Introduction

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) became law in 2005. It is intended to implement and enforce mandatory accessibility standards in Ontario, with the goal of increasing access to services for individuals with disabilities. The purpose of this policy is to establish how Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP will provide accessible services to the public and other third parties who do business with Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP in a manner that is consistent and compliant with Ontario Regulation 429/07 (“Customer Service Standard”) under the AODA.

 

Policy

The mission of Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP is to provide legal services.

We strive to provide our services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients.

Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that:

 

(a)

Persons with disabilities are provided equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from the firm’s services;

 

(b)

Services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;

 

(c)

The services provided to persons with disabilities are integrated with the provision to other clients unless an alternative measure is necessary to   allow a person with a disability to benefit; the alternative measure may be temporary or permanent;

 

(d)

Communications with a person with a disability are conducted in a manner that takes the person’s disability into account; and

 

(e)

Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices, service animals and support persons as is necessary to access the firm’s services unless superseded by other legislation or restricted on legal grounds.

 
Scope and responsibility

This policy applies to all lawyers and staff of Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP who deal with clients, the public or other third parties on behalf of the firm.

The firm will assign persons responsible to ensure all lawyers and staff who deal with clients, the public or other third parties on behalf of the firm are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and these policies, practices and procedures.

 
Procedures

The firm is committed to excellence in serving all clients including people with disabilities. We will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:

 

Communication

  (a) We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  (b) We will train lawyers and staff who communicate with clients, the public or other third parties on behalf of the firm on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

 

Telephone services

  (a) We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our clients. We direct lawyers and staff to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and not quickly.
  (b) We will offer to communicate with clients by letter or e-mail if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.

 

Assistive devices

  (a) We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services. We will ensure that our lawyers and staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices (set out in (b) below) that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing our services.
  (b) We will ensure that lawyers and staff know how to use the following assistive devices available on our premises for clients: 
     door activation buttons for entry into our lobbies

 

Billing

  (a) We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our clients. For this reason, invoices will be provided in the following formats upon request:
      hard copy and .pdf format
  (b) We will answer any questions clients may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or e-mail.

 

Use of service animals and support persons

  (a) We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal, unless superseded by other legislation.
  (b) We will also ensure that lawyers and staff are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  (c) We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person.
  (d) A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter the firm’s premises and be accompanied by his or her support person, subject to restriction for confidentiality or other legal grounds. Also, the firm may require:
    1.  consent of disclosure from the person with a disability prior to discussing or releasing confidential information in the presence of a support person; and
    2.  the agreement of the support person to the rules, requirements and regulations specific to the firm’s legal services, which may involve the execution by the support person of a confidentiality agreement.

 

Notice of temporary disruption

  (a) The firm will provide clients 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.
  (b) The notice will be placed at all public entrances on our premises.

 

Training

  (a) The firm will provide training to lawyers and staff who deal with clients, the public or other third parties on behalf of the firm, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of client service policies, practices and procedures.
  (b) Training will be provided to lawyers and staff soon after their commencement of duties involving the dealing with clients, the public or other third parties on behalf of the firm and, thereafter, when changes to the client service policies, practices and procedures occur.
  (c) Training will include the following:
    • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 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
    • How to access the ramps and use the elevator and automated door openers available on the firm’s premises or otherwise that may help with the provision of services to people with disabilities
    • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing the firm’s services

 

Feedback process

  (a) The ultimate goal of the firm is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving clients with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
  (b) Feedback regarding the way the firm provides services to people with disabilities can be made verbally or by e-mail.
  (c) Feedback will be directed in the following manner:
    1. in respect of feedback involving a client matter, to the Main Lawyer Responsible for the file; or
    2. in respect of feedback of an administrative nature, to the Business Manager.
  (d) The firm will not be obligated to respond to client feedback.

 

Questions about this policy

  (a) This policy exists to achieve service excellence to clients 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 Business Manager of the firm.
  (b) A copy of this policy is available upon request by contacting the Business Manager.
  (c) The policy document will be provided in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.