Policy: 13-02 Title: Customer Service Policy Statement
Section: Accessibility in the Workplace Version: 3.0


Version Number Date Changed
1.0 May 2011
2.0 February 2014
3.0 May 2014


Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region (WCSWR) is committed to providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

The government of Ontario created the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) with the goal of developing standards that would improve accessibility for people with disabilities across the province.  The AODA allows the Provincial Government to develop specific standards of accessibility and enforce them. The standards are made into regulations pursuant to the AODA.

Ontario Regulation 429/07 – Accessibility Standard for Customer Service first came into force on January 1, 2008. The customer service regulation is the first standard developed under the AODA. The regulation requires all businesses including not for profit agencies, to be in compliance with a number of customer service accessibility standards by January 1, 2012.

  1. Our Mission

 The mission of Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region (WCSWR) is:

“In partnership with our community, Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region empowers women to move beyond violence through the provision of safe shelter, outreach services and community education.”


  1. Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, WCSWR strives to offer its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to use our services and allow them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients.


  1. Providing Services to People with Disabilities

WCSWR is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities, and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:


3.1 Communication

We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

We will train staff who communicate with clients on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.


3.2 Telephone services

We will commit to providing fully accessible telephone service to our clients. We will train staff to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.

We will offer to communicate with clients by e-mail and TTY, if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.

3.3 Assistive devices

We will commit to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services.  Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices as required in accessing our services unless otherwise prohibited by law. We will make sure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing our services.

We will also make sure that staff know how to use the following assistive devices available on our premises for clients:

  • TTY systems
  • Shaker/lighted alarm clock/noise monitoring systems

As an agency we may acquire additional assistive devices. In such an instance our staff will be trained on the usage of these devices as soon as reasonably practicable.

3.4 Other

WCSWR will prepare one or more documents, describing the following, and give them upon request to any person;

  • WCSWR’s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of services for people with disabilities
  • WCSWR’s policies, practices and procedures governing the use of service animals and support persons.
  • The steps WCSWR will take in connection with a temporary disruption of services
  • WCSWR’s process for receiving and responding to feedback on the provision of services for people with disabilities
  • WCSWR’s policies, practices and procedures for the provision of accessible customer service.

When providing a document to a person with a disability, we will offer the document and information contained in the document in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.  We will take reasonable efforts to respond to requests for documents in alternative formats in a timely manner.

WCSWR will also provide notice of availability of all documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service on our website.


  1. Use of Service Animals and Support Persons

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties such as someone completing maintenance in our buildings. We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. We reserve the right to request a letter from a treating physician, nurse or certificate confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability if it is not readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability.

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter WCSWR’s premises with his or her support person. At no time will 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.

Fees will not be charged for support persons providing services to our clients on our premises. Support persons will be asked to sign a waiver of confidentiality and clients will be informed of this by a notice that will be posted in WCSWR’s premises.

         5.  Notice of Temporary Disruption

WCSWR will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises.


  1. Staff Training

WCSWR will provide training to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
This training will be provided as soon as practicable upon an individual being assigned duties involving clients or the public or in the development or approval of such policies, practices and procedures.

Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  • How to use the equipment or devices such as TTY systems, shaker/lighted alarm, clock/noise monitoring systems, elevators, and electronic door entry systems
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing or using WCSWR’s services
  • WCSWR’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.

Applicable staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.

As required by Ontario Regulation 429/07, WCSWR will keep records of the training provided.


  1. Feedback Process

The ultimate goal of WCSWR is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way WCSWR provides services to people with disabilities can be made by telephone, in writing, or by delivering an electronic text by e-mail or on diskette or in person. All feedback will be directed to the Human Resources Specialist. Customers can expect to hear back in 5 business days.


  1. 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.

Any policy of WCSWR that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.


  1. Questions About This Policy

This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by, or referred to, the Human Resources Specialist of WCSWR.