Accessible Customer Service Training

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1 The Corporation of the City of Sarnia Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 Accessible Customer Service Training For Contractors, Volunteers, Third parties This pamphlet is designed to provide an overview of the training required under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

2 People with Disabilities: Did you know that just over 15.5% of Ontarians have a disability? That s 1 in every 7 Ontarians and as the population ages, that number will grow. The Purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act: To achieve an accessible Ontario by 2025 To develop accessibility standards To enforce the standards The AODA will apply to public and private sectors. Customer Service Standard Municipalities must comply by January 1, 2010 The standard requires that organizations have: o Accessible customer service policy, procedures and practices o Staff training o Feedback method o Alternate communication method o Notice of service disruptions Principles of Accessible Customer Service Services should be provided in such a manner that they promote: Dignity and Respect Independence Integration and Equal Opportunity Terminology is Important! When referring to someone with a disability it is important that you put the person FIRST! A person with a physical disability A person with a hearing impairment A person with a vision impairment If you are assisting an individual with a disability and are unsure how to help, your first question should be: How can I help you?

3 Assistive Devices Assistive Devices can include wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers, braces, computer software programs, TTY machines, and many more. A person with a disability may provide their own assistive device for the purpose of obtaining, using and benefiting from the City s goods and services. If a person with a disability is unable to access the City s goods or services through the use of their own personal assistive device, the City may offer other reasonable measures to assist him or her in obtaining, using and benefiting from the City s goods and services. Service Animals Service animals accompanying persons with disabilities are welcome on City of Sarnia premises unless the animal is excluded by law. Under the Customer Service Standard, an animal is a service animal if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability, or if the person has a letter from a physician or nurse verifying that the animal is required for reasons relating to his or her disability. Remember that a service animal is not a pet it is a working animal. Avoid touching or addressing service animals. They are working and have to pay attention at all times. Avoid making assumptions about the animal. Not all service animals wear special collars or harnesses. Support People A support person is an individual hired or chosen to accompany a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods or services. The support person can be a paid personal support worker, volunteer, a friend or a family member. A support person, when assisting a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the City of Sarnia s goods and services, will be permitted to attend at no charge where an admission fee is applicable. Third parties using City facilities who choose to charge an additional fee for support persons, are responsible for communicating this information to the public well in advance of the event, as well as posting their fee structure and policy for support persons at the event to ensure that members of the public are aware of the fees and that the event is not a City of Sarnia event. Difficulty Accessing Service / Feedback Where individuals are having difficult accessing services, please consult a supervisor or the Accessibility Coordinator at ext 307. A feedback form is also available at various City locations as well as on the website under Accessibility at the City of Sarnia website

4 Customer Service Tips People with disabilities know if they need accommodations and will work with you. Just ask how you can help. There are resources for you to use to assist you in delivering service to persons with disabilities. Speak to your Team Leader, Supervisor and/or Manager. Review the Government of Ontario Website: at Access Ontario at To communicate by phone with a person with a hearing impairment, Bell Relay Service is available to placing or receiving calls to/from persons who use a TTY telephone. There is no charge for local calls. To place a call through the BCRS (Bell Canada Relay Service) call: Book a Sign Language Interpreter through the Canadian Hearing Society at: For further information contact the Accessibility Coordinator at the City at ext 307. Vision Loss Definition: Most individuals who are legally blind have some remaining vision Low or no vision can restrict ability to read signs, locate landmarks, or see hazards May use guide dog or white cane May need to view written documents in large print, or with a magnifier Hearing Loss Definition: Deaf - severe to profound hearing loss Hard of Hearing - a person who uses their residual hearing and speech to communicate Deafened Hears poorly or not at all Culturally Deaf Definition: The Deaf community is a healthy sociological community of Deaf people who have been Deaf since birth. They are cultural linguistic minority whose prime language is American Sign Language / ASL Tips For Providing Service for Persons with Vision Loss Speak directly to the individual Offer your elbow to guide Walk at an appropriate pace for the environment Identify landmarks, be precise Don t leave the person without letting them know Let the person know your name Don t touch or talk to a guide dog (remember it is working) Tips For Providing Service for People with Hearing Loss Attract an individual s attention before speaking with a gentle touch on the shoulder or wave of your hand Look directly at the person Pen and paper are great ways to communicate Speak clearly, keep your hands away from your face Reduce background noise Ensure appropriate lighting Tips For Providing Service for People who are Culturally Deaf Written English is a 2nd language and in complex situations an ASL Interpreter provides the best quality access for communications.

5 Deaf-Blind Definition: Cannot see or hear to some degree Most individuals will be accompanied by a support person Intellectual or Development Definition: Intellectual development is below average Can mildly or profoundly limit ability to learn, communicate, do everyday activities and live independently May be an invisible disability They may understand more than you know Learning Definition: Affects how a person acquires, interprets, retains or takes in information In many cases the individual has average or above-average intelligence May affect: language based learning, mathematics, writing, or fine motor skills Mental Health Definition: The absence of psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society Some common features of mental health disabilities are: phobias, panic attacks, hallucinations, mood swings, or bipolar disorders (depression & manic phases) Speech or Language Definition: May have problems communicating May have difficulty to pronouncing words, slurring, or stuttering May use communication boards or other assistive devices Physical or Mobility Disability Definition: May restrict a person in the following ways: Control or speed of movements Coordination and balance Ability to grasp same objects Ability to walk long distances Ability to sit or stand for prolonged periods Can be present at birth, result from disease, injury or be temporary Tips For Providing Service for People who are Deaf-Blind Speak directly to your customer, not the support person Identify yourself to the support person Some may wish to take your hand and finger spell Tips For Service for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Don t assume what an individual can or cannot do Use plain language Take your time, be patient Ask: Do you understand this? Provide one piece of information at a time step-by-step Offer information in simpler concepts Tips For Service to Persons with Learning Disabilities: Take extra time, be patient Demonstrate a willingness to assist Speak normally, clearly and directly to the individual Provide information in a way that works for the individual (i.e. pen and paper) Be prepared to explain any materials you provide Tips For Service for Persons with Mental Health Disabilities: Treat customer with the same level of respect and consideration Be confident and reassuring Do not be confrontational If the customer is in crisis, ask how best to help Take the individual seriously Don t take things personally Tips For Service for Persons with Language Difficulties: Don t make assumptions Give whatever time they need to get their point across Ask questions that can be answered yes or no Don t interrupt or finish the individual s sentences May have to use pen and paper Say: I don t understand, can you repeat that? Tips For Service for Persons with Physical Disabilities: Speak directly to the individual Ask before you help Respect the individual s personal space Don t move any items they may have Describe what you are going to do beforehand Don t leave a person in an awkward, dangerous or undignified position

6 City of Sarnia Accessible Customer Service Policy Purpose To establish guidelines to ensure all City of Sarnia programs and services are accessible to everyone in the community in accordance with Ontario Regulation 429/07 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. Policy Statement The Corporation of the City of Sarnia is committed to providing quality goods and services that are accessible to all persons. The City of Sarnia will use reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the Accessible Customer Service principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity. Application This Policy applies to all persons who deal with members of the public or who participate in developing the City s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to the public; including city staff, members of Council, volunteers, agents, contractors and all others who provide services on behalf of the City. General Principles and Practices The Corporation shall meet its duties and responsibilities under Ontario Regulation 429/07 by adhering to the following principles and practices: I. Training The City will ensure that all persons to whom this Policy applies receive training as required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. The training will be tailored to suit each person s interactions with the public and his or her involvement in the development of policies, procedures and practices pertaining to the provision of goods and services. The training shall include: a review of the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for

7 Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07); 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 service animal or support person; information on how to use equipment made available by the City to help people with disabilities access goods and services; what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing the City s goods or services; and instructions on the City s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities. The training will be provided as soon as practicable upon an individual being assigned the applicable duties as well as on an ongoing basis as changes occur to the City s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities. Records shall be kept indicating the date and training provided, and the number of individuals to whom it was provided. II. Assistive Devices and other Measures that Assist with Accessibility A person with a disability may provide their own assistive device for the purpose of obtaining, using and benefiting from the City s goods and services. In the event a person with a disability is hindered from accessing the City s goods or services through the use of their own personal assistive device, the City may offer a person with a disability other reasonable measures to assist him or her in obtaining, using and benefiting from the City s goods and services, where the City has such other measures available.

8 III. Service Animals A person with a disability accompanied by a service animal is permitted to enter the City of Sarnia premises with the animal unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law. Where a service animal is excluded by law, the City shall ensure that other measures are made available to enable the person with the disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods and services. Section 4(9) of the Accessibility Standards on Customer Service indicates that an animal is a service animal if (1) it is readily apparent that the animal is being used for reasons related to a person s disability; or (2) if the person provides a letter from the doctor or nurse confirming that the animal is required for reasons relating to the disability. IV. Support Persons When a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, the City will ensure that both persons are permitted to enter any facility, and that the person with a disability is not prevented from having access to the support person. A support person, when assisting a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the City s goods and services, will be permitted to attend at no charge where an admission fee is applicable. V. Notice of Temporary Disruptions The City of Sarnia will give notice of temporary disruptions to services or facilities used by persons with disabilities including the reason(s) for the disruption, the anticipated duration of the disruption and alternative facilities or services that may be available. The notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises of the facility or by other reasonable methods, as appropriate. When the disruption is planned, advanced notice will be provided.

9 VI. Feedback Feedback may be provided on the accessibility of the provision of goods and services by the City of Sarnia in the manner deemed most convenient to the: Accessibility Coordinator, 255 North Christina Street, Sarnia, Ontario N7T 7N2 Phone ext Fax All feedback will be kept in strict confidence and will be used to improve customer service. The Accessibility Coordinator will consult with the Advisory Committee regarding feedback and on improvements to customer service.

10 Training Compliance Quiz To ensure that the City of Sarnia is compliant with its obligations under the Accessibility For Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, Ontario Regulation 429/07, please read the attached handbook and complete this quiz and return to your supervisor who will send it to HR Please circle the correct answer: 1) The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in what year: a) 2000 b) 2003 c) ) When you are approaching a person with a disability are unsure if they need help, you should: a) Go ahead and help them if they don t like it, they will say so. b) Ignore them until they ask for help. c) Ask them May I help you? 3) Which of the following statements is always true: a) Older people are all hard of hearing. b) Avoid touching a service animal without permission. c) Support people are paid employees of persons with disabilities d) People who are blind cannot see anything 4) Which statement about persons with disabilities is true: a) Their disability might or might not affect how they interact with you. b) They all have assistive devices like a wheelchair or a hearing aid. c) Their disability affects them with the same severity at all times. d) All people with the same disability are affected in the same way. 5) If you need to communicate by phone with a person with hearing loss you can use the Relay Service. Their number is a) 911 b) 411 c) Name: Signature: Department or Committee: Date

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