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Accessibility Policy

(Customer Service Policy for the Provision of Services to People with Disabilities http://www.aoda.ca/the-act)

Purpose

In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, Ontario Regulation 429/07 (Customer Service Standard) and corresponding regulations, which address the historical disadvantage suffered by persons with disabilities due to discrimination, SB Partners has developed policies, practices and procedures for the provision of services to people with disabilities. The purpose of these policies and procedures is to benefit all Canadians by:

  • developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for people with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises; and
  • providing for the involvement of persons with disabilities, of provincial governments and of representatives of industries and of various sectors of the economy in the development of the accessibility standards

Our Commitment

SB Partners strives to provide our services in a manner that is accessible to all of our clients, and respects the dignity, independence, and integration of people with disabilities. We are committed to offering equal opportunity to access our services and to providing the benefit of the same services, in the same or agreed upon alternate place and in a similar way to all clients.

Accessibility Training

In order to promote building an inclusive and accessible environment to best serve all of our clients, SB Partners and their team shall be trained on:

  1. The purpose of accessibility legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and requirements of regulations relating to customer service standards.
  2. How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disability.
  3. How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a guide dog or other service animal or the assistance of a support person.
  4. What to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty accessing SB Partners services.

This training is mandatory for all SB Partners team members and must be completed within the first three (3) months of joining SB Partners. SB Partners shall notify Partners and team members if there are any changes to policies, practices and procedures governing SB Partner’s provision of goods and services to clients, and shall assess the need to update our training on an ongoing basis.

SB Partners will also train Partners and team members to be familiar with any equipment or assistive devices that may be available at our offices, which may help with the provision of our services to persons with disabilities.

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

SB Partners is committed to excellence in serving all clients including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

Communication

We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We are flexible in our approaches.

All team members must consider how people with various disabilities communicate and tailor their approaches to dealing with clients appropriately. The simplest and most effective technique is to ask clients how we can best communicate with them. If a particular method is unavailable, work expeditiously with the client to find an acceptable alternative.

We must always ask ourselves how we can make our communications more accessible. Every situation is different and depends on the individual’s needs. Options include:

  • Make the original communication more accessible by using techniques like plain language writing during the planning process; or
  • Change the usual method of communication to meet the client’s needs;

Telephone Services

We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our clients. Team members are expected to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly, wherever necessary. We will offer to communicate with clients by any other appropriate means of communication if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs.

Assistive Devices

An assistive device is any piece of equipment a person with a disability uses to help them with their daily living. Some examples include: a wheelchair, screen reader, listening device or cane. We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services.

SB Partners team members shall wherever possible accommodate clients who use assistive devices in connection with their disability. SB Partners personnel must ensure that they are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities, including any assistive devices available while accessing our services.

To ensure familiarity, team members need to consider how they will address the use of a client’s assistive device. The best practice is to ask the client on the appropriate and inappropriate ways of interacting with them and their assistive devices.

Billing

We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our clients. For this reason, invoices shall be provided in alternate formats (including but not limited to hard copy, large print or e-mail) upon request.

We will answer any questions clients may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or email.

Use of Service Animals and Support Persons

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal (of any type) in our office that are open to the public and other third parties. Before meeting with a client who uses a service animal, we should:

  • identify the few areas of our office not open to service animals (e.g. the kitchen); and
  • ask the client about the appropriate ways to interact with them and their service animals (e.g. never touch or distract a guide dog without permission).

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Support people do not have to be a paid support worker but could be any family member or friend that helps a client perform daily tasks. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person shall be allowed to enter SB Partner’s premises with his or her support person. At no time shall a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.

Notice of Temporary Disruption

SB Partners shall provide clients with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.

This notice must include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice shall be placed at entrance doors to our office, at reception and will be posted on our website. As well a message will also be placed on our phone/voicemail system.

Privacy

All information about a disability is personal and private and must be treated confidentially.

Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of SB Partners is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving clients with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well these expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way SB Partners provides services to people with disabilities may be made by any reasonable medium. Please contact SB Partners at 905 632 5978. All feedback shall be directed to SB Partner’s Compliance Officer who will respond within 15 days.

Difficulty Accessing Services

If a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our services, ask the person how she/he can be accommodated and what alternative methods of service would be more accessible.

Questions About This Policy

If anyone has a question about our policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, please contact our HR Manager, Karen Sherratt at 905 633 6320 or ksherratt@sbpartners.ca or write to

SB Partners Chartered Professional Accountants

Suite 301 3600 Billings Court

Burlington, ON L7N 3N6

Copies of this policy and related documents, including information on SB Partners compliance with accessibility legislation, are available upon request.