Providing Goods and Services to Members with Disabilities



The mission of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (“OTLA”) is to fearlessly champion through the pursuit of the highest standards of advocacy the cause of those who have suffered injury or injustice.



In fulfilling our mission, OTLA strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disability.  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.



OTLA is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:


3.1  Communication

We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.


3.2  Telephone Services

We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our customers.  We will train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.

We will offer to communicate with customers by email if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available to them.


3.3  Assistive Devices

We are committed to serve people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services.  We will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.


3.4  Billing

We will provide accessible invoices to all of our customers.  For this reason, invoices will be provided in hard copy and large print formats upon request.

We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone, or email.


3.5  Self Identification
We will ensure that early contact with new members provides them with an opportunity to self-identify any accommodations they may need for our services.

We will ensure that our conference registration form allows members to self-identify any need they may have for accommodating their disability.

We will also add an opportunity for feedback from persons with disabilities to our conference evaluation forms and on our website.



We welcome 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 also ensure that all staff, 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 welcome 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 OTLA’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.


Fees will not be charged for support persons for admission to OTLA’s continuing legal education programs.  Fees will be charged for support persons to attend the Celebration of the Personal Injury Bar dinner and any other like events if the support person is partaking in the dinner.  The fee will be equal to that of all other attendees.



OTLA will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services normally 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.


The notice will be placed at all public entrances and services counters at the premises and on our website. Where possible, we will advise members in advance by email



OTLA will provide training to all employees, volunteers and other who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.  Individuals in the following positions will be trained:

Director of Public Affairs
Director of Membership & Development
Finance and Administration Manager
Public Affairs Specialist
Membership Development Coordinator
Conference & Events Coordinator
Publications & Project Coordinator
Member Services Assistant
Board Members and Committee Volunteers
Sponsors & Exhibitors


Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • 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 a support person
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing OTLA’s goods and services
  • OTLA’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard
  • All staff will be trained on OTLA policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.



The ultimate goal of OTLA 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.


Feedback regarding the way OTLA provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by way of email, verbally, and evaluation forms. All feedback will be directed to the CEO.  Where concerns are identified, customers can expect to hear back from OTLA within 5 business days.



We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote and dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.  Any policy of OTLA that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.



This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities.  If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, an explanation should be provided by or referred to the CEO of OTLA.

Dated: August 2017


Contact us for more information