Understanding the accessibility for ontarians with disabilities act
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Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The “New” Customer Service Standard. Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service Introducing the AODA - Purposes of AODA. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 AODA (“the act”)

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Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

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Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

The “New” Customer Service Standard

Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Introducing the AODA - Purposes of AODA

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 AODA (“the act”)

  • In this training we will discuss:

  • Regulations

  • Standards to be met in key areas of:

    • Goods

    • Services

    • Facilities

    • Accommodations

    • Employment

    • Buildings

    • Structures

    • Premises

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service

The standard : Making customer service accessible for people with disabilities

What else is covered in the training?

  • Purpose of the act

  • Requirements of the customer service standard

  • Serving customers with disabilities

  • Service animals

  • Support persons

  • Assistive devices

  • If there are difficulties accessing your services

Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Purposes of AODA

  • What does this change mean?

  • More opportunities for all Ontarians

  • Greater contributions from and involvement of people with disabilities

  • Preparing for the future……moving forward!!

Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service


(1) The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was passed in what year?





(2) The vision behind the AODA is to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities by 2025.



Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Who Must Comply

  • Summary of Requirements

  • Policies, practices, and procedures

  • Key principles: * Independence

    • * Dignity

    • * Integration

    • * Equality of opportunity

  • Assistive devices

  • Communication

  • Service animals

  • Support persons

  • Admission for support persons

  • Service disruptions

  • Train staff

  • Feedback

Interacting with Persons with Disabilities - General Tips for Serving Customers with Disabilities

  • "May I help you?" Your customers with disabilities know if they need help and how you can provide it.

  • Speak directly to your customer.

  • Not everybody with the same disability experiences the same things. Don’t make assumptions. Your customers are not required to tell you about their disabilities.

  • Take the time to get to know your customer’s needs and focus on meeting those needs just like you would with any other customer. Some disabilities are not visible.

  • All customers have a range of needs and preferences and so do your customers with disabilities.

  • If you can’t understand what your customer is saying, politely ask him or her to repeat it.

  • You may want to ask if the information you are conveying needs to be repeated. Ask: “Do you understand this?”

  • Exercise patience.

Here’s how……………………………………….

RESPECT……. The key to Customer Service

Take the time to ask, “May I Help you?”

Ask, don’t assume. Never assist unless asked

Listen attentively and speak directly to the customer

Know the accommodations and special services that are available

Language and Terminology

The language we use in relation to persons with disabilities can be a delicate issue. The table below provides some do’s and don'ts to assist us with vocabulary that may be used as an alternative

Language and Terminology continued…..

Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Introduction

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing

  • Attract the customer’s attention before speaking. For example, a wave of your hand.

  • Don’t shout….this may distort what you are trying to say or make the person feel uncomfortable

  • Make sure you are in a well-lit area where your customer can see your face.

  • If the person uses a hearing aid, reduce background noise or move to a quieter area.

  • Maintain eye contact with the client. Speak directly to him/her ensuring you are at eye level wherever possible

  • Do not assume that raising your voice is the way to be heard! This may bring embarrassing and unnecessary attention to the client and yourself.

  • It is important to remember that people who do not hear are not mute

  • if all else fails, draw clearly using stick figures

  • Above all. Remember, your efforts are truly appreciated!

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Deaf blind

  • Speak directly to your customer, not to the intervener.

  • Do not raise your voice

  • look directly at the client and maintain eye-level contact

  • Identify yourself to the intervener when you approach your customer who is deaf blind.

  • A customer who is deaf blind is likely to explain to you how to communicate with them.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities

  • Don’t assume what a person can or cannot do.

  • Speak evenly, clearly and in short phrases

  • Use plain language.

  • Do not hesitate to patientlyask the person to repeat what was said.

  • Listen carefully for keywords.

  • Make sure your customer understands what you’ve said. You can be direct and ask: “Have I explained this clearly?”

  • Provide one piece of information at a time. You can break down the information into simpler concepts, without exaggerating speech or gestures or being patronizing.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Mental Health Disabilities

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Learning Disabilities

  • Take some time — people with some kinds of learning disabilities may take a little longer to process, understand and respond.

  • Provide information in a way that works for your customer. For example, keep a pen and paper handy. That way, you can explain, and then review and repeat the information using any additional notes.

  • Be prepared to explain any materials you provide for your customers.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Physical or Disabilities affecting mobility

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Speech or Language Impairments

  • Customers with speech or language impairments

  • Don’t assume that just because a person has this disability, they also have another.

  • Give your customer whatever time they need to get their point across.

  • Ask questions that can be answered “yes” or “no,” if possible.

  • Don’t interrupt or finish your customer’s sentences. Wait for them to finish.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Customers with Vision loss

  • Serving Customers with Vision Loss

  • Don't assume the individual can't see you.

  • Identify yourself when you approach your customer and speak directly to him or her.

  • Offer your elbow to guide the person. If they accept, walk slowly, but wait for permission before doing so.

  • Identify landmarks or other details to orient your customer to the environment around them.

  • If you’re giving directions or providing any information, be precise and descriptive. For example, if you’re approaching a door or an obstacle, say so.

  • Don't leave your customer in the middle of a room. Guide them to a chair or a comfortable location. Don't walk away without saying good-bye.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Customers with Service Animals

  • Vision loss

  • Hearing alert animals

  • To alert an individual to an oncoming seizure

  • Helping people with: autism

    • mental health disabilities

    • physical disabilities

    • Other disabilities

  • These service animals are allowed anywhere customers normally have access.

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Customers with Support Persons

  • Personal support worker

  • Volunteer

  • Family member

  • Friend

  • “important”, always speak to the person with the disability unless otherwise noted by that person

  • Remember to keep all questions related to the situation not their disability

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Personal Assistive Devices

  • Assistive devices are part of people’s personal space

  • Respect personal space

  • Know how to operate any assistive devices your organization provides

Serving Customers with Disabilities - Devices that Help People with Disabilities Access Your Services

Summary and Review - Review Questions

(1) When you are dealing with a customer with a disability and are unsure if they need help, you should:

Go ahead and help them – if they don’t like it, they’ll say so.

Ignore them until you have time for them – serve the easiest customers first.

Always serve your customers with disabilities away from other customers.

Wait and see if they really are customers – maybe they’ll change their minds and go someplace else.

Ask “May I help you?”

Summary and Review - Review Questions

(2) Which of the following statements is always true?

Older people are all hard of hearing.

Avoid touching a service animal without permission.

Support people are paid employees of customers with disabilities.

People who are blind cannot see anything.

Summary and Review - Review Questions

(3) Which statement about customers with disabilities is true?

Their disability might affect how they interact with you and it might not.

They all use assistive devices like a wheelchair or a hearing aid.

Their disability affects them with the same severity at all times.

All people with the same disability are affected in the same way.

Summary and Review - Review Questions

4) If you need to communicate by telephone with a customer who is Deaf, orally deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, you can use the Relay Service. The number for the Relay Service is:




A number that has a 416 area code.

Summary and Review - Review Questions

(5) True or False : Canada ’s population is aging, so the number of people with disabilities is likely to increase in the next 20 years.



For more information on Customer Service Training

Serve Ability e-learning training is offered through the AccessON website @


Serve-Ability: Transforming Ontario’s Customer Service

Congratulations……………..you have completed the Quinte West Serve-Ability Training on Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

The “New” Customer Service Standard

A Certificate of Completion will be issued to you.

Your time, effort and commitment is appreciated

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