Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Statement of Committment
Client Access to this Policy and Related Documents
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) became law in 2005. It is intended to implement and enforce mandatory accessibility standards in Ontario, with the goal of increasing access to services for individuals with disabilities. Under the AODA, the Ontario government created mandatory standards in five (5) key areas:
- Customer Service
- Information and Communications
- Built Environment
The purpose of this Policy is to establish how Heenan Blaikie will provide accessible services to the public and other third parties who do business with Heenan Blaikie (collectively our “Clients”) in a manner that is consistent and compliant with Ontario Regulation 429/07 (“Customer Service Standard”) under the AODA.
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Statement of Commitment
Heenan Blaikie recognizes the importance of:
- Providing services that respect the independence, dignity, integration and equal opportunity of Clients with disabilities;
- Providing equal access to services for Clients with disabilities;
- Openly communicating and responding to Clients with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their needs; and
- Complying with the mandatory Customer Service standard addressed under the AODA.
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Lawyers, Students, and Staff will communicate with Clients with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their disabilities and, where possible, they will ask the Client how to best communicate with him or her.
Assistive devices that may be used by individuals with disabilities will be welcome on Heenan Blaikie premises open to Clients, including but not limited to canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, oxygen tanks, screen readers, listening devices, speech amplification devices, magnification devices, note-taking devices, and communication boards. Heenan Blaikie will take steps to ensure that Lawyers, Students, and Staff are familiar with such assistive devices.
Heenan Blaikie welcomes guide dogs or other animals that serve Clients with disabilities in those areas of Heenan Blaikie’s premises that are open to Clients. Heenan Blaikie will permit the Client to keep the service animal with him or her, except for those animals that are otherwise excluded by law from the premises. In the event that a service animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises, Heenan Blaikie will provide the Client with an alternative method of obtaining, using or benefiting from its services.
Heenan Blaikie welcomes persons who support Clients with disabilities to accompany them onto Heenan Blaikie’s premises open to Clients. Such support persons need not be paid, professional, support workers. They may be volunteers, family members or friends who provide support to the Client with a disability (“Support Persons”). Heenan Blaikie will ensure that Clients with disabilities have access to their Support Persons while on the premises.
Support Persons will be asked to follow the rules or requirements that are specific to the services provided by Heenan Blaikie. Heenan Blaikie will seek the consent of the Client with a disability before confidential information is discussed in front of the Support Persons. In some instances, Support Persons may be asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.
Temporary Unavailability of Access to Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Heenan Blaikie will provide notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by Clients 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.The notice will be placed at the Reception Desk in the main entrance of the firm and on the Heenan Blaikie website.
All Lawyers, Students and Staff who interact with Clients on Heenan Blaikie’s behalf or who are involved in developing Heenan Blaikie’s policies, practice and procedures on the provision of services will:
- Be provided with an overview of the AODA and the Customer Service Standard;
- Be trained how to interact, communicate and assist people with disabilities, and in particular, people with assistive devices, including the on-site equipment and assistive devices provided by Heenan Blaikie to assist with the provision of services, and those who require the assistance of a guide dog, service animal or support person;
- Be made aware of the policies and procedures created by Heenan Blaikie in accordance with the Customer Service Standard; and
- Be trained how to help a person with a disability who is having difficulty accessing Heenan Blaikie’s services.
This training will also be provided on an ongoing basis as soon as practicable:
- To Lawyers, Students, and Staff who, after January 1, 2012 are assigned duties that include interaction with Clients on Heenan Blaikie’s behalf or who are involved in developing Heenan Blaikie’s policies, practices and procedures on the provision of services; and
- Whenever Heenan Blaikie’s policies change with respect to customer service accessibility for Clients with disabilities, to all Lawyers, Students, and Staff who interact with Clients on Heenan Blaikie’s behalf or who are involved in developing Heenan Blaikie’s policies, practices and procedures on the provision of services.
Heenan Blaikie will keep a log of all of the training it will provide, documenting who was trained, on what, and when.
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Client Access to This Policy and Related Documents
A notice advising Clients how they can request a copy of this Policy and all related documents will be posted on the Heenan Blaikie website and at the entrance to its premises. Clients with disabilities who request a copy of this Policy will be provided it in a format that takes into account their needs.
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Heenan Blaikie invites feedback on the way that it provides services to Clients with disabilities. Those who wish to provide such feedback are encouraged to do so through the Accessibility Feedback Form or by any of the following methods:
- In person;
- By telephone;
- In writing; or
- By delivering an electronic text by email, on diskette or otherwise.
|All feedback should be directed to: || |
Human Resources Director
Heenan Blaikie LLP
333 Bay Street, Suite 2900
P.O. Box 2900
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 2T4
Heenan Blaikie LLP
55 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 6L5
Any feedback that is in the nature of a complaint will be addressed immediately where possible. Some feedback may, however, require more time to address and may need to be reviewed before a response is possible. Should a complaint be deemed appropriate to supply a response, or should the person providing the feedback request a response and has supplied his/her contact information, Heenan Blaikie will provide a response within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. generally no more than 15 days). The response will be in the same format in which the feedback was received whenever reasonably possible, unless the feedback requests otherwise, and will be delivered in a manner that considers any disability.
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