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Providing goods and services to people with disabilities

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1. Our mission:

The mission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) is to provide leadership for the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights in Ontario. The OHRC’s vision is an Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by everyone.
The OHRC supports the full inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC’s Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005. The OHRC is committed to complying with the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and providing high quality service where all persons have equal access to its services.

2. Our commitment to service:

In fulfilling our mission, the OHRC works at all times to provide our goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Commissioners and staff are committed to giving people with disabilities equal opportunity to access our goods and services and to allowing them to equally benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. 
Our ongoing Commitment to Service is: 
We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, are committed to providing the highest quality customer service.
This statement of our commitment reflects our best efforts to provide excellent customer service, within the limits of our resources, by:
  1. being sensitive, aware and knowledgeable about the realities of prejudice and discrimination; 
  2. recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of our many client groups; 
  3. providing accessible services, information and materials; 
  4. acting on issues brought to the OHRC as quickly as possible while maintaining the high quality of our work; and
  5. responding to questions, concerns and criticism in a prompt, fair and respectful way.

3. Providing goods and services to people with disabilities:

The OHRC is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including those with disabilities, and will carry out our functions and responsibilities in an accessible manner. Each request for accommodation is assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition we follow these steps:

3.1 Communication:

We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take their specific needs into account. We train staff how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
We train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. If communication over the telephone is not suitable or available, the OHRC will offer to communicate with customers in other ways including email, TTY and relay services.
The OHRC will arrange and pay for sign language interpretation, captioning or other disability-related communication services for its meetings and public events, in advance or upon request depending on the audience. (Any requests should be made as early as possible due to the high demand for these types of services across the province.)

3.2 Assistive devices:

The OHRC ensures that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers while accessing our goods or services. 
The OHRC only uses facilities for meetings and public events that are accessible for people with disabilities who use mobility aids and devices or have other facility-related needs.
Customers are encouraged to contact the OHRC (or staff or manager involved) as early as possible if any special arrangements are required.

3.3 Accessible documents:

All of the OHRC’s public documents, including correspondence and publications, are available in electronic format. OHRC publications are released simultaneously in electronic format and made available on our website which meets W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 
All documents created by the OHRC are available, upon request, in other alternate formats, such as Braille, to accommodate disability-related needs. The OHRC will tell the individual when the document will be available in the requested format.

3.4 Scent sensitive office:

Due to health concerns related to exposure to scented products, such as perfumes and colognes, staff and visitors are asked to be considerate in their use of such products when visiting the OHRC office; they should be aware they may be asked to not use such products should this be required to accommodate individuals with environmental sensitivities.

4. Use of service animals and support persons:

We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person. We will ensure that staff are properly trained on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person.

5. Notice of temporary disruption:

The OHRC will inform customers if there is a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, how long it may last, and what other facilities or services are available.
This information will be placed on our automated phone system and at the entrance to our offices on the 8th and 9th Floors at 180 Dundas Street West, Toronto. If visitors are expected we will do our best to let them know about any disruption including waiting outside the offices for those visitors to help them as needed.

6. Training for staff:

The OHRC provides training for all Commissioners and staff so that they understand this policy, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, how to interact and communicate with people with disabilities and how to respond to requests for accessibility and accommodation.
The OHRC will maintain and update an online training package for all current and future staff.

7. Feedback process:

The OHRC strives to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are appreciated. 
Feedback may be made in writing, by telephone, TTY or email to the:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9
Tel: 437-488-5278
Fax: 416-314-4985
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY Local: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
The Executive Director or a delegate will review the customer feedback, investigate the situation, attempt to resolve it and provide a response within 14 business days of receiving the information.
Note: Complaints will be addressed according to other OHRC complaint procedures.

8. Modifications to this or other policies:

We are 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. 

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