Accessible Customer Service Policy
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to include people with disabilities. We will remove barriers and attitudes that exclude people with disabilities from our office.
PROVIDING PROGRAMS, GOODS AND SERVICES TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to excellence in serving all clients, including people with disabilities. As a firm, we will use reasonable efforts to ensure that our policies, practices and procedures are consistent and accessible by all. This document, approved by the partners of Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP, establishes the policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of its goods or services to persons with disabilities.
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We will provide publications in formats that are accessible for people with disabilities. We will train staff and partners on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
We will commit to providing accessible telephone services to our clients. We will train office staff and partners to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. We will offer to communicate with clients by email if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs, or is not available.
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to participate in and benefit from our programs, goods and services. We will ensure that people are permitted to use their own personal assistive devices to access applicable programs, goods and services. We will familiarize and train staff, and partners on how to use the various assistive devices that may be used by clients’ with disabilities while accessing our programs, goods and services. Upon a client’s request, we will make every effort to provide the requested assistive device and or service and to cover relevant financial expenses.
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to the establishment of an Accessibility Committee to oversee all issues relating to accessibility. The Accessibility Committee will be comprised of people with a sincere interest in insuring our firm is accessible for all persons. The Accessibility Committee will establish policies on providing accessible programs, goods and services to clients with disabilities that are in compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07. The Accessibility Committee will monitor our programs, goods and services to ensure that practices and procedures are consistent with our governing policies. The Accessibility Committee will coordinate accessibility training and training materials for all relevant staff and partners. The Committee will ensure that assistive devices provided by our firm are in good working order and that requests for assistive devices are met. The Accessibility Committee will be responsible for developing feedback procedures, reviewing feedback on accessibility and responding to any complaints or concerns.
USE OF SERVICE ANIMALS AND SUPPORT PERSONS
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a service animal on parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will ensure that all staff, partners and others dealing with clients are trained on how to interact with people who are accompanied by a service animal. We are committed to welcoming people who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP with his or her support person.
NOTICE OF TEMPORARY DISRUPTION
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP will provide clients with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. This notice will be delivered through the use email, telephone, answering machine message, a telephone call from an appropriate person, and/or a notice placed upon the firm doors, as well as a listing, if necessary, in the local newspaper.
TRAINING FOR STAFF AND PARTNERS
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP Accessibility Committee will be responsible for coordinating training for all employees, partners and others who deal with clients or other third parties on our behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of accessibility policies, practices and procedures.
The ultimate goal of Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is to meet and surpass expectations while serving clients with disabilities. Comments on our programs, goods and services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated. Feedback regarding the way Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP provides programs, goods and services to people with disabilities can be made verbally to our staff and partners, email, telephone. All feedback will be directed to our Accessibility Committee. Clients can expect to hear back within two weeks/14 days when possible. All those providing feedback will have their confidentiality respected.
By Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
By Telephone - 519-326-2681
By Canada Post - Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP
49 Erie Street North, Box 189
Leamington, Ontario, N8H 3W2
Attention Chair - Accessibility Committee Complaints will be addressed according to the procedures outlined by the Accessibility Committee. Complaint procedures will be documented by the Accessibility Committee.
MODIFICATIONS TO THIS OR OTHER POLICIES
Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP is committed to developing accessibility policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. No changes, therefore, will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities and their families. Any policy of Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POLICY
This policy seeks to achieve service excellence to clients with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or its purpose, an explanation or reply will be provided by the Chair of the Accessibility Committee.
Talking About Disabilities
Choosing the Right Word
Here are some general tips that can help you make your communication and interaction with or about people with all types of disabilities more successful:
• Remember to put the person first: "Person with a disability". Focus on the person instead of their disability.
• Use "disability" or "disabled", not "handicap" or "handicapped".
• If you're not familiar with the disability, it's better to wait until the individual describes their situation to you, instead of making assumptions. Many types of disabilities have similar characteristics and your assumptions may be wrong.
Tips and Tools
How to Welcome People with Disabilities
Here are some general tips to help you welcome people with disabilities:
•Don't make assumptions about what type of disability or disabilities a person has.
•Some disabilities are not visible. Be patient. People with some kinds of disabilities may take a little longer to understand and respond.
•Ask one question at a time and wait for full response. If you can't understand what someone is saying, just politely ask again.
•Ask before you offer to help - don't just jump in. People with disabilities know if they need help and how you can provide it.
• Find a good way to communicate. A good start is to listen carefully. Look at the person, but don't stare. Speak directly to a person, but don't stare. Speak directly to a person with adisability, not to their interpreter or someone who is with them.
•Use plain language and speak in short sentences. Speak normally and clearly using normal tone of voice.
•Don't touch or address service animals - they are working and have to pay attention at all times.
•Ask permission before touching a wheelchair or a piece of equipment.
Policies, Practices and Procedures
Step 1. List your existing formal and informal policies,practices and procedures.
Step 2. Look for and identify and gaps. What can you do differently to make the process easier and alleviate any unnecessary barriers?
Step 3. Update your policies, practices and procedures to meet the new standard.
Personal Assistive Devices
•Like wheelchairs, walkers, white canes, oxygen tanks, etc.
•Outline what, if any assistive measures your organization is offering. Will there be a TTY (Telephone Teletype) service or lift available? Do you have a computer with adaptive software for those individuals unable to read print?
•Establish a policy on the availability of assistive devices or other measures you offer and how customers can access them.
Tips for Providing Communication Access
•Do not assume that a person who has trouble communicating has trouble understanding or making decisions, yet be aware that they may have additional challenges that are not immediately apparent.
•A person with a disability may take longer to make them selves understood; be patient and give them the time they require.
•Face the person directly so you can pick up on other clues like gestures and facial expressions.
•Talk directly to the person, not the person assisting or accompanying them.
Remember that good communication includes being respectful and being a good listener. There are basic communication skills should apply to all the clients of your organization, but they are even more important to the people whose ability to communicate often leaves them misunderstood, and remember, if you are at a loss on how to proceed, you can simply ask "Is there anything I need to knowor do to assist us when communicating?” and follow their instructions.
PROCEDURES TO SUPPORT ACCESSIBILITY POLICIES
1. Assistive Devices which are available at Hicks, MacPherson, Iatonna, & Driedger LLP and where assessable:
2. The Accessibility Committee will plan and co-ordinate the accessibility procedures and practices for our clients and staff who could be required to provide assistance to persons with accessibility issues.