Accessibility Policy for Customer Service
1. Our mission
ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty community legal clinic dedicated to defending and advancing the equality-rights of people with disabilities in Ontario. In recognizing the dignity and worth of persons with various types of disabilities, ARCH promotes the full social justice of persons with disabilities, and their realization of equal opportunities and full participation on an individual and systemic basis.
2. Our values and principles
ARCH’s work is guided by the following set of core values:
- The dignity and worth of all people with disabilities must be respected;
- People with disabilities have the right to life, self-determination, and full participation in a society free from barriers to their inclusion and integration;
- People with disabilities themselves are in the best position to determine their own priorities;
- All citizens have a common responsibility to create communities accessible to all people with disabilities.
3. Our commitment
In fulfilling our mission, ARCH Disability Law Centre strives at all times to provide high quality legal services in a way that respects the dignity, independence and full social inclusion of people with disabilities. Staff, volunteers and the Board of Directors of ARCH will make every effort to provide service that accommodates a variety of physical, mental, language and cultural needs, while respecting the privacy and dignity and independence of the people served.
4. Providing services to people with disabilities
We will continue to communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
We will continue to train staff and volunteers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities when interacting with clients and all who contact ARCH.
4.2 Telephone services
We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our clients and all who wish to contact ARCH. We will continue to train staff to communicate with callers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
We will continue to offer to communicate with our clients and all who contact ARCH by email, TTY, or mail if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
4.3 Assistive devices
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices. We will ensure that our staff and volunteers continue to be trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by people with disabilities while accessing our services.
4.4 Written Communication
We are committed to providing accessible written material to all of our clients and all who contact ARCH. For this reason, written materials will be provided in the following formats upon request: alternate formats, hard copy, large print, email, on CD etc. If you do not use written communication, we will communicate with you in the way that meets your needs.
4.5 Legal Information
We are committed to providing legal information to all of our clients and in public legal education sessions in a manner that is accessible and understandable by all who require it. We will strive to use clear language, provide explanations of legal concepts and avoid the use of technical language.
4.6 The right to make decisions
We are committed to defending the right of people with disabilities to make their own decisions. We will strive to ensure the right to autonomy for all of our clients thus ensuring dignity, independence and the right to be accepted as an equal member of society.
We will ensure that our staff and volunteers continue to be trained to presume that a client has capacity to give directions and to fully participate in the decision making process. In addition, staff will continue to be trained to understand what a client may need to facilitate their ability to instruct and to make decisions in the lawyer-client relationship.
5. Use of service animals and support persons
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal into our offices and to all community events that are organized by ARCH. We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public continue to be properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises or at an event sponsored by ARCH.
6. Notice of temporary disruption
ARCH Disability Law Center will provide our community with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in our services. 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 notice will be recorded on our answering machine greeting, will be posted in our office and on our website.
7. Training for staff
ARCH Disability Law Centre will provide training to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
Training will include the following:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
- How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
- How to use plain language that is accessible and understandable and how to provide explanations of legal concepts that avoid the use of technical language.
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing ARCH’s goods and services
- Emergency response specifically for people with disabilities
- ARCH’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
Staff and volunteers will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way in which services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.
8. Feedback process
The ultimate goal of ARCH Disability Law Centre is to provide excellent services to people with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well we are meeting this goal are welcome and appreciated.
Feedback regarding the way ARCH Disability Law Centre provides services to people with disabilities can be made by email, verbally, by phone or on diskette by completing a Client Satisfaction Survey or a Community Partners Survey. All feedback will be directed to ARCH’s Executive Director.
Complaints will be addressed according to complaint procedures already established in our clinic’s complaint policy.
9. Modifications to this or other policies
We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any policy of ARCH Disability Law Centre that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
10. Questions about this policy
This policy document is available on request. This policy exists to achieve service excellence to people with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, please contact ARCH’s Executive Director at 416-482-8255 ext 2233, or 1-866-482-2724 or TTY 416-482-1254; by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or, by mail:
ARCH Disability Law Centre
55 University Avenue