This policy is intended to meet the requirements of acts, regulations and other legislation governing accessibility standards for customer service in provinces in which CHF Canada maintains offices or carries on other business, and applies to the provision of goods and services to the public or other third parties, not to the goods themselves.
CHF Canada is committed to providing quality services that are accessible to all, and to communicating with all persons with disabilities in a way that takes into account their disabilities. All goods and services provided by the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) shall follow the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.
In so doing, CHF Canada strives at all times to provide services in a way that respects the principles of:
- independence – allowing people with disabilities to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others
- dignity – providing services in a way that allows people with disabilities to maintain self-respect and the respect of others
- integration – allowing people with disabilities to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar ways as others
- equality of opportunity – offering people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the co-op’s services and co-op life.
- This policy applies to the provision of goods and services at premises owned and operated by CHF Canada.
- This policy applies to employees, volunteers, agents and/or contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of CHF Canada, including when the provision of goods and services occurs off the premises of CHF Canada such as in: delivery services, call centres, vendors, drivers, catering and third party marketing agencies.
- The section of this policy that addresses the use of guide dogs, service animals and service dogs only applies to the provision of goods and services that take place at premises owned and operated by CHF Canada.
- This policy shall also apply to all persons who participate in the development of the CHF Canada’s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to members of the public or third parties.
Assistive Device – 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.
Disability – the term disability as defined by the provincial accessibility act in which CHF Canada is operating, but generally 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 of 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 in the province.
Guide Dog – is a highly-trained working dog that has been trained at one of the specific facilities identified in the appropriate provincial act, to provide mobility, safety and increased independence for people who are blind.
Service Animal – as reflected in the provincial act, 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 the provincial act, 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.
Support Person – as reflected in the provincial regulations, a support person means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods and services.
In accordance with the pertinent provincial Accessibility Standards for Customer Service act, this policy 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
- Notice of Availability and Format of Required Documents
The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
CHF Canada will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the 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, 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.
Customer’s own assistive device(s):
Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by CHF Canada.
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. For example, open flames and oxygen tanks cannot be near one another. Therefore, the accommodation of a customer with an oxygen tank may involve ensuring the customer is in a location that would be considered safe for both the customer and business. Or, where elevators are not present and where an individual requires assistive devices for the purposes of mobility, service will be provided in a location that meets the needs of the customer.
Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
A customer with a disability that is accompanied by guide dog, service animal or service dog will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. “No pet” policies do not apply to guide dogs, service animals and/or service dogs.
Food Service Areas:
A customer with a disability that is accompanied by guide dog or service dog will be allowed access to food service areas that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law.
Other types of service animals, if prohibited under the pertinent health protection act, may not be permitted into food service areas.
If a guide dog, service animal or service dog is excluded by law, CHF Canada will offer alternative methods to enable the person with a disability to access goods and services, when possible (for example, securing the animal in a safe location and offering the guidance of an employee).
Animals not intended for slaughter or to be euthanized are not allowed in any area or room of a meat plant. It also makes an exception for service dogs to allow them in those areas of a meat plant where food is served, sold or offered for sale to customers and in those areas that do not contain animals or animal parts and are not used for the receiving, processing, packaging, labelling, shipping, handling or storing of animals or parts of animals.
Health protection acts normally do not allow animals in places where food is manufactured, prepared, processed, handled, served, displayed, stored, sold or offered for sale. It does allow guide dogs and service dogs to go into places where food is served, sold or offered for sale. However, other types of service animals are not included in this exception.
If there is a conflict between a provision of this Act or of a regulation under this or any other Act relating to banned breeds (such as pitbulls) and a provision of a by-law passed by a municipality relating to these breeds, the provision that is more restrictive in relation to controls or bans on these breeds prevails.
Recognizing a Guide Dog, Service Dog and/or Service Animal
If it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the customer for reasons relating to his or her disability, CHF Canada may request verification from the customer. Verification may include:
- a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
- a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or,
- a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.
Care and Control of the Animal:
The customer that is accompanied by a guide dog, service dog and/or service animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all time.
If a health and safety concern presents itself for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, CHF Canada will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.
If a customer with a disability is accompanied by a support person, CHF Canada 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.
There may be times where seating and availability prevent the customer and support person from sitting beside each other. In these situations CHF Canada will make every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.
In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the customer, prior to any conversation where confidential information might be discussed.
If payment is required by a support person for admission to the premises CHF Canada will ensure that notice is given in advance by posting notice of admission fees for support persons where CHF Canada fees are posted.
Notice of Disruptions in Service
Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of CHF Canada. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that customers with disabilities rely on to access or use CHF Canada’s goods or services, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice. In some circumstances such as in the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible.
Notifications will Include:
In the event that a notification needs to be posted the following information will be included unless it is not readily available or known:
- goods or services that are disrupted or unavailable
- reason for the disruption
- anticipated duration
- a description of alternative services or options
When disruptions occur CHF Canada will provide notice by:
- posting notices in conspicuous places including at the point of disruption, at the main entrance and the nearest accessible entrance to the service disruption and/or on the CHF Canada website;
- contacting customers with appointments;
- verbally notifying customers when they are making a reservation or appointment; or
- by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.
CHF Canada shall provide customers with the opportunity to provide feedback on the service provided to customers with disabilities. Feedback forms along with alternate methods of providing feedback such as verbally (in person or by telephone) or written (hand written, delivered, website or email), will be available upon request.
Customers can submit feedback to:
Suite 311, 225 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2 P1P9
Customers that provide formal feedback will receive acknowledgement of their feedback, along with any resulting actions based on concerns or complaints that were submitted.
Training will be provided to:
- all employees, volunteers, agents and/or contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of CHF Canada; for example: salespersons, drivers, vendors, event operators, call centers and third party marketing agents; and,
- those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
Regardless of the format, training will cover the following:
- A review of the purpose of the accessibility act
- A review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
- 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 (including the handling of admission fees).
- Instructions on how to use equipment or devices that are available at our premises or that we provide that may help people with disabilities.
- Instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing your services.
- CHF Canada’s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to providing accessible customer service to customers with disabilities.
CHF Canada 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 during orientation sessions, or the first appropriate opportunity thereafter. Revised training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures and/or practices.
Record of Training:
CHF Canada will keep a record of training that includes the dates training was provided and the number of employees who attended the training.
Notice of Availability and Format of Documents
CHF Canada 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 CHF Canada, the CHF Canada’s website and/or any other reasonable method.
If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or its related procedures please contact:
Director, Finance and Corporate Services
Suite 311, 225 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P0
This policy and its related procedures will be reviewed as required in the event of legislative changes.