Accessibility Standard For Customer Service Policy

1.0 SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees of Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank who share an obligation to provide Alterna products and services to persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with requirements set out in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service – Ontario Regulation 429/07 and Integrated Accessibility Standards – Ontario Regulation 191/11.

2.0  DEFINITIONS

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

“Alterna” means Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited and CS Alterna Bank.

“Employee” means all Alterna employees. 

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

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

“Personal assistive device” refers to a device that enables the person with a disability to achieve mobility, communicate and/or access services.

“Support person” means a paid professional or volunteer or family member or friend of the person with a disability whom they rely on for certain services or assistance such as facilitating communication, physical support to perform daily activities etc.

“Service animal” refers to specially trained animals used by persons with disabilities to achieve independence, mobility, communication, identify safety risks etc.

3.0   GOVERNING PRINCIPLES

Alterna is committed to improving, in concert with regulatory requirements, the accessibility of our services to persons with disabilities.  To demonstrate its commitment, Alterna has developed procedures and practices according to the principles outlined in the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.  These principles are dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.

As per the “principle of dignity” Alterna treats members and clients with disabilities as equally valued and deserving of effective and full service as any other member/client.

As per the “principle of independence” Alterna allows its members and clients freedom from control or influence of others and provides people with the freedom of choice.

As per the “principle of integration” Alterna ensures that policies, practices and procedures are designed to be accessible to everyone including people with disabilities.

As per the “principle of equal opportunity” Alterna ensures that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to benefit from the way Alterna provides products or services as others. They should not have to make significantly more effort to access or obtain service nor have to accept lesser quality or convenience.

4.0   PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

This Policy is in recognition of Ontario Regulations 429/07 and 191/11 which are under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).  The purpose of this Policy is to demonstrate commitment in providing accessible products and services to persons with disabilities. This Policy also provides that all employees of our workplace understand their roles and responsibilities as they relate to the provision of such services.  

5.0   POLICY

In accordance with established procedures and/or practices for the provision of Alterna services to persons with disabilities, Alterna management and/or employees:

  • Consider a person’s disability when communicating with them;
  • Allow assistive devices in public workplaces such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and oxygen tanks and identify any situations where such use may not be permitted;
  • Allow service animals in public workplaces;
  • Welcome support persons as requested by members/clients with disabilities;
  • Notify members/clients with disabilities when accessible services we normally provide are disrupted
  • Invite members/clients to provide feedback through the Solutions Centre;
  • Complete and/or attend training on Accessible Customer Service and apply that knowledge in the provision of our services;
  • Ensure members/clients know where to find our Accessibility Plan;
  • Offer the Accessibility Plan in accessible formats (including large print and Braille), if requested.

5.1  MARKETING MATERIALS

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

The website at alterna.ca will feature high contrast and adjustable font sizes to accommodate members’ accessibility.  As of January 1, 2014 all new websites and/or content will comply with WCAG 2.0 Level A requirements.

Print and online materials are accessible to persons with disabilities. Existing material will be reviewed on a timely basis and/or on request. 

5.2  SELF-SERVE KIOSKS

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

6.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Board:

  • Have oversight accountability for the implementation of the Accessibility Standards;
  • Review and approve the policy every 3 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 (under the leadership of SVP and Chief Member Officer):

  • 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 to 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, procedure and practices as required and reports results to the Board of Directors.

Employees:

  • Attend/complete 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.

7.0 REVIEW AND APPROVAL

This Policy shall be reviewed every three years at a minimum and more frequently as required. This Policy shall be reviewed by the Board of Directors every 3 years at a minimum and as required by Management.

8.0 MONITORING OF COMPLIANCE TO THIS POLICY

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