Accessibility

ZTGH AODA Client Service Policy Statement:

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

1. Purpose  and  Scope

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 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” came into effect 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 or other third parties.

This policy 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
  • Staff training
  • Client 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 members of Zarek Taylor Grossman Hanrahan (ZTGH). Members of the firm include all lawyers, staff, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf.

2. Policy Statement

It is the policy of ZTGH that its environment will be maintained free from discrimination and harassment as prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code (1962), and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005).

It is the policy of ZTGH that every lawyer, member of staff and client has a right to equitable treatment with respect to employment, services, goods, facilities and accommodation without discrimination in accordance with the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code (1962). ZTGH is committed to providing accessible service for its clients. Goods and services will be provided in a manner that is based upon the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity to all of its clients. The provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities will be integrated wherever possible. Persons with disabilities will benefit from the same services in a similar way as other clients.

3. Definitions (from Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005)

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 co-ordination, 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 a 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 client.

    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.

    Goods and Services shall mean goods and services provided by ZTGH.

    Service Animals shall mean animals that are used as a service animal for a person with a disability.

    Support Person shall mean an individual hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.

4. Providing Goods and Service to Persons with Disabilities

In section 4, the reference to “persons with disabilities” refers to persons with disabilities as defined under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

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

  1. ZTGH’s goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  2. The provision of ZTGH’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 ZTGH’s goods or services;
  3. Persons with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that of persons without disabilities to obtain use or benefit from ZTGH’s goods and services, and
  4. To ensure the best possible client service, ZTGH encourages open two-way communication and expects persons with disabilities to communicate their need for accommodation or assistance if it is not readily apparent how that need can be met.

4.1 Communication

ZTGH is committed to communicating with persons with disabilities in ways that take into consideration their disability. To ensure this,

  1. Firm members will be trained in how to interact and communicate with clients with disabilities guided by the principles of dignity, independence and equality;
  2. Clients with disabilities will be offered alternative communication formats that will meet the needs of the client as promptly as feasible;
  3. Documents will be provided to clients in an alternative format that will meet the needs of the client in a timely fashion, and
  4. If telephone communication is not suitable for client’s needs, alternative forms of communication will be offered as required.

4.2 Use of Service Animals, Assistive Devices, and Support Persons

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

4.2.1 Service Animals

Service animals, such as, but not limited to Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, Seizure Response dogs, and other certified service animals shall be permitted entry to all ZTGH’s facilities and meeting rooms that are open to the public.

When we cannot easily identify that an animal is a service animal, our staff may ask a person to provide documentation (template, letter or form) from a regulated health professional that confirms the person needs the service animal for reasons relating to their disability.

A service animal can be easily identified through visual indicators, such as when it wears a harness or a vest, or when it helps the person perform certain tasks.

A regulated health professional is defined as a member of one of the following colleges:

  • College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario
  • College of Chiropractors of Ontario
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
  • College of Optometrists of Ontario
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
  • College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
  • College of Psychologists of Ontario
  • College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario

If service animals are prohibited by another law, we will do the following to ensure people with disabilities can access our goods, services or facilities:

  • Explain why the animal is excluded; and
  • Discuss with the customer another way of providing goods, services or facilities

4.2.2 Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to obtain, use or benefit from goods or services through the use of their own assistive devices.

It should be noted that 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.

4.2.3 Support Persons

ZTGH is committed to welcoming clients 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 ZTGH premises with his or her support person.

In certain cases, ZTGH might require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person for the health or safety reasons of:

  • The person with a disability; or
  • Others on the premises

Before making a decision, ZTGH will:

  • Consult with the person with a disability to understand their needs;
  • Consider health or safety reasons based on available evidence; and
  • Determine if there is no other reasonable way to protect the health or safety of the person or others on the premises.

If ZTGH determines that a support person is required, we will waive the admission fee or fare (if applicable) for the support person.

4.3 Billing

We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our clients and will make every effort to provide alternative formats of invoices in a timely manner upon request.

4.4 Notice of Temporary Disruption to Facilities or Services

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

  1. A physical notice of the service disruption on ZTGH premises will be posted in the area where the service disruption is located
  2. Messages will be posted on the ZTGH web site at www.ztgh.com

    Notices will include information about the reason for the disruption and its anticipated duration.

    If an unexpected disruption occurs, persons with disabilities will be accommodated by the use of other possible means to deliver the goods and service, such as:

  • ZTGH may use an alternative place and time to provide service directly to the person with a disability (for example, change of time or boardroom location); or
  • Any other appropriate assistive measures available to deliver services.

    4.5 Notice of Availability of Documents

    ZTGH will notify the public that documents related to accessible customer service, are available upon request.

    ZTGH will provide this document in an accessible format or with communication support, on request.  We will consult with the person making the request to determine the suitability of the format or communication support.  We will provide the accessible format in a timely manner and, at no additional cost.

5. Staff Training

ZTGH will provide AODA client service training in to all lawyers, staff, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf. This training will be provided to all new staff within three months of the date they are hired.

The training will include:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the client 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;
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing services at ZTGH; and
  • Current policies, practices and procedures relating to the client service standard.

    Staff will also be trained when changes are made to your plan.

6. Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of ZTGH is to meet the needs of our clients, while paying attention to the unique requirements of our clients with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way ZTGH provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made in person, by telephone, through email, or by other means as required.

Feedback should be directed to:

Human Resources

Zarek Taylor Grossman Hanrahan LLP

Barristers

20 Adelaide St. East, 13th Floor

Toronto, ON, M5C 2T6

hrmanager@ztgh.com

Fax: 416-777-2050

Telephone: 416-777-5246

Feedback will be used to improve client service. In addition, the author of the feedback will be provided with a response in the format in which the feedback was received. The feedback may outline actions deemed appropriate, if any.

ZTGH will make sure our feedback process is accessible to people with disabilities by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, on request.

7. Format of ZTGH Policies

ZTGH develops and updates policies, procedures and practices in such a manner as to respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities, as well as integration and equality of opportunity. ZTGH will provide policy and procedure documents produced by the firm in an alternative format upon request, within a reasonable amount of time.

8. Questions about this Policy

If anyone has questions about the policy, or if the purpose of the policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by or referred to Human Resources or a member of the Respect in the Workplace Committee. This policy will be posted on the ZTGH website and made available to all members of the firm.

Statement of Organizational Commitment

Zarek Taylor Grossman Hanrahan LLP (ZTGH) is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity.

We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Accessible Emergency Information

ZTGH is committed to providing the customers and clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.

Opportunities

ZTGH will give people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our products and services and allow them to benefit from the same products and services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients.

Policy Development & Availability

ZTGH will maintain its accessibility policies in a written format. They will be available to the public and will be provided in an accessible format if it is requested.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

ZTGH will maintain its multi-year accessibility plan. The plan will be reviewed and updated at least once every five years. It will show our organization’s commitment to removing barriers and preventing new ones. We will make it available to the public and provide it in an accessible format when requested.

Information and Communications

When providing information to, or communicating with, a person with a disability, we will provide, on request, the information and communication in an accessible format or with a communication

support. We will work in consultation with the person with the disability to provide them with the information in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

Feedback

ZTGH will ensure that existing feedback processes are accessible to people with disabilities upon request.

Accessible Website

We are committed to working towards an accessible website and website content that will comply with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines initially at Level A and moving towards Level AA standards.

Employment

ZTGH is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. Our employment practices will include notification of the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities, as well as supports for staff with disabilities. Where employee needs dictate, we will provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability. Our performance management and career development processes will take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities.

Documented Individual Accommodation Plans

By no later than January 1, 2016, our process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans will include:

  • How we include the employee in the development of the plan
  • How we consider the employee on an individual basis
  • How we would proceed in getting a medical or other expert’s opinion on the accommodation of the employee and at our own expense
  • How other representatives or agents may or may not be involved
  • How the employee’s personal information will be protected
  • How often the plan will be reviewed and how it will be done
  • How the plan will be provided in a format that respects the individual’s needs due to a disability

Return to Work Process

By no later than January 1, 2016, our process for the development of a return to work process for employees with disabilities who have been absent due to their disability and require accommodations to return to work will:

  • Outline the steps we will take to facilitate the employee’s return to work
  • Use their individual accommodation plan -where it exists- as part of the process

Training

  • ZTGH will provide training to:
  • Employees
  • Volunteers
  • Persons involved in developing policies for our organization
  • All others who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of our organization

Training will be provided to staff during their orientation process. Training will cover:

  • Accessibility requirements from the Integrated Accessibility Regulation and Accessible Customer Service Standard
  • How the Human Rights Code pertains to persons with disabilities
  • Changes that are made to the accessibility policies

Design of Public Spaces

We will incorporate accessibility requirements under the IASR when building or redeveloping a public space identified under Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces.

ZTGH Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

This 2014-21 accessibility plan outlines the policies and actions that ZTGH will put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.

Website

Make all new websites and content on those sites conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A by January 1, 2014.

Strategy:

  • IT will review compliance of current website content.
  • The firm will commence compliance with WCAG 2.0 level A, for all new websites and web content on those websites.
  • All new documents and forms on the firm’s website will conform with WCAG 2.0 level A.

Make all websites and content conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021.

Strategy:

  • Ensure website, web content, and web applications are in compliance with Level AA.
  • Websites and web content will conform to WCAG. 2.0 level AA, excluding live captioning and audio description.
  • Content published prior to 2012 will be made available in an accessible format upon request.

Training

Train individuals providing goods, service and facilities on behalf of our organization on the IASR and the Human Rights Code as it relates to persons with disabilities by January 1, 2015.

Strategy: 

  • Provide training to all employees, volunteers, and all others persons who provide goods, services on behalf of the firm on the requirements of the accessibility standards referred to in the IASR and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.
  • Keep a record of the dates of training and the individuals who have received training.

Information and Communication

Make existing feedback processes accessible, upon request, by January 1, 2015.

Strategy:

  • Establish process for receiving and responding to feedback.
  • Make this information publicly available on the firm’s website.
  • Provide information regarding feedback in an accessible format, upon request.

Make public information accessible, upon request, by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Respond to requests for accessible formats and communications supports in a timely manner.
  • Ensure the person’s accessibility needs are taken into account through consultation with the person to determine suitability of accessible format.

Let staff know about the firm’s policies for supporting employees with disabilities by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Employees will be informed of the firm’s policies for supporting staff with disabilities via email and bulletin board.
  • Information regarding accommodation policies will be provided to all new employees during orientation.

Provide workplace information in an accessible format or with communication supports suited to the individual employee, upon request, by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Provide information in a way that takes into account a person’s disability. This will be done through consultation with the person to determine their individual needs.

Employment

Notify public, employees and potential candidates with disabilities that accommodations can be made in recruitment and assessment processes by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Information regarding accommodation will be posted on the firm’s website and will be included in all job postings
  • Applicants who request accommodation will be consulted when a request is made.
  • Accommodate applicants during the recruitment process based on consultations, upon request.

Notify new hires and employees of our policies for accommodating employees with disabilities by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Include the firm’s policy on accommodating employees with disabilities in the offer letter to successful applicants.

Put in place a written process to develop individual accommodation plans for employees with a disability by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Develop a written process for individualized accommodation plans (IAP) in a clear and consistent way.
  • Involve employees in the development of their plans, assess the accommodation needs of employees, protect their privacy, provide plans in an accessible format, and review and update the plan with employees.
  • Prepare a communication strategy to communicate obligation to all employees.

Put in place a return to work process for employees that have been absent due to a disability by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Establish Return to Work (RTW) process for employees who have been absent because of a disability, and need some form of disability-related accommodation to return to work.
  • Incorporate IAP in to RTW process.
  • Prepare a communication strategy to communicate obligation to all employees.

Take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities if using performance management, offering career development of advancement, or redeploying an employee by January 1, 2016.

Strategy:

  • Make performance management documents, such as performance plans, available in accessible
  • formats, such as large print, when asked.
  • Provide feedback and coach your employees in a way that is accessible to them, such as using plain
  • language for an employee who has a learning disability.

Design of Public Space

Incorporate accessibility requirements under the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces by January 1, 2018.

Strategy:

  • Install door access push buttons at the reception entrance and bathrooms.

The ultimate goal of ZTGH is to meet the needs of our clients, while paying attention to the unique requirements of our clients with disabilities.

Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way ZTGH provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made in person, by telephone, through email, or by other means as required.

Feedback should be directed to:
Shivani Chetty
Zarek Taylor Grossman Hanrahan LLP
Barristers
20 Adelaide St. East, 13th Floor
Toronto, ON
M5C 2T6
hrmanager@ztgh.com
Direct: 416-777-5246
Fax:  416-777-2050


Feedback will be used to improve client service.  In addition, the author of the feedback will be provided with a response in the format in which the feedback was received. The feedback may outline actions deemed appropriate, if any.

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

  • A Notice of Disruption will be posted here 
  • A physical Notice of Disruption will be posted in the area where the service disruption is located and at the reception desk

The Notice of Disruption will include the following information:

  • type of disruption
  • reason for disruption
  • anticipated duration of disruption
  • description of alternate facilities, if any
  • contact information

NOTICE:

No disruption in service.