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OTLA Customer Service Policy Statement

Providing Goods and Services to Members with Disabilities


1. Our Mission:

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.

2. Our Commitment:

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.

3. Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities:

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 servicing 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 are committed to providing 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.

4. 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 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 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 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. Customers will be informed of this by a notice that will be posted on the OTLA website.

5. Notice of Temporary Disruption

OTLA will provide 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.

The notice will be placed at all public entrances and services counters at the premises and on our website.

6. Training of Staff

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:

- Executive Director/CEO
- Director of Public Relations
- Director of Education & Events
- Director of Finance and Administration
- Member Services Coordinator
- Communications Specialist
- Membership and Marketing Assistant
- Administrative Assistant

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 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.

7. Feedback Process

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 Executive Director/CEO. Customers can expect to hear back in five (5) business days.

8. Modifications to This or Other Policies

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.

9. Questions about This Policy

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, Executive Director/CEO of OTLA.

Dated: November, 2011

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