Accessible Customer Service - Policy

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Accessible Service Provision Policy

This Policy is available in alternate formats upon request.

1. Preamble

The University strives at all times to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. The University is also committed to ensuring that, persons with disabilities receive accessible goods and services of the same quality that others receive. The University is also committed to ensuring that, to the extent possible, accessible goods and services are delivered in a timely manner.

This Policy has been prepared to meet the compliance requirements of the AODA Customer Service Standard and to articulate what people may expect from the University in regard to this standard. It reflects the values of the University of Guelph and those specifically given expression in the University’s Human Rights Policy. The University’s Accessible Service Provision Policy is intended to benefit the full range of persons with disabilities, as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. The University believes that whether a person’s disability is apparent or not, everyone should be treated with courtesy, made to feel welcome, and have their needs respected whenever they interact with a University service. 

This Policy applies in conjunction with and should be read together with other policies that effect the provision of goods and services by faculty and staff members, contractors, volunteers, and others who interact with individuals who wish to obtain, use or benefit from goods and services provided by the University.

2. Assistive devices

The University is committed to serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from its goods and services.

The University will ensure that employees know how to use assistive devices available in providing University goods and services and inform individuals wishing to access University goods and services of the assistive devices that are available. 

3. Use of service animals and support persons

Persons with disabilities may bring their service animal on the parts of University premises that are open to the public or other third parties 1. Service animals are also permitted in residences. The University will ensure that all employees, volunteers and third parties dealing with the public are trained in how to interact with persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

On rare occasions, a service animal may not be permitted to enter an area of the premises consistent with other laws. In these instances, managers will suggest appropriate alternatives and provide assistance.
In conjunction with this policy, managers are encouraged to read Policy 851.01.16 “Animals on Campus”

Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter University premises open to the public or other third parties 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 University premises.

The University will not charge an admission fee for support persons accompanying a person with a disability. This Policy will be posted (1) on the University’s accessibility website  and (2) included in information where admission fees are published.

When support persons are required (e.g., sign language interpreters, real-time captioners, attendants) for University sponsored meetings, consultations or events, University units will work to facilitate payment arrangements for support persons.

4. Communication

The University will communicate with persons with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. This means employees will communicate in a means that enables persons with disabilities to communicate effectively for purposes of using, receiving and requesting University goods, services and facilities. 

The University will train staff who communicate with individuals wishing to access University goods and services on how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.

5. Feedback process

The ultimate goal of this Policy is to meet goods and service delivery expectations while responding to the requests of individuals with disabilities. Comments on how well the University is meeting those expectations are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback about this Policy or its implementation can be submitted:

  • by telephoning the Office of Diversity and Human Rights (DHR) at ext. 53000. TTY users can use the Bell Relay System by calling 711 or 1-800-267-6511;
  • in person at the DHR (15 University Avenue East), Monday-Friday, 8:45 am-4:45 pm; or
  • by mail to the DHR, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, or using campus mail services.

Privacy will be respected and all feedback will be reviewed for possible action that can be taken to improve University services. Feedback received will be redirected to an appropriate contact person in the relevant unit of the University, as appropriate.

Where possible, complaints will be addressed immediately. However, some complaints may require more effort to address, and must be reviewed for action, possibly involving a number of elements within the University. Individuals offering feedback can expect acknowledgement of that feedback within five business days of its receipt. The acknowledgement will indicate how the matter will be addressed and when the individual will be notified of the outcome. The University will follow up on any actions arising from the feedback and the timeframe for implementation will be provided as part of the notification of outcome. Feedback/response will be in a format that is accessible to the complainant. 

6. Notice of temporary disruptions

The University will provide individuals wishing to access its goods and services with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services used by persons with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, how long the disruption is expected to last, and a description of any alternative facilities or services available (where applicable).

The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters of the facility disrupted. Depending on the nature of the disruption, notice will also be provided on email, outgoing telephone messages and on the University’s accessibility website.

This notice will be provided in accessible formats. 

7. Training

The University will provide training about the provision of accessible goods and services to faculty and staff members, contractors, volunteers, and others who interact with people who wish to obtain, use or benefit from goods and services provided by the University. People accessing services include, but are not limited to, students, alumni, retirees, visitors, and employees of the University. Training will also be provided to every person involved in the development of policies, practices and procedures regarding the provision of goods and services.

Training will occur on an ongoing basis and whenever changes are made to relevant policies, practices and procedures. Training will be provided to each person as soon as practicable after he or she is assigned applicable duties.

Resources