Beginning January 1, 2012, all employers who provide goods or
services to members of the public or other third parties, and that
have at least one employee in Ontario, must comply with the
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (the
"Customer Service Standard"), enacted pursuant to the
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
The Customer Service Standard is one in a series of related
pieces of legislation passed to further the Ontario
legislature's goal of making the province of Ontario fully
accessible to disabled persons by 2025, and requires employers to
be proactive in addressing the provision of goods or services to
persons with disabilities.
Establishment of Policies and Procedures
Employers are required to establish policies and procedures
which ensure that goods or services are provided in a manner which
respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities
and affords them equal opportunity to use or benefit from the goods
or services. The policies and procedures must also address the use
of assistive devices.
Use of Service Animals and Support Persons
Employers must allow persons with disabilities who are
accompanied by service animals or support persons to enter areas
open to the public or third parties together with the animal or
Notice of Temporary Disruption
Employers must give notice to the public of temporary
disruptions to facilities which enable persons with disabilities to
use or benefit from goods or services provided.
Training for Staff
Employers must ensure that the following persons receive
training on an ongoing basis about the provision of goods or
services to persons with disabilities:
every person who deals with members of the public or other
third parties on behalf of the employer, whether the person does so
as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise; and
every person who participates in developing the employer's
policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods
or services to members of the public or other third parties.
Training must include:
a review of the purposes of the Act;
training on how to:
a. interact and communicate with persons with various types of
b. interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive
device or require the assistance of a support person, a guide dog
or other service animal;
c. use equipment or devices available on the employer's
premises, or otherwise provided by the employer, that may help with
the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities;
what to do if a person with a particular type of disability is
having difficulty accessing the employer's goods or
Employers must establish a process for receiving and responding
to feedback about the manner in which goods or services are
provided to persons with disabilities and must make information
about the process readily available to the public.
Preparation of Documents
Every employer that has at least 20 employees in Ontario must
prepare documents which describe its policies and procedures with
respect to all of the above requirements, and which summarize
training content and record dates of past and future training.
Notice must be provided to the public that these documents are
available upon request.
Violations of the Customer Service Standard by employers may
result in inspections, compliance orders, administrative fines
(including $100,000 per day for a corporation and $50,000 per day
for an officer, director or individual) and/or prosecution.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards
In addition to the Customer Service Standard, employers should
be aware of potential upcoming obligations under the Integrated
Accessibility Standards, also enacted pursuant to the Act,
which sets out accessibility standards for information and
communications, employment and transportation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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