Deadline For Accessible Customer Service Is Fast Approaching

December 20, 2011

One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. Over the next 20 years, that number will rise as the population ages.  Creating a province where every person who lives or visits can participate fully makes good sense for our people, our businesses and our communities. 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005. Its goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. The AODA requires the creation of accessibility standards to ensure that Ontario becomes more accessible.

The first Standard to be released was the Accessible Customer Service Standard.  The City of Cornwall, along with all other Ontario municipalities and other public sector organizations, implemented this Standard back in 2009.  Now, all businesses, consultants, manufacturers, wholesalers and professional services with one or more employee will need to comply with this Standard by January 1, 2012.

Ontario’s new Accessibility Standard for Customer Service is not about ramps, automatic door openers or physical changes to your premises; it’s simply about providing good customer service to everyone...it’s about understanding that people with disabilities may have different needs.   It can be as easy as asking “May I help you?” and making small changes to how you serve customers with disabilities.

Providing accessible customer service is easy and the Ministry of Social and Community Services is there to help you.  Chances are, you’re already making the effort to ensure your organization is providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

There are two things you need to do:

1. Create and put into place an accessibility plan that:

  • Considers a person’s disability when communicating with them
  • Allows assistive devices in your workplace, like wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks
  • Allows service animals
  • Welcomes support persons
  • Lets customers know when accessible services aren’t available
  • Invites customers to provide feedback

2. Train your staff on accessible customer service

The Ministry’s created four simple tools to help you get started on the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service along with an Employer Handbook and a Training Resource Guide. 

To access these tools, click here

For more information on accessibility issues, click here.

The Office of the Deputy Clerk is available to guide you through the implementation process. 

Manon L. Poirier, CMO
Deputy City Clerk
Clerk's Department
The Corporation of the City of Cornwall
360 Pitt Street, Cornwall, ON, K6J 3P9
(613) 930-2787 ext 2316 Phone
(613) 933-1860 Fax
mpoirier@cornwall.ca

 

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