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accessibilityNew legislation took effect January 1, 2010 in Ontario regulating how public bodies provide customer service to people with disabilities, part of a broader push to have the province be completely accessible by 2025.

The new Customer Service Regulation (Ontario Regulation 429/07) requires all provincial agencies furnishing goods or services to the public to ensure that they generally do so on an integrated and equal basis for people with disabilities, that they permit – with some exceptions – service animals and support people on their premises, and that they have policies and training in place to guarantee as much.  The measures were implemented under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Public bodies ranging from municipalities, hospitals, universities and school boards to the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Ontario Securities Commission (see schedule 1 of 429/07) must instruct their staff on how to “interact and communicate with persons with various types of disability” and how to use any special equipment to do so, which could include a telecommunication device for the deaf (TTD), for example.

The Customer Service standards are the first of several accessibility standards that the province is aiming to implement. Others, which are in various stages of development, deal with employment, the environment and access to information and communications. The government’s stated goal is to make Ontario barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025.

Township of Wainfleet Council adopted its Accessible Customer Service Policy in 2009.

Please visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services for more information.