Accessibility

Purpose and Background Information

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“the AODA”) is a Provincial Act with the purpose of developing, implementing and mandating accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities, with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises. Under the AODA, Ontario Regulation 429/07, entitled “Accessibility Standards for Customer Service” (“the Regulation”), came into force on January 1, 2008. The Regulation establishes accessibility standards specific to customer service for public sector organizations and other persons or organizations that provide goods and services to members of the public or other third parties.

The objective of this policy is to identify what the equal treatment provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, through the AODA and the Regulation, require as a minimum legal standard in program design and service delivery to persons with disabilities and addresses the following:

  • The provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities;
  • The use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities;
  • The use of service animals by persons with disabilities;
  • The use of support persons by persons with disabilities;
  • Notice of temporary disruptions in service and facilities;
  • Training;
  • Customer feedback regarding the provisions of goods and services to persons with disabilities;
  • Notice of availability and format of documents.

Scope

This policy applies to all employees, agents, directors, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company’s behalf.

Policy Statement – Our Commitment

In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, Ontario Regulation 429/07, North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same 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 customers.

General Principles
The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities

North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company will strive to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the core principles in the AODA.

  • Dignity
    Goods and services are provided in a manner that is respectful to persons with a disability and does not diminish the person’s importance.
  • Independence
    Accommodating a person’s disability means respecting their right to do for themselves and to choose the way they wish to receive goods and services.
  • Integration
    Persons with disabilities can access all goods and services. This may require alternative formats and flexible approaches. It means inclusiveness and full participation. This is a fundamental human right.
  • Equal Opportunity
    Service is provided to persons with disabilities in a way that their opportunity to access goods and services is equal to that given to others.

Components of the Policy

  • Communication
    We communicate with people with disabilities in a way that take into account their disability. We train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
  • Telephone Services
    We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our customers. We train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in a clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
  • Assistive Devices
    We are committed to servicing people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. We ensure that our staff is trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.
  • Billing
    We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our customers. Invoices will be provided in alternative format upon request. We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or email.
  • Use of Service Animals and Support Persons
    We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will also ensure that all our staff, agents, directors, 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.
    We are 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 North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company’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 our premises.
  • Notice of Temporary Disruption
    North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company provides customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

Procedure

  • Training
    North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company provides training to all employees, agents, directors, volunteers and others who deal with the public or third parties on our behalf. Training is developed and delivered in various formats to all. Training will include the following: the purpose of the AODA; 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 support person; how to learn about the use of various assistive devices; what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company’s goods and services; North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.
    Applicable staff, agents, directors will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff, agents and directors will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.
  • Feedback Process
    The ultimate goal of North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated. A customer Feedback Form is available here. You may also email your personal feedback to info@northblenheim.com. All feedback will be directed to the President of North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company. Customers can expect to hear back within ten business days.
  • Modifications to This or Other Policies
    We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. All North Blenheim Mutual Insurance policies and procedures will be developed or updated in such a manner as to respect and promote the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

Definitions

  • Accessible
    Means obtainable, usable, readable, audible, visible, understandable, clear, able to be entered and exited, flexible, etc. To be accessible to all people, a variety of accessibility plans are necessary. Ensuring inclusive practices will ensure that all goods and services can be accessed by a larger audience.
  • Alternative Formats
    Refers to alternative ways to provide goods and services. This may be through forms o0f communication such as speech or writing, or methods such as in person or over the phone. Other examples are large print, electronic text (word or html), Braille, sign language interpretation, communication devices, media caption, etc.
  • Assistive Devices
    Are equipment that people with disabilities utilize to assist in their daily lives at home, work, school, etc. Such devices could be a walker, scooter, cane, magnification or specialized learning software, communication board, etc.
  • Assistive Technology
    Is equipment or software such as screen reading, audio recording and voice recognition which people with disabilities use to obtain information and communicate with others.
  • Customer
    Is the term used in the AODA Legislation to describe patrons, stakeholders or anyone in receipt of goods and services.
  • Disability
    Under the AODA, the definition of “disability” is the same as the definition 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;
    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.
  • Employee
    Refers to any of North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company’s staff, agents or directors.
  • Premises
    Are any buildings and/or land owned, leased, operated, controlled or supervised by North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Service Animal
    The Regulation defines a “service animal” as an “animal for a person with a disability.” In this policy, a service animal is any animal used by a person with a disability for reasons relating to the disability or where the person provides a letter from a physician confirming that they require the animal for reasons relating to their disability; or where the person provides a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada or a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.
  • Support Person
    Is someone who accompanies a person with a disability in order to assist them. Their assistance may include, but is not limited to, communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.
  • Volunteer
    Is a person who provides services to North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company for which they are not being paid.
  • Working Days
    Are Mondays to Fridays, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, statutory holidays and any other office shutdowns observed by North Blenheim Mutual Insurance Company.