The Customer Service Standards Takes Effect on January 1, 2012 - Is Your Business Ready?
The customer service standard applies to all organizations, both public and private, that provide goods or services either directly to the public or to other organizations in Ontario (third parties) and that have one or more employees in Ontario.
The legislation is meant to ensure that businesses are accessible and open to all customers, including people with disabilities. The legislation assists you to become more accessible by removing and preventing barriers in your business. There are six key areas that the legislation requires businesses to consider and develop policies and practices. They include:
- Communicating with people with disabilities
- Training employees
- Policies regarding Service Animals
- Policies regarding Support Persons
- Temporary Disruptions in service or facilities
- Systems for receiving feedback from your customers with disabilities
Persons with disabilities represent 25 billion in spending power in Canada. Implementation of the customer service standard is mandatory, but it makes good business sense to make your business accessible to potential customers with that kind of spending power.
Under the AODA, the government has the authority to conduct inspection to ensure compliance. Organization that are persistently non-compliant and have not returned to compliance with assistance efforts could be fined as high as $50,000 per day for individuals and $100,000 per day for corporations.
How can we help you get ready for the new standard?
As part of this resource we have included a seven page Customer Service Standard Guide for Employers to support you in preparation for compliance on January 1, 2012.
This quick easy to use guide contains:
- The requirement for compliance
- A customer service policy – example template that you can use or customize for your business
- A summary of what training must be provided for staff or other people who interact with the public or third parties on behalf of your organization
- Sample documents for notifying the public about disruptions in service and the feedback process.
Still have more questions regarding this standard?
Check out our frequently asked questions (FQA) for the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service
The website, ‘Access ON ’ is available to help businesses attract more customers of all abilities. The site offers up-to-date information on the standards, tips on no-cost and low-cost solutions to make your business more accessible today, as well as some tools and resources to make compliance easier. You can find it at:
Just the Beginning
The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service is the first of five standards being developed under the AODA. The standards for employment, information and communications and transportation have been harmonized into the Integrated Acessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), which came into effect on July 1, 2011. Information on the IASR can be found at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/other_standards/index.aspx.
The standard for the built environment is still under consideration, and not yet law.
1.85 million, or one out of seven, people in Ontario have a disability. That number will grow to one in five by the year 2025. These measures also serve the growing population of seniors. By 2017 there will be more seniors than kids aged 0 to 14. It's a market that no business "big or small" can afford to overlook.