Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

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1 Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Policy for Providing Accessible Client Service Introduction This policy has been developed to ensure that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is accessible to persons with disabilities such that they can participate fully with the application and adjudication process. The policy has been developed consistent with the Board s obligations under the Ontario Regulation 429/07, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. It is recognized that there are many different disabilities that can affect one s needs for customer service and that flexibility in response and accommodation is key. The policy applies to customer service at both of the Board s Toronto premises (439 University Avenue, 4 th Floor or 250 Dundas St W, 4 th Floor), at regional hearing sites across the province and in all forms of communication between the Board and the public. Definitions Client refers to a person who receives services from the Board. Disability means 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, Personal assistive devices are equipment, tools or technologies that are used by people with disabilities to support independence in carrying out activities of daily living and accessing goods and services. They include wheelchairs, walkers or white canes, notetaking devices and personal oxygen tanks to assist breathing. 1

2 Service animals are used by persons with various disabilities and perform functions and tasks that the individual can not perform himself or herself. They include guide dogs, hearing alert animals and animals trained to alert an individual to an oncoming seizure and lead them to safety. To be considered a service animal under the Standard, it must either be readily apparent that the animal is being used because of a person s disability or the person with a disability must be prepared to show a letter from a doctor or nurse confirming that it is required for reasons relating to his or her disability. Support person is a person hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communications, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods and services. A sign language interpreter may also be considered a support person. A support person for the purposes of this policy should be distinguished from a person attending a hearing and providing non-disability related support to a hearing participant. Board s Mission and Mandate The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is an independent adjudicative agency which administers the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act. The Board adjudicates applications for financial compensation associated with the injury or death of someone by violent crime. The Board s mission is to adjudicate applications in a fair, impartial, accessible and timely manner. Our vision is to ease the financial burden experienced by victims of violent crime in a sensitive, respectful manner. Principles for Providing Accessible Customer Service The Board strives to ensure that all members of the public have equal access to its services in a way that respects their dignity and independence. Services should be provided in a manner that fosters physical and functional access to the Board s processes and promotes the inclusion and full participation of members of the public. Where individualized accommodation is required and can be provided without undue hardship, the Board will provide it. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to advise Board staff of any specific accommodation needs they may have or to ask questions about how their needs might be met. Use of Assistive Devices 2

3 Personal assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers or personal oxygen tanks may be used at any Board facility. In the rare and unlikely event that Board facilities can not accommodate use of a particular assistive device, the Board will identify alternative options for the individual that, to the extent possible, enable the same service to be provided in the same manner as if the assistive device could be used. Both of our Toronto locations have accessible elevators, doors and washrooms. Accessible parking spots are available underground and nearby. Underground parking and the drop-off/pick-up location for the hearing site at 250 Dundas Street West can be accessed from Simcoe Street. Aboveground parking behind 439 University Avenue can be accessed from Armoury Street. To obtain information regarding accessible parking at or near other hearing locations, please contact us. Use of Service Animals Service animals are welcome in all public areas of Board premises. Public areas include hearing rooms, elevators, interview rooms, reception areas and washrooms. The Board will ensure that staff and Board members are trained on how to interact with persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. In the rare circumstance where a service animal must be excluded by law from Board premises, alternate steps will be investigated to provide CICB services to the person with a disability. Board staff and presiding Board Members will explain to the individual why the animal needs to be excluded and will investigate what other arrangements can be made to provide them with our services. Use of Support Persons A person with a disability may be accompanied by his or her support person during hearings for the purpose of assisting him/her with disability related matters. Where a hearing is closed to the public, Board members may temporarily exclude a disability support person from the hearing in order to confirm that the person with a disability freely consents to the support person attending the hearing. A disability support person may assist a person with a disability to give testimony but may not give testimony in his/her place unless the Board expressly agrees. If a claimant reports to either of the Board s premises with a support person and chooses to include that person in discussions relating to their claim, consent is assumed. Neither party is asked to complete documentation attesting to the consent. In the majority of cases, Board staff and members will not encounter situations where they would require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person. However, in certain situations it may be necessary. This would only occur where, after consultation with the person with the disability, requiring a 3

4 support person is the only means available to allow the person to be on the premises and, at the same time, fulfill the Board s obligations to protect the health or safety of the person with a disability or of others on the premises. Communications The Board communicates with the public through mail, in person, via , through the internet, by standard telephone, and using Bell Relay Services. Bell Relay Services allows TTY users to contact the Board through a relay operator. It can be reached by dialling The Board will communicate with any individual with a disability in a manner best suited to enabling that individual to fully express, receive and process communications. Wherever possible, the Board representative will ask the person directly how best to communicate with them. The Board may be contacted by telephone at or , or by fax at The Board s address is General information about the Board is available on the website at Parties to hearings and witnesses can request a sign language interpreter or a deaf-blind intervener to be present at the hearing. Requests may be made to any staff member. The Board may be able to arrange for a real-time captioning service for a participant where this is required to ensure that a person with a hearing, developmental or intellectual impairment can fully participate in the proceeding. Temporary Disruption to Accessibility of Facilities When Board facilities are temporarily unavailable or if they are expected to be temporarily unavailable in the near future, the Board will provide public notice that the facilities or services are unavailable for use. Notice of disruption will be provided as soon as possible, including an estimate of how long the expected disruption will last, if known, and what alternative facilities or services are available under the circumstances. A notice of disruption will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises. Integrating Accessible Service into Board Operations 4

5 The Board strives to integrate the needs of persons with disabilities into its business operations. Our policies and procedures are developed with a view to making them accessible to everyone. All staff and Board members are trained on providing customer service to persons with disabilities. Training will also be given to everyone who develops policies, procedures and practices about the provision of services to the public. The training program at the CICB will include the following: A review of the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the requirements of the customer service standard Instructions on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disability Instructions on how to interact with people with various types of disability who use assistive devices Instructions on how to interact with and serve people with disabilities who require the assistance of a guide dog or other service animal Instructions on how to interact with and serve people with disabilities who require the assistance of a support person Instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our services Awareness of the Board s policies, practices and procedures relating to the provision of services to people with disabilities. Orientation training will include the May I Help You? on-line course for newly recruited staff and Board members and as a refresher for staff and members providing customer service. Training will be provided as soon as practicable after an individual has been assigned duties that include interaction with the public, or development of policies, practices and procedures related to customer service. Changes to policies, practices or procedures involving persons with disabilities will be communicated to staff and Board members and additional training will be provided, when required, as soon as practicable. The Board will keep records of the training provided. The records will include the dates that training is provided and the number of individuals who received the training. The Board will review its policies and procedures annually to ensure that they adequately reflect the customer service needs of persons with disabilities. What to do if you are having trouble accessing the Board The Board welcomes feedback from anyone on how we are serving clients with disabilities. Feedback may be provided in a variety of ways, both formally and 5

6 informally. Individuals are encouraged to communicate their suggestions or concerns in whatever form they prefer. The Board will respond to the feedback, including complaints, in the same medium as received (orally, by telephone, in writing, or by ), taking into account the person s disability. Information on the feedback process is available to the public on request or through the posting of this policy on the Board s website at Feedback may be received by any of the staff servicing a claim, but a Unit Manager or the Chief Administrative Officer will handle a response to your comment/ complaint. In the event that a complaint is received, the appropriate Unit Manager and/or the Chief Administrative Officer will investigate the situation and will respond to the complainant in the same medium that the complaint was received within ten (10) business days of receipt of the complaint. 6

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