Customer service accessibility policy

BENSON PERCIVAL BROWN LLP

CUSTOMER SERVICE ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

This policy is intended to be consistent with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Customer Service Standard) made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

PURPOSE AND COMMITMENT

Benson Percival Brown LLP (hereinafter referred to as “the firm”) and any third parties providing goods and services on behalf of the firm are committed to maintaining an accessible environment for persons with disabilities in the delivery of its goods and services.

The firm will use reasonable efforts to ensure that the policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of its services to persons with disabilities are consistent with the following principles:

  • goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  • persons with disabilities are able to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients;
  • persons with disabilities have opportunities equal to others to obtain, use and benefit from the firm’s goods or services.

COMMUNICATION

When communicating with persons with a disability, the firm will take into account the particular individual’s needs and circumstances.  All employees, agents and third parties who communicate with customers will be trained on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities in order to ensure that the firm provides responsive and effective communication.  All communication shall be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

ASSISTIVE DEVICES

Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to use their own assistive devices.  An assistive device is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities.

Employees, agents and third parties may receive training to ensure that they are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing services.

In the event that a person with a disability is hindered from accessing any goods or services offered, the firm will use its best efforts to accommodate the person by offering the use of another assistive device that is available or attempt to deliver the same service in another way.

SERVICE ANIMALS

Service animal means an animal for a person with disabilities where it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability or where the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that he or she requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

A person with disabilities may be accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal when on the firm premises.  In the event that service animals are excluded by law from the premises, the firm will provide other resources or supports to enable the person with disabilities to access the services and goods offered by the firm.

SUPPORT PERSONS

Persons with disabilities may enter the firm’s premises with a support person and have access to the support person while on the premises.

The firm may require persons with disabilities to be accompanied by a support person when on the premises, but only if a support person is necessary to protect the health and safety of the person with disabilities or the health and safety of others on the premises.

A support person may also accompany him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods and services.

NOTICE OF TEMPORARY DISRUPTION

The firm will notify the public in the event of a planned or unexplained disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities.  This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

The notices will be posted at all public entrances and service counters of the firm, or communicated by such method as is reasonable in the circumstances.

PROVIDING GOODS AND SERVICES TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The firm is committed to excellence in quality of service to all clients, including persons with disabilities, and will carry out its functions and responsibilities by,

  • communicating with persons with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  • serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices.  The firm will provide its staff with training on how to use the assistive devices available on its premises, where applicable.
  • ensuring that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their guide dog or other service animals are permitted to enter the premises of the firm with the animal and to keep the animal with them, unless the animal is excluded by law from the premises.  In the event that a service animal is excluded from the premises by law, the appropriate personnel shall endeavour to make other provisions available, to enable the person with a disability to obtain and use the firm’s services.
  • ensuring that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person are permitted to enter the firm’s premises with their support person.  At no time will persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their support person be prevented from having access to their support person while on the firm’s premises.

TRAINING ON ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE

The firm will train its lawyers and staff and other individuals who provide services to the public on the firm’s behalf on the provision of its goods or services to persons with disabilities.

The training will be provided as soon as practicable after a staff commences his or her duties and will include the following topics:

  • the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard;
  • how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
  • how to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a guide dog, service animal or a support person;
  • how to use or access the equipment or devices available on the firm’s premises or otherwise that may help with the provision of goods or services to person with disabilities;
  • what to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty in accessing the firm’s goods and services;
  • the firm’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.

The firm will provide training on an ongoing basis when changes are made to the firm’s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities.

FEEDBACK PROCESS

The firm welcomes any feedback regarding the methods it uses to provide goods and services to persons with disabilities.  Individuals may provide feedback in a manner most convenient to them.

Heather J. Vaughan
Managing Partner
Tel.: 416.977-9777 ext.106
Fax: 416.977-1241
Email: hvaughan@bpblaw.ca

OR

Jo-Anne M. Hebert
Director of Operations
Tel.: 416.977-9777 ext.132
Fax: 416.977-1241
Email: jhebert@bpblaw.ca

If the feedback raises serious concerns with respect to the delivery of goods and services to persons with disabilities, the firm will provide a response to the concerns in a timely manner.

MODIFICATIONS TO THIS OR OTHER POLICIES

Changes will not be made to this policy unless the impact of the changes on persons with disabilities has been considered.

Any firm policy that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities will be modified or removed.

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF DOCUMENTS

The firm will maintain documents describing its policies, practices and procedures an, upon request, shall give a copy of a document to any person.  The documents will include policies, practices and procedures with respect to the following:

  • use of support persons;
  • use of guide dogs or service animals;
  • the steps to be taken in connection with a temporary disruption;
  • the training policy, including a summary of the contents of the training and details of when the training is to be provided;
  • records of the training provided under this policy, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided;
  • the feedback process.

The firm will notify persons to whom it provides goods and services of its policies, by posting the information at a conspicuous place on the firm premises or by such method as is reasonable in the circumstances.

When required under this policy to give a copy of a document to a person with disabilities, the firm will provide the document or information in a format that takes into account the person’s disabilities.

INQUIRIES

If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of the policy is not understood, please contact:

Heather J. Vaughan
Managing Partner
Tel.: 416-977-9777 ext.106
Fax: 416-977-1241
Email:  hvaughan@bpblaw.ca

OR

Jo-Anne M. Hebert
Director of Operations
Tel.: 416.977-9777 ext.132
Fax: 416.977-1241
Email: jhebert@bpblaw.ca