Are you ready for the July 1 accessibility compliance update? June 23 2016
As of July 1, 2016, all employers in Ontario (small and large organizations) must meet the following changes to the Accessible Customer Service Standard and the Integrated Accessibility Standards:
- Previously, organizations were only required to provide customer service training to employees and volunteers who dealt with third parties, as well as to those who participated in developing the organization’s policies. Now all employees and volunteers—not only those who deal directly with the public—must now be trained on accessible customer service. Training records must be updated. Persons who have already received training do not need to be trained again.
- Currently, organizations with 20 or more employees must “document” their customer service policies, practices and procedures, and make a copy of that document available on request. Starting July 1, this requirement will only apply to organizations with 50 or more employees (meaning organizations with 20-49 employees no longer need to document their customer service policies, practices and procedures).
- More types of regulated health professionals can provide documentation of a need for a service animal, meaning a wider variety of health professionals will be able to confirm the status of a service animal.
- An organization may only require a person with a disability to have a support person to access premises or services for health and safety reasons and must consult with the customer and take specific steps to provide access.
- If a support person is required, any fee or fare for the support person must be waived.
- Previously, organizations had only to offer customers who have disabilities a way to comment on how you provide accessible customer service. Now you will have to ensure your feedback process is accessible by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, on request.
All organizations with 20 or more employees must confirm their compliance with the above requirements by submitting an accessibility compliance report by no later than December 31, 2017.
Applicable policies, practices and procedures should also be updated to reflect the upcoming changes. It is expected that an undated customer service training module will be added to the Government of Ontario’s AccessForward website in early-August, 2016.
For more information on this topic, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.