Accessible Customer Service Procedure
This procedure addresses the accessibility requirements for the standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which focuses on Accessible Customer Service. The Customer Service Standard requires Virtual High School to prevent, identify, and remove barriers to provide accessible service to its customers. VHS is committed to providing persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to access our services in a manner and format that respects dignity, independence, and equal opportunity. The provision of goods and services shall be part of regular business operations whenever possible, accessible through the use of assistive devices, service animals, and support persons, and reinforced through the training of personnel on accessibility requirements.
This procedure applies to the provision of goods and services at premises owned and operated by VHS, and to employees, volunteers, agents, and contractors who deal with the public, or other third parties that act on behalf of VHS, on or off the premises.
Procedures & Responsibilities
In accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, the procedure addresses the following:
- The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
- The Use of Assistive Devices
- The Use of Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
- The Use of Support Persons
- Notice of Service Disruptions
- Customer Feedback
- Training provisions
- Notice of Availability and Format of Required Documents
- Employment Accessibility
A. The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
VHS will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, procedures, and practices are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity by:
- Ensuring all customers receive the same value and quality;
- Allowing customers with disabilities to do things in their own way 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 different individual needs when providing goods and services; and
- Communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.
B. The Use of Assistive Devices
Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices, as required when accessing goods or services provided by VHS. In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services.
C. The Use of Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
When an individual with a disability should need to access VHS with his/her service animal, he/she will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public.
The customer that is accompanied by the service animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all times. If a health and safety concern presents itself, i.e. allergy, VHS will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.
D. The Use of Support Persons
When an individual with a disability should need to access VHS with a support person, VHS will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter the premises together and that the customer is not prevented from having access to the support person. In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the customer, prior to the conversation taking place.
E. Notice of Service Disruptions
Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may not be within the control or knowledge of VHS. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that customer’s with disabilities rely on to access or use VHS’s goods or services, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advanced notice. In some circumstances, such as in the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advanced notice may not be possible.
Notifications will include:
- Goods or services that are disrupted or unavailable
- Reason for the disruption
- Anticipated duration
- A description of alternative services or options
- When disruptions occur, VHS will provide notice by:
- Posting a “News Item” on the Home page of the LMS indicating the reasons for the disruption
- Contacting customers via email or telephone, if necessary
- Or providing notice by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.
F. Customer Feedback
VHS shall provide customers with the opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided to customers with disabilities. Feedback options will be listed under the “Contact” page of the website and shall be sent to the Human Resources. Feedback can be provided in writing (mail or email) or verbally (by telephone) and will be acknowledged within 7 days of receipt.
Training will be provided to:
- All employees, volunteers, agents, and contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of VHS; and
- Those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices, and procedures.
As reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07, training will cover the following:
- A review of the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
- A review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07.
- Instructions on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
- Instructions on how to interact with people with disabilities who:
- Use assistive devices;
- Require the assistance of a guide dog, service dog or other service animal; or
- Require the use of a support person.
- Instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing your services.
- VHS’s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to providing accessible customer service to customers with disabilities.
VHS will provide training as soon as practicable. Training will be provided to new employees, volunteers, agents and/or contractors who deal with the public or act on our behalf of VHS during the first few weeks of employment. Revised training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures and/or practices.
H. Notice of Availability and Format of Required Documents
Except as otherwise stated, Virtual High School will provide or make arrangements to for accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities upon request. VHS will provide these supports at no additional cost, and within a timely manner.
I. Employment Accessibility
Virtual High School welcomes applications from persons with disabilities. Accommodations will be provided, upon request, for candidates participating in the selection process. Throughout employment at VHS, employees that identify with a disability will be supported, and provided with the necessary accommodations.
If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or its related procedures, please contact:
1-866-679-9377 ext. 312