The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Customer Service Standard

1. POLICY FRAMEWORK

Policy Statement

In Ontario, Davis LLP strives to provide a barrier-free environment for our clients and to provide goods and services to people with disabilities in a manner that respects their dignity, and independence, assuring equality of opportunity and integration, and ensuring they receive the same high standard of service excellence that we endeavour to provide to all clients.

The goal of the AODA is to create a more accessible Ontario by identifying, and to the extent possible, preventing and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with a disability. A standard for customer service (the “Standard”) has been established under the AODA to ensure goods and services are, where at all possible, equally accessible to every Ontarian.

Core Principles

We endeavour to ensure that the policy and related practices and procedures are consistent with the following four (4) core principles:

Dignity - Clients with a disability must be treated as valued clients as deserving of service as any other client.

Equality of Opportunity - Clients with a disability should be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from our goods and services.

Integration - Wherever possible, clients with a disability should benefit from our goods and services in the same place and in the same or similar manner as any other client. In circumstances where integration does not serve the needs of the client with a disability, goods and services will, to the extent possible, be provided in another way that takes into account the client’s individual needs.

Independence – Goods and services must be provided in a way that respects the independence of clients with a disability. To this end, we will always be willing to assist a client with a disability but will not do so without the express permission of the client.

Definition Of Terms

“Accessibility Report”

means the report section 14 of the AODA requires Davis LLP to file.

“Assistive Device”

means any device that is designed, made, or adapted to assist a person perform a particular task, including physical or technical aids, such as communication devices, canes, crutches, hearing aids and wheel chairs.

“Barrier”

means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability. This includes a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.

“Disability”

means any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness, a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one of more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language, a mental disorder, or an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plans established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

“Service Animal”

means an animal that has been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities and includes any animal

(a) if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or

(b) if 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”

means in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies a person with a disability to assist with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services. Who This Policy Applies To This Policy applies to all employees, contractors and agents of Davis LLP, whether such employees, contractors or agents are engaged on a full-time, part-time, temporary, casual, or reduced work arrangement.

2. ACCESSIBILITY OF SERVICES

Communication with Persons with Disabilities

Davis LLP strives to communicate with clients with a disability in a manner that takes into account both the disability and the client’s preferred method of communication. Davis LLP can communicate with clients in writing, via telephone, email, or meetings, either in person or via video conferencing. Davis LLP recognizes that not all clients will wish to communicate in the same manner. How to interact and communicate with persons with disabilities is set out in our accessibility training program.

Assistive Devices

Clients with a disability are permitted, where possible, to use their own assistive device when on our premises for the purposes of obtaining, using or benefiting from our goods and services.

If there is a physical, technological or other type of barrier that prevents the use of an assistive device on our premises we will first endeavour to remove that barrier. If we are not able to remove the barrier, we will ask the client how he/she can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible to him/her. We will make best efforts to provide an alternative means of assistance to the client with a disability.

Davis LLP’s staff will receive training on various assistive devices that may be used by clients with a disability while accessing our goods and services.

Service Animals

Clients with a disability may be accompanied by a service animal and keep the service animal with them on Davis LLP premises, if the public or other third parties have access to such premises and the service animal is not otherwise excluded by law. If a service animal must be excluded, we explain to our client why this is the case and explore alternative ways to meet the client’s needs.

It is the responsibility of the client using the service animal to ensure that the service animal is kept in control at all times.

Davis LLP‘s staff will receive training on how to interact with clients with a disability accompanied by a service animal.

Support Persons

Clients with a disability may be accompanied by a support person and have access to the support person on Davis LLP premises.

Where appropriate, Support Persons may be required to acknowledge that it is the client, and not the support person, to whom Davis LLP is providing its advice and services.

Davis LLP may require a client with a disability to be accompanied by a support person where it is necessary to protect the health or safety of the client with a disability or the health or safety of others on the premises.

Davis LLP’s staff will receive training on how to interact with clients with a disability who are accompanied by a support person. Notice of Temporary Service Disruptions Davis LLP will notify clients if there is a planned or unexpected disruption of a facility or service clients with a disability use to access our goods and services. The notice will be posted at the Toronto office reception and on Davis LLP’s website. The notice will include the following information:

(a) That a facility or service is unavailable.

(b) The anticipated duration of the disruption.

(c) The reason for the disruption.

(d) Alternative facilities or services, if available.

In the event of an unexpected disruption, notice will be provided as soon as possible.

3. TRAINING AND RECORDS

Davis LLP will provide training, and ongoing training as required under the AODA, to all of Davis LLP’s staff to whom this Policy applies as well as to those persons charged with developing this Policy and related procedures and practices.

Content of Training

Training will include:

  • A review of the purposes of the AODA and requirements of the Standard.
  • How to interact and communicate with clients with various types of disabilities. 
  • How to interact with clients with a disability who use an Assistive Device or require the assistance of a Service Animal or Support Person. 
  • How to use equipment or devices made available on our premises to assist clients with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. 
  • What to do if a client with a disability is having difficulty accessing our premises and/or services. 
  • The content and requirements of Davis LLP’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the Standard.

Timing of Training

Training will be provided to all Davis LLP staff to whom this Policy applies either before January 1, 2012, or within 30 days of their start date if after January 1, 2012.

Documenting Training

Records of the training provided, including the training protocol, the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom the training is provided shall be maintained in accordance the requirements of the AODA.

4. FEEDBACK PROCEDURE

Feedback Process

Davis LLP is committed to meeting the requirements of the Standard. Comments regarding how well client expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback Delivery Channels

Clients may provide feedback on the manner in which Davis LLP provides our services to clients with disabilities. Feedback may be delivered through the following channels:

Electronically, by visiting our website at www.davis.ca.

By email, to earmstrong@davis.ca

In writing, by sending feedback to:

Davis LLP AODA Feedback

1 First Canadian Place, Suite 6000

PO Box 367

100 King Street West

Toronto, ON M5X 1E2

In person, by visiting Davis LLP’s Toronto office and hand delivering feedback in writing to the reception area.

Additionally, a client may request for their Davis LLP contact to submit feedback on their behalf.

Responding to Feedback

Davis LLP’s AODA representative will respond to all feedback received as soon as practicable, and acknowledge receipt of the feedback within ten (10) business days of receipt. A reply will be provided in the format requested by the client, by email, phone or in writing. The response will contain an acknowledgement of the receipt of the client’s feedback, and outline any further action(s) to be taken.

Where appropriate, feedback will be taken into consideration as part of the ongoing review of the AODA Customer Service standard policies and procedures.

5. NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF DOCUMENTS

Davis LLP’s AODA Customer Service Standard Policy and procedures will be made available to the public and clients upon request.

Notification of the availability of documents will be posted on the Davis LLP website. Davis LLP will provide documents, or the information contained in documents, required to be provided under the Standard to a client with a disability in a format that takes into account the client’s disability.