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Customer Service Policy

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

Belief

Women’s Community House believes that all people – staff, volunteers, clients, service providers, students and visitors regardless of ability or disability will be provided services, and be dealt with in a way that respects their dignity and independence.

Women’s Community House believes that all people with disabilities are entitled to have equal access to support, employment, information, buildings and services that others enjoy.

Women’s Community House ensures a safe place to live and work, free from all forms of discrimination, and abuse (see definition in A03 Beliefs).

WCH also believes that its employees, students, Board Members and volunteers are entitled to fair and equitable personnel policies and practices.

Policy

All people will be offered the same opportunity to access our services and to receive benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as others. Anyone who requires alternative service delivery options will be offered accommodations which take into account their disability.

All staff will be trained in customer service provision in keeping with the Ontario Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005).

Women’s Community House will have an Integrated Accessibility Plan (Appendix A) that will be reviewed annually to ensure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) and Ontario Regulation 429/07 Accessibility Standards.

Procedure

Communications

WCH staff will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. Print materials & documents will be available in alternative formats such as large print, audio format and with assistance such as ASL upon request within a reasonable time frame.

Telephone Service

WCH is equipped to receive and provide service using TTY, relay services, email, etc. and through interpretation services. All staff will communicate with caller in clear and plain language respecting the caller’s communication needs. Staff who answer the 24 hr Helpline will be trained during orientation on the use of the TTY.

Assistive Devices

WCH is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services. This includes training staff about the accommodation of various assistive devices such as: scooters, canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.

Service Animals and Support Persons

Any part of the premise that is open to the public is also open to service animals. Staff will be trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. There will be no cost to the client for the normal care of the service animal; however, any costs for veterinary services will be discussed with the client. In the event that a WCH employee, volunteer or another resident is allergic to the particular animal, alternative arrangements where available will be negotiated. Any animal that poses a safety threat to others (e.g. aggressive, poisonous, or illegal in terms of city bylaws) may be excluded.

Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person (including males) will be allowed to enter WCH with a support person and will have access to that support person at all times while on WCH property. With a woman’s consent, the support person will be allowed to be present during the provision of service, including the sharing of confidential matters. WCH may request a note from a professional (e.g. doctor, nurse, etc.) verifying the need for the support person. There will be no cost for the client or the support person while receiving services from WCH.

Notice of temporary service disruption

WCH will provide notice in the event of a disruption of service in the facility including the reason for the disruption, anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services. The notice will be placed at all public areas and may be recorded on the automated telephone attendant answering message if the disruption is prolonged. Laminated notices regarding temporary loss of accessible washrooms and elevator are available for posting in the residential offices.

Feedback Process

WCH welcomes comments on our services regarding how well expectations are being met by all people. Feedback from persons with disabilities is especially welcomed to ensure quality customer service is provided. Feedback can be received verbally, by email at service@shelterlondon.org, using the Ministry of Community & Social Services survey or on a feedback form available from any staff member. All written feedback will be directed to the Director of Programs & Services. Customers can expect to hear back from WCH within ten business days. See appendix B for signage.

Training for staff

WCH will ensure that all persons to whom this policy applies receive training as required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. In addition, training will be provided to WCH employees and volunteers as part of the orientation training and be retrained with policy changes and every three years for incumbent staff. A record of the training will be kept in the H. R. files. A copy of “A Guide to Annual Accessibility Planning under AODA act 2001” is available in the residential office for staff reference.

Emergency & Public Safety

WCH is equipped with visual and audible fire alarm systems, and staff are routinely trained to respond in the event of a fire emergency. New residents are given a tour of the building upon arrival which includes emergency exits. Emergency plans and procedures are documented in the Disaster Plan and Intruder Plan policies: This information is also available in alternative format upon request (audio or large print). Accommodations will be made where possible taking into account the individual’s disability.

Modification of this or other policies

WCH is committed to developing customer service & polices 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 that does not meet the standard will be modified or removed.

This policy exists to achieve service standards to customers with disabilities. If a question arises about the policy, or if the purpose of the policy is not understood, an explanation will be provided by the Director of Programs & Services verbally, in print or in other alternative ways as required to meet the need of the individual.