Accessibility Policy and Multi-Year Plan

Statement of Commitment

Stieber Berlach LLP (hereinafter referred to as “The Firm”) is committed to ensuring its policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of its services to persons with disabilities are compliance with the accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) and its regulations. The Firm will use reasonable efforts to ensure that goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities; that persons with disabilities are able to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients; and that persons with disabilities have opportunities equal to others to obtain, use and benefit from the firm’s goods or services. The Firm is committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely and accessible manner. This will be achieved by preventing, identifying and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting the accessibility requirements under the AODA.

Training

The Firm is committed to training employees, volunteers and all other persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on accessibility aspects of the Human Rights Code that apply to persons with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees, volunteers and other staff members.

Emergency Response Information

The Firm is committed to providing clients and other third parties with publicly available emergency information in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports, as soon as practicable, upon request. If needed, the Firm will provide customized workplace emergency response information to employees with disabilities.

Information and Communication Standards

The Firm is committed to meeting the communication needs of people with disabilities. The Firm consults with people with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs and provides various accessible formats of information and communication, upon request. As required, the Firm will ensure that its website and all new content published conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA by January 1, 2021, except where the meeting requirement is not practicable.

Employment Practices

The Firm is committed to providing fair and accessible employment practices that comply with the AODA. The Firm will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes and when people with disabilities are hired. The Firm develops individual accommodations and return-to-work plans for employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require accommodation upon their return.

Design of Public Spaces

The Firm will continue to meet the Accessibility Standards when building or making major modification to public spaces including:

  • outdoor paths of travel such as sidewalks, ramps and stairs;
  • accessible off street parking;
  • service related elements such as service counters and waiting areas.

 

Kiosks

The Firm is committed to ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are considered when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks. At this time, the Firm does not utilize kiosks.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

This plan is intended to be consistent with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Customer Service Standard) made under the AODA. The Firm and any third parties providing goods and services on behalf of the Firm are committed to maintaining an accessible environment for persons with disabilities in the delivery of its goods and services. As required by the AODA, the Firm will put the following policies into practice and ensure they are reviewed and updated at least every 5 years.

Communication

When communicating with persons with a disability, the Firm will take into account the particular individual’s needs and circumstances. All employees, agents and third parties who communicate with customers will be trained on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities in order to ensure that the Firm provides responsive and effective communication. All communication shall be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities shall be permitted to use their own assistive devices. An assistive device is a technical aid, communication device, or medical aid modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. Employees, agents and third parties may receive training to ensure that they are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing services. In the event that a person with a disability is hindered from accessing any goods or services offered, the Firm will use its best efforts to accommodate the person by offering the use of another assistive device that is available or attempt to deliver the same service in another way.

Service Animals

Service animal means an animal for a person with disabilities where it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability or where the person provides documentation from a regulated health professional confirming that the he or she requires the service animal for reasons relating to the disability. A person with disabilities may be accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal when on the Firm premises. In the event that service animals are excluded by law from the premises, the Firm will provide other resources or supports to enable the person with disabilities to access the services and goods offered by the Firm.

Support Persons

Persons with disabilities may enter the Firm’s premises with a support person and have access to the support person while on the premises. A support person may also accompany him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods and services. The Firm may require persons with disabilities to be accompanied by a support person when on the premises, but before making a decision, the Firm will:

  • consult with the person with disability to understand his or her needs;
  • consider health or safety reasons based on available evidence;
  • determine if there is no other reasonable way to protect the health or safety of the person or others on the premises.

 

Notice of Temporary Disruption

The Firm will notify the public in the event of a planned or unexplained disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons 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 notices will be posted at all public entrances and service counters of the firm, or communicated by such method as is reasonable in the circumstances.

Providing Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities

The Firm is committed to excellence in quality of service to all clients, including persons with disabilities, and will carry out its functions and responsibilities by,

  • communicating with persons with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability;
  • serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices. The Firm will provide its staff with training on how to use the assistive devices available on its premises, where applicable;
  • ensuring that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their guide dog or other service animals are permitted to enter the premises of the Firm with the animal and to keep the animal with them, unless the animal is excluded by law from the premises. In the event that a service animal is excluded from the premises by law, the appropriate personnel shall endeavour to make other provisions available, to enable the person with a disability to obtain and use the Firm’s services;
  • ensuring that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person are permitted to enter the Firm’s premises with their support person. At no time will persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their support person be prevented from having access to their support person while on the Firm’s premises.

 

Training on Accessible Customer Service

The Firm will provide training to all members of the organization (the Firm) on accessible customer service and how to interact with people with different disabilities. The Firm will provide training on an ongoing basis when changes are made to the Firm’s policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities. This training will be provided during the new employee orientation period after a lawyer or staff commences their duties and will include the following topics:

  • the purpose of the AODA and the requirements of the customer service standard;
  • how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
  • how to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a guide dog, service animal or a support person;
  • how to use or access the equipment or devices available on the firm’s premises or otherwise that may help with the provision of goods or services to person with disabilities;
  • what to do if a person with a particular type of disability is having difficulty in accessing the Firm’s goods and services;
  • the Firm’s policies, practices and procedures relating to the customer service standard.

 

Modifications to this or other policies

Any Firm policy that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Notice of Availability of Documents

The Firm will maintain documents describing its policies, practices and procedures and, upon request, shall give a copy of a document to any person. The documents will include policies, practices and procedures with respect to the following:

  • use of support persons;
  • use of guide dogs or service animals;
  • the steps to be taken in connection with a temporary disruption;
  • the training policy, including a summary of the contents of the training and details of when the training is to be provided;
  • records of the training provided under this policy, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided;
  • the feedback process.

 

The Firm will notify persons to whom it provides goods and services of its policies, by posting the information at a conspicuous place on the firm premises or by such method as is reasonable in the circumstances. When required under this policy to give a copy of a document to a person with disabilities, the firm will provide the document or information in a format that takes into account the person’s disabilities.

Feedback Process

The Firm welcomes any feedback regarding the methods it uses to provide goods and services to persons with disabilities. Individuals may provide feedback in a manner most convenient to them.

Deborah Berlach
Managing Partner
Tel.: 416.594.4671
Fax: 416.366.1466
Email: dberlach@sblegal.ca

OR

Petra Paul
Director of Finance & Administration
Tel.: 416.594.4678
Fax: 416.366.1466
Email: ppaul@sblegal.ca

 

If the feedback raises serious concerns with respect to the delivery of goods and services to persons with disabilities, the Firm will provide a response to the concerns in a timely manner. The Firm will ensure that feedback process is accessible by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, on request.