Customer Service Policy

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

Purpose

To ensure all Family Counselling Centre of Brant programs and services are accessible to everyone in the community in accordance with Customer Service Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Policy Overview

These policies and procedures apply to all goods and services that are delivered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant, by any means including in person, by telephone, electronically, by mail, visually, orally or by written means.

This policy applies to all Family Counselling Centre of Brant staff, contract workers, volunteers and third parties who deal with the public, on behalf of the Family Counselling Centre of Brant.

Our Mission Statement

To promote the well being and social inclusion of individuals and families through counselling, support, education and advocacy.

Vision

  • Empowered Individuals
  • Stronger Families
  • A More Vibrant Community

Values

  • We believe in courtesy, respect and dignity
  • We focus on people’s strengths and capabilities
  • We strive to meet the unique needs of the people we serve
  • We strive to overcome the barriers, injustices and inequities faced by the people we serve
  • We recognize and embrace the diverse and evolving needs of the community
  • We believe in partnership with our community
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Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, Family Counselling Centre of Brant strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Family Counselling Centre of Brant is also committed to giving people with disabilities equal opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients.  Family Counselling Centre of Brant will promote accessibility through the development of policies, procedures and practices and by ensuring the needs and requirements of people with disabilities are considered.

Principles

Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the following:

  • That goods and services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.
  • Persons with disabilities will be given equal opportunity (as those given to others) to obtain, use and benefit from goods and services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant.
  • The provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities, and others, will be integrated unless alternate measures are required, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use and benefit from the goods and services provided by Family Counselling Centre of Brant.

Key Practices

Procedures adhered to by Family Counselling Centre of Brant will strive to reflect or achieve the following:

  • Provide full access to the goods and services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant to persons with disabilities.
  • Communication (verbal, written, electronic etc.) will be considered, in a manner that takes into account a person’s disability.
  • Family Counselling Centre of Brant will allow persons with disabilities to use their own personal assistive devices to obtain, use and/or benefit from the goods and services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant.
  • Persons with disabilities accompanied by a guide dog or service animal will be permitted in those areas of the premises owned and operated by Family Counselling Centre of Brant that are open to the public or other third parties.
  • Persons with disabilities accompanied by a support person will be permitted to be accompanied by that support person in premises open to the public or other third parties.
  • Notice will be provided when facilities or services that people with disabilities may rely on to access the goods and services of Family Counselling Centre of Brant services are temporarily disrupted.
  • Staff will receive appropriate training.
  • Family Counselling Centre of Brant will establish a feedback process to allow people to provide feedback on how they are providing services to persons with disabilities.
  • Access to required documents will be given upon request in various formats.

Definitions

The following definitions will be found throughout this policy:

Alternate Format – Any other ways of publishing information beyond traditional printing (i.e. large print, electronically).

Assistive Devices – An auxiliary aid such as communication aids, cognition aids, personal mobility aids (i.e. canes, crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids etc.).

Customers/Clients – Any person who receives goods and services provided by Family Counselling Centre of Brant.

Disabilities – The same as the definition of disability found in the Ontario Human Rights Code:

  1. 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,
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  3. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  4. a mental disorder, or
  5. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

Employees – Every person who deals with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of Family Counselling Centre of Brant, whether the person does so as an employee, agent, volunteer or otherwise.

Persons with Disabilities – Individuals who have a disability as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code (see above).

Service Animals – A “guide dog” as defined in section 1 of the Blind Persons Rights’ Act; or any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.

Support Persons – Any person, whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member or friend, who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communications, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Provision of Goods and Services

Family Counselling Centre of Brant is committed to excellence in serving all clients including persons with disabilities and will carry out its functions and responsibilities to ensure that policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:

  1. Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  2. The provision of Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s goods and services to persons with disabilities is integrated with those provided to persons who do not have disabilities unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s goods or services;
  3. Persons with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that of persons without disabilities to obtain use or benefit from Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s goods and services.
  4. Family Counselling Centre of Brant will take into account individual needs when providing goods and services.
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Specific Policies, Practices and Procedures

  1. In the event that a client with a disability is being assisted by a support person and requires the use of the washroom, they will be directed to the larger accessible washroom on the bottom floor of the building (accessible via the elevator).
  2. Clients with mobility disabilities will be assisted by staff up the front ramp, if assistance is requested.
  3. Clients with disabilities will be assisted with the door to the top floor washroom, if assistance is requested.
  4. In the circumstance that a client with a disability is unable to come into the building to access the goods and/or services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant, staff will meet with that client in an appropriate location of their choosing, within reason.

Communication

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will communicate with clients in a way that takes into account the client’s disability.

  1. Family Counselling Centre of Brant staff will be trained in how to interact and communicate with clients with disabilities guided by the principles of dignity, independence and equality;
  2. Clients with disabilities will be offered alternate communication formats that will meet the needs of the customer as promptly as feasible (i.e. ASL interpretation may be available onsite if requested with 7 days notice);
  3. Documents will be provided to clients in an alternate format (i.e. large font, electronic) that will meet the needs of the clients in a timely fashion or if not available, alternative arrangements will be made, and
  4. If telephone communication is not suitable for client’s needs, alternate forms of communication will be offered as required (i.e. email, written).

Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to obtain, use or benefit from goods or services offered by Family Counselling Centre of Brant through the use of their own assistive devices.

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will ensure that their staff is trained and familiar with the location of and use of various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing their goods or services.  These assistive devices include the following:

  • Accessible Parking Spots (2 in front of building)
  • Accessible Door Openers (front and back doors)
  • Accessible Washrooms (1 on top floor, 2 on bottom floor)
  • Elevator
  • Wheelchair located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Walker located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Adult change table located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Visual Fire Alarm System

Service Animals

For the purpose of this policy, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability:

  1. If it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for the reasons relating to the disability; or
  2. If the person provides a letter form a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animals for reasons relating to the disability.

Service Animals must be

  • In the direct care of the handler at all times.
  • Handlers of the service animal will ensure the safety and wellbeing of other patrons and customers of Family Counselling Centre of Brant as well as all staff and third parties.
  • In the event that the presence of the service animal presents a problem for staff and/or other patrons of Family Counselling Centre of Brant, the handler will work with staff to explore alternatives to accommodate the needs of all parties involved, to the greatest extent possible.

Special Circumstances

  • If a health and safety concern presents itself in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, Family Counselling Centre of Brant will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals by keeping the service animal and person with the allergies in separate parts of the building or by meeting offsite.
  • If a client with a disability who is accompanied a service animal is attending any sessions taking place within the kitchen area of Family Counselling Centre of Brant, the client’s permission will be requested to leave the service animal in a safe and secure location and a staff member will act as a guide to the individual to attend the session without their service animal.  (Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001)

Family Counselling Centre of Brant is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of their premises that are open to the public and other third parties, unless otherwise excluded by law.  They 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.

Support Persons

Family Counselling Centre of Brant is 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 Family Counselling Centre of Brant’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 the premises. Any activities that take place on FCCB premises are free for all support persons.  However, our clients do periodically go offsite for activities which are run by other corporations and there may be fees charged for support persons at these activities.”

Due to the confidential nature of many of the conversations between staff and clients at Family Counselling Centre of Brant, consent from the client with a disability as well as signing of a confidentiality agreement by the support person, will have to take place before any confidential conversations occur.  Clients also have the choice to have their support person remain in the room with them throughout their sessions or not.

If the health and safety of staff or clients of Family Counselling Centre of Brant are at risk due to the actions of another client who has a disability, a support person may be requested to assist with that client.  The assessment of the risk will be based on the individual’s actual characteristics, not merely on generalizations, misperceptions, ignorance or fears about a disability.

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Disruption of Service

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will provide clients with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities.  These facilities and services include (but are not limited to):

  • Accessible Parking Spots (2 in front of building)
  • Accessible Door Openers (front and back doors)
  • Accessible Washrooms (1 on top floor, 2 on bottom floor)
  • Elevator
  • Wheelchair located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Walker located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Adult change table located in larger accessible washroom (bottom floor)
  • Visual Fire Alarm System

This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

Notice of the disruption will given by:

  • Posting the information at a conspicuous place on the premises of Family Counselling Centre of Brant (including the location of the disruption)
  • Verbally notifying customers when they are booking an appointment
  • Contacting affected customers who have appointments booked during the time period of expected disruption
  • Leaving a notice on the voicemail message.

Training

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will provide Accessible Customer Service and Disability Awareness 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 a condition of employment to all new staff and on an ongoing basis for staff to ensure all staff stays current with any policy or procedural changes as it relates to the Customer Service Standard.

The training will include:

  • 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 assistive devices/services available on the premises that may assist with the provision of goods or services to people with disabilities
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing goods and services at Family Counselling Centre of Brant
  • Current policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard

Training will take place in one of the following formats:

  1. Face to face classroom instruction
  2. Online E-Learning Module
  3. Required Reading of Training Materials

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will keep a record of all staff that undergoes training including the number of staff who receives the training and the date the training took place.

Feedback

The ultimate goal of Family Counselling Centre of Brant is to meet the needs of clients, while paying attention to the unique requirements of clients with disabilities. Comments on services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback may be given in the following formats:

  1. Verbally; in person or on the phone
  2. Electronically via email or via website
  3. In writing via feedback form located at front desk or written mail.

Feedback in person, by telephone, via written mail or through email should be directed to:

Charlene Embling
Manager of Administration Services
Family Counselling Centre of Brant
54 Brant Avenue
Brantford, Ontario
N3T 3G8

Phone: 519 753 4173 Ext. 331
Email: cembling@fccb.ca

Feedback will be used to improve customer service. In addition, the author of the feedback will be provided with a response in the format in which the feedback was received within 7 days (if contact information is provided). The feedback may outline actions deemed appropriate, if any.

Policy Updates

Family Counselling Centre of Brant develops and updates policies, procedures and practices in such a manner as to respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities, as well as integration and equality of opportunity. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any policy of Family Counselling Centre of Brant that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Documentation Requirements

Family Counselling Centre of Brant will notify customers, by posting a notice in a conspicuous place, that all documents relating to the Customer Service Regulation 429/07 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 are available upon request.  Family Counselling Centre of Brant will provide policy and procedure documents in an alternate format upon request, within 7 days. Alternate formats will include availability on Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s web-site, large print versions of the document and a text only electronic file (word document).

Reporting Requirements

As is required under the Customer Service Regulation, Family Counselling Centre of Brant will complete the Compliancy Reporting annually through the Accessibility Compliance Reporting System (ACR) using the Service Ontario One-Key System.

Questions About This Policy

This policy exists to achieve service excellence to clients with disabilities. Questions about this policy can be directed to:

Charlene Embling
Coordinator of Administration Services
Family Counselling Centre of Brant
54 Brant Avenue
Brantford, Ontario
N3T 3G8

Phone: 519 753 4173 Ext. 331
Email: cembling@fccb.ca

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