The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) is a provincial act 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.
Under the AODA, Ontario Regulation 429/07 entitled “Accessibility Standards for Customer Service” came into force on January 1, 2008. This Regulation 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. Designated public sector organizations were required to comply with this standard on January 1, 2010 and organizations with 20 or more employees, including Educators Financial Group Inc. must comply with this standard as of January 1, 2012.
This policy is drafted in accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and addresses the following:
- 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;
- client feedback regarding the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities; and
- notice of availability and format of documents.
This policy shall apply to every person who deals with clients, members of the public or other third parties on behalf of Educators Financial Group, whether the person does so as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise.
Failure to comply with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Providing Services to People with Disabilities
Educators strives at all times to provide its services in a way which respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in a similar way as other clients. To provide excellent service to all clients, including people with disabilities we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:
Employees of Educators will communicate with people with disabilities in a manner which takes into account their disability. We will train all employees on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
Methods of Providing Services
We are committed to providing fully accessible services to our clients. We will train employees to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. Educators Financial Group offers to communicate with and provide services to clients by email or where possible, in person at a location of their choice.
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain and benefit from our services. We will ensure that employees are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing our services.
We are committed to providing accessible written communication to all clients. For this reason, other written communication will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy, email, colour (if available) and large print.
Use of Service Animals and Support Persons
Educators Financial Group is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person or service animal. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter the Company’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 our premises or while accessing our services.
Notice of Temporary Disruption
We will provide clients with notice in the event of a planned disruption in services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if any, that may be available. Educators will provide notice by posting the information in visible places, or on our website, or by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances, as soon as possible.
In the event of an unexpected disruption in service, notice may be provided in a variety of ways and will be done as quickly as possible.
Training for Staff
We will provide training to all employees. This training will be provided during the initial orientation training the first two weeks that a new employee commences their duties.
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; and
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing the Company’s goods and services
- Educators Financial Group policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
Applicable employees will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities. Employees will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.
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 Educators Financial Group that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
Our ultimate goal is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving people with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
Feedback regarding the way Educators provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by email, in writing, by telephone call, fax, online or in person. All feedback will be directed to the Office Manager. Clients can expect to hear back within 2 business days.
Complaints will be taken seriously and be promptly investigated and addressed by the Office Manager or the CEO of the Company. Confidentiality will be provided throughout the investigation process to the extent practicable and appropriate. Appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted. Any employee who, after an investigation, is determined to have violated this or any other customer service policy carelessly, deliberately or maliciously will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including, dismissal.