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with disabilities. A standard for customer service has been established under the Act to ensure that goods and services are, where at all possible, equally accessible to every Ontarian.

 

Policy Statement

Hamilton Urban Core is committed to applying the principles and guidelines of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to the extent possible and will endeavour to provide materials and services in a manner that is based upon the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equity for all of its customers. Hamilton Urban Core will use reasonable efforts to ensure its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the spirit and requirements of the Customer Service Standard.

Hamilton Urban Core strives to provide an accessible, welcoming and barrier-free environment for its customers. The provision of materials and services to customers with disabilities will be integrated wherever possible. We will make every effort to ensure that customers with disabilities receive the same high standard of service that we strive to provide to all customers.

This policy applies to Hamilton Urban Core staff, volunteers and similar parties who deal with the public.

Definitions

The following definitions are used in this policy:

Accessible means capable of being entered or reached, approachable; easy to get at; obtainable; able to be understood or appreciated.

Assistive Device refers to a device used to assist persons with disabilities in carrying out activities or in accessing the services of persons or organizations covered by the Customer Service Standard.

 

Barrier refers to anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society, including the workplace, because of his or her disability including:

    • • A physical barrier
    • • An architectural barrier
    • • An information or communicators barrier
    • • An attitudinal barrier
    • • A technological barrier
    • • A policy or practice

 

Customer refers to those who receive materials and services from Hamilton Urban Core; also known as clients, participants, community or community members.
 

Dignity refers to respecting and treating every person including persons with a disability as valued and as deserving of effective and full service as any other customer.

Disability refers to:   
a) 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 co-ordination, 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

b) A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability

c) A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language

d) A mental disorder, or

e) An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

Materials and Services refers to materials and services provided by Hamilton Urban Core.

Independence refers to freedom from control or influence of others, freedom to make your own choices.

Service animal refers to an animal that has been trained and certified to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities and includes any animal,

  • i. If it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or

 

  • ii. If the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse or recognized health provider confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.


Support Person
refers to an individual hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to materials or services.

 

Providing Materials and Services to Customers with Disabilities

Hamilton Urban Core is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities and ensuring that the Centre’s policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:

a)

  • Hamilton Urban Core‘s materials and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of customers with disabilities
  • b)
    The provision of Hamilton Urban Core’s materials and services to customers with disabilities is integrated with those provided to customers who do not have disabilities unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable customers with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from Hamilton Urban Core’s materials or services;
  • c)
    Hamilton Urban Core will use an equity approach for customers with disabilities to ensure opportunities and service experience that equal to that of persons without disabilities
  • d)
    Hamilton Urban Core will encourage two-way communication that supports customers with disabilities to communicate their needs for accommodation or assistance if it is not readily apparent how that need can be met.

 

Communication
Hamilton Urban Core strives to communicate with customers with disabilities in ways that take into consideration their disability and preferred method of communication.

a) Customers with disabilities will be offered alternative communication formats that will meet the needs of the customer as promptly as feasible

b) Documents will be provided to customers in an alternative format that will meet the needs of the customer in a timely fashion to the extent possible

c) If telephone communication is not suitable for customer’s needs, alternative forms of communication will be offered as required and available


Use of Service Animals, Assistive Devices, and Support Persons

Hamilton Urban Core will make every effort to ensure that the access, use and benefit of goods or services are not compromised for customers with disabilities who require assistive devices, or who are accompanied by a service animal or support person.


Service Animals

Service animals accompanying a customer with disabilities shall be permitted entry to all Hamilton Urban Core’s facilities that are open to the public or other third parties, unless the service animal is otherwise excluded by law.

If it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, Hamilton Urban Core may ask the customer with a disability to provide a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the customer’s disability. It is the responsibility of the customer using the service animal to ensure that the service animal is kept in control at all times.

In the case where Hamilton Urban Core cannot permit a service animal access to a facility or meeting room, other accommodations may be provided to the customer such as: alternate meeting format, e.g. teleconference where technology permits; delivery of goods or service at an alternate time or location; other assistive measures available to deliver a good or service to ensure equity and equality of outcome.

 

Assistive Devices  
Customers with disabilities are permitted, where possible, to use their own assistive devices when visiting Hamilton Urban Core’s premises for the purposes of obtaining, using or benefiting from the Centre’s materials or services. Exceptions may occur in situations where Hamilton Urban Core has determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of another person with a disability or the health and safety of others on the premises.

If there is a physical, technological or other type of barrier that prevents the use of an assistive device on Hamilton Urban Core’s premises, Hamilton Urban Core will first endeavour to remove that barrier.  If Hamilton Urban Core is not able to remove the barrier, the customer may be asked how he/she can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible to him/her. Best efforts will be made to provide an alternative means of accessibility to the customer.
           
Support Persons
Hamilton Urban Core is committed to welcoming customers with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any customer with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Hamilton Urban Core’s premises with his or her support person. At no time will a customer with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on the Hamilton Urban Core’s premises.  Where appropriate, support persons may be required to acknowledge that it is the customer, and not the support person, to whom Hamilton Urban Core is providing its materials and/or services.

 

When a Support Person May Be Required
If a support person is necessary for the health and safety of a person with disabilities, or for the health and safety of other persons, Hamilton Urban Core will require the accompaniment of a support person on the premises. A customer with a disability is required to provide his or her own support person. A customer who requires the assistance of a support person is also expected to inform Hamilton Urban Core that he or she will be attending with a support person.

Where a Hamilton Urban Core employee believes that a support person should be in attendance to protect the health and safety of the customer with disabilities or others, the following criteria shall be used in consulting with the customer:

  • • whether there is a significant risk to the health and safety of the customer with a disability or to others (the mere possibility of risk is insufficient)
  • • whether the risk cannot be eliminated or reduced by other means
  • • whether the assessment of the risk is based on consideration of the duration of the risk, the nature and severity of the potential harm, the likelihood that the potential harm will occur, and the imminence of the potential harm
  • • whether the assessment of the risk is based on the customer’s actual characteristics, not merely on generalizations, misperceptions, ignorance or fears about a disability

 

Temporary Disruption to Facilities or Services
In the event that a temporary service disruption occurs that would limit a customer with a disability from gaining access to Hamilton Urban Core’s facilities, materials or services, Hamilton Urban Core will make the disruption known to customers in the following ways:

  • a)
    A notice of the service disruption on premises in the area where the service disruption has occurred will be posted.  Signs will specifically state the nature of the disruption, the area(s) affected by disruption, the anticipated length of the disruption, the anticipated time for the resumption of services and a description of any alternate service arrangements made during the disruption period.
  • b)
    Notice of the service disruption may be by way of posted signs, recorded message, posting on the website or other reasonable means dependent on the circumstances.



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