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Accessible Customer Service Policy
Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities
At InvestorCOM we are a service-driven team committed to working together to exceed our customer’s expectations. We are also focused on creating an optimal environment where our team members and leaders have the opportunity to do what they do best every day and contribute to our collective success as an organization. As we are focused on growth and continual improvement we are also committed to the following plan with regards to making our services and our employment experiences accessible to persons with disabilities. Together we plan to remove barriers and increase our overall accessibility and meet the requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was enacted in 2005 in order to facilitate the development of specific standards with respect to improving accessibility across the province. The Customer Service Standard came into force on January 1, 2008. The standard outlines what organizations must do in order to ensure that customer service is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
Disability – the definition of disability under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, is the same as the definition of disability in the Ontario Human Rights Code. The definition of disability that applies to the customer service standard is found under Section 2 in the AODA. In this Act, disability refers to:
- 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;
- A condition or mental impairment or a developmental disability;
- A learning disability, or dysfunction in one or 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 plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
Assistive Devices – is a technical aid, communication device or other instrument that is used to maintain or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Personal assistive devices are typically devices that customers bring with them such as a wheelchair, walker or a personal oxygen tank that might assist in hearing, seeing, communicating, moving breathing, remembering and/or reading.
Service Animal – animals individually trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of normal daily living, to enhance quality of life and mitigate their disabilities. These animals provide persons living with disabilities a variety of services, including but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision; alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds; providing companionship; pulling a wheelchair; alerting to seizures; opening/closing doors; or retrieving dropped items. A service animal is afforded access to all places the public is invited when accompanying their human partner. A service animal is not considered a ‘pet’ because it is specifically trained to help a person overcome the limitations of their disability. As reflected in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if:
- It is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
- If the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.
Service Dog – as reflected in Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario Regulation 562 a dog other than a guide dog for the blind is a service dog if:
- It is readily apparent to an average person that the dog functions as a service dog for a person with a medical disability;
- Or the person who requires the dog can provide on request a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires a service dog.
Guide Dog – is a highly-qualified working dog that has been trained at one of the facilities listed in Ontario Regulation 58 under the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, to provide mobility, safety and increased independence for people who are blind.
Support Person – as reflected in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, a support person refers to an individual who accompanies a person with a disability, in order to provide assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods and services. The support person could be a paid personal support worker, a volunteer, a friend or a family member. He or she does not necessarily need to have special training or qualifications.
InvestorCOM, who will hereinafter be collectively referred to as “The Company,” will strive at all times to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. The company is committed to offering people with disabilities, the same opportunity to access its (and/or its clients’) goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.
The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
The Company will make reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the core principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity by:
- Ensuring that all customers receive the same value and quality;
- Allowing customers with disabilities to do things in their own ways, and at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as this does not present a safety risk;
- Using alternative methods when possible to ensure that customers with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
- Taking into account individual needs when providing goods and services; and
- Communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.
The Company is also committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities, and will carry out its functions and responsibilities in the following areas:
The Company will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
All staff will be trained on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
- Telephone Services
The Company is committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to its customers.
All staff will be trained on how to communicate clearly and slowly to customers over the telephone in plain language.
The Company will offer to communicate with customers via email, if telephone communication is not suitable to the customer’s communication needs or is not available.
The Company is committed to providing accessible invoices to all its customers. For this reason, invoices will be provided in the following formats upon request: hard copy, large print, or email.
The Company will answer any questions customers may have about the content of an invoice in person, by telephone, or via email.
- Assistive Devices
The Company is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from its (and/or its clients’) goods and services. The Company will make reasonable efforts to ensure that assistive devices can be used to access services.
Exceptions may occur in situations where The Company 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 and others, The Company may offer a person with a disability other reasonable measures to assist him or her in obtaining, using and benefiting from its (and/or its clients’) services.
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.
The Company will ensure that staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing its (and/or its clients’) good and services.
- Use of Service Animals
The Company is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of its premises that are open to the public and other third parties. This requirement does not apply where an animal is excluded by law from being on the premises, or if the presence of the service animal adversely affects the health and/or safety of other users. Where a service animal is excluded by law, The Company will make reasonable efforts to ensure its goods and services can still be provided by alternative means. The Company will also ensure that all staff, dealing with the public, are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
- Use of Support Persons
The Company is committed to welcoming people 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 The Company 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 The Company premises.
- Notice of Temporary Disruption
The Company will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or 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 available. If the disruption of service is planned, such as routine maintenance, the notice will be provided in advance and include the same information.
When disruptions occur, The Company will provide notice by:
- Posting notices in conspicuous places, including the point of disruption, the main entrance, the nearest accessible entrance to the service disruption, and The Company’s websites;
- Contacting customers with appointments;
- Verbally notifying customers when they are in contact with The Company’s employees; and
- By any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.
- Training for Staff
The Company will provide training to all employees who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
Training will be provided to individuals within 1 month from the date the individual is assigned the applicable 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;
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing The Company’s and/or its clients’ goods and services; and
- The Company policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
Applicable staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities.
Staff will be trained on an ongoing basis. Any substantive amendment to a policy, practice and/or procedure, with respect to the provision of accessible customer service, may necessitate further training.
The Company will keep a record of all staff training, including the date(s) training was provided, and the employees who successfully completed the training.
- Feedback Process
The ultimate goal of The Company is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on The Company’s services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
Feedback regarding the way The Company provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by telephone, in writing, via email, in person, or by completing the form on the “Contact Us” portion of The Company’s website at www.investorcom.com. All feedback will be directed to the Vice President of Sales and Client Delivery and Human Resources. Customers can expect to hear back from The Company within 2 business days.
Notice of Availability and Format of Documents
The Company shall notify customers that the documents related to the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service are available upon request and in a format that takes into account the customer’s disability. Notification will be given by posting the information in a conspicuous place owned and operated by The Company, including its website and/or any other reasonable method.
Modifications to this or other Policies
The Company is 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 The Company that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
Questions about this Policy
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of the policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to anyone on the Executive Management Team.
This policy and its related procedures will be reviewed as required in the event of legislative changes.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07
Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario Regulation 562
Ontario Human Rights Code
Ontario Regulation 58 under the Blind Persons’ Rights Act
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997