Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Recruitment and Employment Policy

1.0    PHILOSOPHY

As an organization, Alterna supports and upholds the principles and mandatory requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and Regulations to ensure accessibility for its members, clients, employees, and the public it serves.

2.0    SCOPE

This Policy applies to all employees of Alterna Savings who share an obligation to provide Alterna products, services and facilities to persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the requirements set out in the Integrated Accessibility Standards – Ontario Regulation 191/11 (the “Regulations”).

3.0    PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

The purpose of this Policy is to outline Alterna’s responsibilities for providing accessible services to persons with disabilities as set out in the Regulations. This Policy also sets out Alterna’s commitment to ensure that all its employees and other persons who provide Alterna services participate in training in accessible customer service and understand their roles and responsibilities as they relate to the provision of such services.

4.0    DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this Policy, terms are defined as follows:

Alterna” means Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited.

Employee” means all employees, consultants and contractors of Alterna.

Management” and “Managers” mean President & CEO, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers and Supervisors.

The Standard” means the requirements outlined in the Accessibility Standards within the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Assistive device” means any technical aids, communication devices, or medical aids that are used to increase, maintain, or improve how a person with a disability can function.

Support person” means another person who accompanies the person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to services or facilities.

Service animal” means an animal that can be readily identified as one that is being used by the person with a disability for reasons relating to the person’s disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn by the animal, or the person with a disability provides documentation from a prescribed regulated health professional confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

5.0    GOVERNING PRINCIPLES

Alterna is committed to ensuring that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the AODA, related Regulations and the following principles:

  1. That Alterna provides its services and maintains its facilities in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
  2. That Alterna provides equal opportunity for people with disabilities to access, use and benefit from its services with the same quality and timeliness that others receive.
  3. That services to persons with disabilities are integrated with regular services provided to its members/clients, unless alternative ways of providing the service are necessary for equal opportunity.

6.0    ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY

Whether a person’s disability is apparent or not, everyone should be treated with courtesy, made to feel welcome, and have their need for disability-related accommodation respected whenever they access an Alterna service. Accordingly, Alterna management and employees shall:

  • Ensure that communications with members/clients take the accessibility needs of people with disabilities into account;
  • Welcome assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and oxygen tanks in public workspaces and identify any situations where such use may not be permitted;
  • Welcome service animals in public workspaces;
  • Welcome support persons who accompanies a person with a disability upon request;
  • Notify members/clients with disabilities when accessible services we normally provide are disrupted;
  • Inform members/clients of methods available for giving feedback and ensure the methods are accessible to persons with disabilities;
  • Participate in training on Accessible Customer Service and apply that knowledge in the provision of services;
  • Ensure members/clients know where to find Alterna’s Accessibility Plan;
  • Offer publicly available information in accessible formats which may include, but not limited to large print and braille, upon request;
  • Use reasonable efforts to provide requested information in accessible format.

7.0    MARKETING MATERIAL ACCESSIBILITY

In accordance with established procedures and/or practices for the provision of services to persons with disabilities, Alterna ensures that all marketing materials such as product/service brochures, monthly statements and other items, whether print or online, are available in large print format upon request.

Alterna is committed to ensuring that all websites and content at alterna.ca is accessible to persons with disabilities by conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.

Existing materials shall be reviewed on a timely basis and/or upon request.

8.0    SELF-SERVE KIOSKS

Alterna’s current offering of self-serve kiosks (i.e. ATMs) shall comply with the Standards. In accordance with AODA requirements, Alterna will ensure compliance when designing, procuring or adding self-serve kiosks to fulfill future needs.

9.0    RECRUITMENT POLICIES

In order to facilitate the recruitment of persons with disabilities, Alterna’s management and/or employees shall:

  • Make job applicants aware of Alterna’s policy to accommodate persons with disabilities during the selection process, upon request.

10.0    EMPLOYMENT POLICIES

10.1    Accessible Employee Communication, Training, and Practices

As part of its commitment to provide an accessible work environment, Alterna commits to training its employees in how to provide accessible customer service and on the requirements of this Policy. New staff will receive training as part of their orientation and training will be provided on an ongoing basis when changes are made to the policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of services to persons with disabilities. Alterna shall make workplace information available in an accessible format to employees with disabilities. Such information will be available within a reasonable time taking into account the format requested. Alterna will use reasonable efforts to provide access to career development opportunities to its employees with disabilities.

10.2    Individual Accommodation Plan

Alterna shall use reasonable efforts to develop an individual accommodation plan for employees with disabilities. This requirement will be incorporated into HR Policies and communicated to Alterna employees. Employees facing a disability are encouraged to explain their accessibility needs to an HR representative so that individualized accommodation plans can be assembled. This plan will set out ways to accommodate employees with disabilities in order to perform their job duties.

Individual accommodation plans are confidential and shall be updated on a yearly basis or at the request of the employee.

10.3    Individualized Emergency Response Plans

Alterna recognizes that employees with disabilities may require assistance in emergency situations. These employees are encouraged to explain their accessibility needs to an HR representative so that individualized emergency plans can be assembled. This plan is confidential and shall document the steps to be taken by the employee with the disability and designated assisting employees, if required, in emergency situations.

10.4     Training

To fulfill Alterna’s commitment to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities a training program on Ontario’s accessibility laws is maintained. The training program is internet based and provides information on assisting people with various disabilities. This training program will be recurring on a yearly basis.

11.0    ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Board:

  • Have oversight accountability for the implementation of the Accessibility Standards;
  • Review and approve the Policy every three years at a minimum;
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the Policy on a periodic basis.

The Board of Directors may delegate this responsibility to the Business Oversight Committee, as per the Governance Policy.

Management:

  • Develops workplace procedures and practices in keeping with the Standard;
  • Ensures existing policies and procedures do not conflict with the Standard;
  • Ensures that all employees are aware of the Policy and provided with the appropriate training;
  • Escalates, when required, incidents and member feedback related to the Standard;
  • Updates, promotes, encourages and ensures compliance with the Policy;Reviews the Policy, procedures and practices as required;
  • Files the Customer Service report with the Ministry of Community and Social Services on an annual basis;
  • Reviews policy, procedures and practices as required and reports results to the Board of Directors.

Employees:

  • Participate in training sessions;
  • Follow established procedures for the provision of services to persons with disabilities;
  • Escalate, when required, incidents and member feedback related to the Standard;
  • Promote and encourage compliance to the Policy.

12.0    REVIEW AND APPROVAL

This Policy shall be reviewed by the Board of Directors every three years at a minimum and more frequently as required.

13.0    MONITORING OF COMPLIANCE TO THIS POLICY

Internal Audit is to review and assess compliance with this Policy on a periodic basis.