Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Policy

ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES POLICY

1. POLICY

1.01 The Matcom Group strives to provide its services to all its clients in a way that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. We are committed to offering equal opportunity to access our services and to providing the benefit of the same services, in the same place and in a similar way to all clients including persons with disabilities. In the event of any unacceptable behaviour perpetrated by an employee, The Matcom Group will act to severely discipline the employee, up to and including dismissal for cause.

1.02 This policy is intended to meet the requirements of Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and applies to the provision of goods and services to the public or other third parties.

2. APPLICATION

2.01 This policy applies to the provision of services at premises operated by The Matcom Group as well as client sites in Ontario.

2.02 This policy applies to employees and/or sub-contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of The Matcom Group, including when the services occur off the premises of The Matcom Group.

3. DEFINITIONS

3.01 Assistive Device – is a technical aid, communication device or other instrument that is used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Personal assistive devices are typically devices that clients bring with them such as a wheelchair, walker or personal oxygen tank that may assist in hearing, seeing, communicating, moving, breathing, remembering and/or reading.

3.02 Disability – the term disability as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and the Ontario Human Rights Code, refers to: 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 coordination, 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; a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability; a learning disability or dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language; a mental disorder; or an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

3.03 Guide Dog – is a highly trained working dog that has been trained at a specialized facility to provide mobility, safety and increased independence for people who are blind.

3.04 Service Animal/Service Dog – an animal is a service animal/service dog for a person with a disability if: it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or the person provides a letter from a medical practitioner confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

3.05 Support Person – a support person, in relation to a person with a disability, is a person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods and services.

4. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

4.01 In accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, this policy addresses the following:

a) the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities

b) the use of assistive devices

c) the use of guide dogs, service animals and service dogs

d) the use of support persons

e) notice of service disruptions

f) client feedback

g) training

h) notice of availability and format of required documents

4.02 The Matcom Group will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity by:

  • ensuring that all clients receive the same value and quality;
  • allowing clients with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as this does not present a safety risk;
  • using alternative methods when possible to ensure clients with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
  • taking into account individual needs when providing goods and services; and
  • communicating in a manner that takes into account the client’s disability

4.03 Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by The Matcom Group.

4.03.1 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 of goods and services. For example, open flames and oxygen tanks cannot be near one another, therefore, the accommodation of a client with an oxygen tank may involve ensuring that the client is in a location that would be considered safe for both the client and the business. Similarly, a client with hearing aids, who cannot wear normal hearing protection will be provided with headset ear protection in a plant.

4.04 Guide dogs, service dogs/animals – a client with a disability that is accompanied by a guide dog, service dog/animal will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public, unless excluded by law. “No pet” policies do not apply to guide dogs, service dogs/animals.

4.04.1 If a guide dog, service dog/animal is excluded by law (Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario Regulation 562 Section 60) The Matcom Group will offer alternative methods to enable the person with a disability to access goods and services when possible (secure the animal in a safe location and offer the guidance of an employee).

4.04.2 If it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the client for reasons relating to his or her disability, The Matcom Group may request verification from the client. Verification may include:

  • a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
  • a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or
  • a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school

4.04.3 The client that is accompanied by a guide dog, service dog/animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all times.

4.04.4 If a health and safety concern presents itself for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, The Matcom Group will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.

4.05 If a client with a disability is accompanied by a support person, The Matcom Group 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.

4.05.1 There may be times where seating and availability prevent the client and support person from sitting beside each other. In these situations, The Matcom Group will make every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.

4.05.2 In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the client, prior to any conversation where confidential information might be discussed.

4.06 Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control of The Matcom Group. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that client’s with disabilities rely on to access The Matcom Group’s goods or services, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice. In some circumstances such as the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible.

4.06.1 In the event that a notification needs to be posted, the following information will be included unless it is not readily available or known;

  • goods or services that are disrupted or unavailable
  • reason for the disruption
  • anticipated duration
  • a description of alternative services or options

4.06.2 When disruptions occur, The Matcom Group will provide notice by:

  • posting notices in conspicuous places including the point of disruption and the main entrance;
  • contacting clients with appointments
  • verbally notifying clients when they are making an appointment
  • by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances

4.07 The Matcom Group shall provide clients with the opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided to clients with disabilities. Information about the feedback process will be readily available to all clients and notice of the process will be posted at our office and verbally communicated to clients. Feedback forms along with alternate methods of providing feedback such as verbally (in person or by telephone) or written (hand written, delivered, website or e-mail), will be available upon request.

4.07.1 Clients may submit feedback to The Director of Human Resources in any of the methods stated in 4.07.

4.07.2 Clients that provide formal feedback will receive acknowledgement of their feedback, along with any resulting actions based on concerns and complaints that were submitted.

4.08 Training will be provided to all Matcom Group employees, agents and/or sub-contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of The Matcom Group and those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures.

4.08.1 As reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07, regardless of the format, training will cover the following:

  • a review of the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
  • a review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07;
  • instructions on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
  • instructions on how to interact with people with disabilities who use assistive devices, require the assistance of a guide dog, service dog/animal or require the assistance of a support person
  • instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our services
  • The Matcom Group’s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to providing accessible customer service to clients with disabilities

4.08.2 The Matcom Group will keep a record of training that includes dates trained and the employees that attended the training.

4.09 The Matcom Group shall notify clients that the documents related to the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service are available upon request and in a format that takes into account the client’s disability.

4.10 This policy and its related procedures will be reviewed as required in the event of legislative changes.