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 AODA Customer Service Plan

 

PURPOSE

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Ace, 2005 (AODA) is Provincial Legislation with the purpose of developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025. 

Ontario Regulation 429/07 entitled “Accessibility Standards for Customer Service” (the “Customer Service Standard”) establishes accessibility standards specific to customer service for public sector organizations and other persons or organizations that provide goods and services to members of the public or other third parties, including Virtek.

This policy addresses the following in accordance with the Customer Service Standard:

  • The provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities
  • The use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities
  • The use of service animals by persons with disabilities
  • The use of support persons by persons with disabilities
  • Notice of temporary disruptions in services and facilities
  • Staff training
  • Feedback regarding the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities
  • Notice of availability and format of documents and meetings.

This policy applies to all employees of Virtek. 

DEFINITIONS

Disability shall mean,

  1. 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;
  2. A condition of mental impairment or developmental disability;
  3. A learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. A mental disorder, or,
  5. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Accessible shall mean capable of being entered or reached, approachable; easy to get at; capable of being influenced, obtainable; able to be understood or appreciated.

Assistive Device shall mean a device used to assist persons with disabilities in carrying out activities or in accessing the services of persons or organizations covered by the Customer Service Standard.

Dignity shall mean respecting and treating every person including persons with a disability as valued and as deserving of effective and full service as any other customer.

Independence shall mean freedom from control or influence of others, freedom to make your own choices.

Guide Dog shall mean a dog trained as a guide for a person who is blind and having the qualifications prescribed by the regulations under the Ontario Blind Persons’ Rights Act.

Goods and Services shall mean goods and services provided by Virtek Vision International Inc.

Service Animals shall mean animals that are used as a service animal for a person with a disability if: (a) it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability, or (b) the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

Support Person shall mean in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.

 

PROVIDING GOODS & SERVICES TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Virtek is committed to excellence in serving all customers including persons with disabilities and will carry out its functions and responsibilities to ensure that policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the following principals:

  1. Virtek’s goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  2. The provision of Virtek’s goods and services to persons with disabilities is integrated with those provided to persons who do not have disabilities unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from such goods or services;
  3. Persons with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services;

Virtek encourages open communication and expects that persons with disabilities will communicate their need for accommodation or assistance if it is not readily apparent.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

Virtek will communicate with persons with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

 

USE OF SERVICE ANIMALS, ASSISTIVE DEVICES & SUPPORT PERSONS

Virtek will take all reasonable measures to ensure that the access, use, and benefit of its goods or services are not compromised for persons with disabilities who require assistive devices, or who are accompanied by a guide dog, service animal or support person. 

Service animals, including, but not limited to Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, Seizure Response dogs, and other certified service animals shall be permitted entry into all Virtek facilities and meeting rooms that are open to the public, unless the service animal is otherwise excluded from the area by law (e.g. where there are overriding health and safety considerations). 

Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to obtain, use or benefit from goods or services through the use of their own assistive devices.  Exceptions may occur in situations where Virtek has determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of a person with a disability or the health and safety of others on the premises.  In these situations, if a person with a disability is hindered from accessing goods or services, Virtek will accommodate the customer by providing an alternative where possible.  NOTE:  It is the responsibility of the person with a disability to ensure that his or her assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times.  Virtek will ensure that its employees are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing its goods and services.

Virtek is committed to welcoming customers with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person.  Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Virtek’s premises with his or her 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 Virtek premises.  Depending on the circumstances, the support person may be required to sign a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement. If a support person is necessary for the health & safety of a person with disabilities, or for the health and safety of other persons, Virtek will require the accompaniment of a support person on Virtek premises.  Conversely, unless there are overriding health & safety concerns, the person with a disability may choose not to be accompanied by his or her support person at all times.

 

NOTICE OF TEMPORARY DISRUPTION TO FACILITIES OR SERVICES

In the event that a service disruption occurs, that would limit a person with a disability from gaining access to Virtek facilities, goods or services, Virtek will make the disruption known to customers in the following ways:

  1. The Human Resources Department will post notice of the service disruption on Virtek premises in the area where the service disruption is located (including information about the reason for the disruption, expected duration, alternative locations for service (if applicable), etc.); and,
  2. In the case where customers are known to be visiting the Virtek premises every attempt will be made to contact such visitors in advance in order to advise them of the disruption.

 

STAFF TRAINING

Virtek will provide AODA customer service training to all employees and others who deal with the public or other third parties on Virtek’s behalf.  Training will also be provided to any person involved in the development and approvals of Virtek’s policies, practices, and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to members of the public or other third parties. This training will be provided to all new staff and on an on-going basis for staff to ensure all stay current with any policy or procedural changes related to the Customer Service Standard.

Training will include:

  • An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the Customer Service Standard;
  • Virtek’s plan related to the Customer Service Standard;
  • How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
  • How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person;
  • How to use equipment or devices, where provided, available on-site or otherwise that may help with providing goods or services to persons with disabilities;
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Virtek’s services.

Further training will occur when changes are made to Virtek’s plan.

Training records will be made and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the AODA Customer Service Standard.

 

FEEDBACK

Customers or others who wish to provide feedback regarding the way Virtek provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made in person, by phone, through email or by other means as required.  All feedback should be directed to the Director, Human Resources, as follows:

By telephone: +1 .519.746.7190 x202

By facsimile: +1. 519.746.3383

By email: NEW! liz.palermo@virtekvision.com

By regular mail / in person: 

Liz Watson-Palermo
Director, Human Resources
Virtek Vision International Inc.
785 Bridge Street, Waterloo, ON N2V 2K1

website: www.virtekvision.com

A response can be expected within ten (10) business days of providing feedback to Virtek. Any complaints about goods and services provided to persons with disabilities will be addressed according to Virtek’s regular complaint management process.  Feedback will be used to improve the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities.

 

MODIFICATIONS TO THIS OR OTHER POLICIES

Any Virtek policy that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities will be modified or removed.

 

AVAILABILITY OF DOCUMENTS

Virtek has prepared the documentation required under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and will provide them upon request.

 

AODA Customer Service Plan  |  Accessible Website Requirements  |  Multi-Year Plan

Accessible Website Requirements

The following is a summary of accessible website Requirements and Best Practices for private sector organizations with more than 50 employees.

REQUIREMENTS

  • AFTER January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.

 

POINTS OF CLARIFICATION:

  • This requirement applies to internet websites only – NOT internal (intranet) websites
  • A new internet website is one that:
    • Is completely new (has a new domain name)
    • Has been significantly refreshed, meaning at least 50% of the website has been modified. Examples of modifications that may have been made  include:
      • New look and feel to the website
      • Change in how users navigate the website
      • A major update and change to the content of the website

 

  • AS OF January 1, 2021, ALL internet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, other than providing captions on live videos or audio descriptions for pre-recorded videos.

Organizations are not required to modify content posted on their website PRIOR TO January 1, 2012.  However, upon request, organizations need to provide content on their website in an accessible format e.g., large print, accessible PDF document or Braille, in a manner that works for the person who made the request.

 

BEST PRACTICE

Web content published on ALL websites (new, significantly refreshed and pre-existing) moving forward should be accessible, except when this is not “practicable.”  Factors that may impact “practicability” include:

  • Cost
  • Available resources – human as well as the availability of commercial software or tools or both
  • Does the organization directly control their website, meaning they have the ability to modify as required

 

Another question we are often asked regarding the accessible website requirement is the following:

What is the responsibility of organizations to have an accessible website and/or accessible web content when their head office is located outside of Ontario?  

The answer is as follows:

Organizations with more than 50 employees in Ontario are required by law to have an accessible website in accordance with the dates and requirements listed above.  In some cases, however, it may not be “practicable,” e.g., if the head office is not receptive to modifying their website to satisfy what they consider to be a relatively small part of their company, despite being made aware of this legislation by the Ontario office. In this case, modifying the website may not be practicable as the organization in Ontario does not directly control their website.

 

Disclaimer

The information in this document is not legal advice.  Instead, proLearning innovations is sharing information via this document that we received from a number of our government contacts whose job is to provide clarification to the public on  AODA legislation.  If you have additional questions, contact your legal adviser or the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology at 1-866-515-2025

 

AODA Customer Service Plan  |  Accessible Website Requirements  |  Multi-Year Plan

 

Multi-Year Plan

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