New Program Will Give a “Thumbs Up”

June 24, 2011

The Kawartha Lakes Accessibility Advisory Committee (KLAAC) has launched a new Access and Awareness Program that will give a “Thumbs Up” to companies that strive for accessibility. The Accessibility Committee would like to encourage all companies in the City of Kawartha Lakes that offer goods and services to the public to participate.

An official launch of the program will take place at A Buy and Sell at 31 Kent Street in Lindsay at 11:00 am on Tuesday June 28th, 2011. Please come and
join us as A Buy and Sell is recognized as a company striving for Accessibility.

This program has also been introduced to make companies aware that January 1, 2012 is just around the corner and that every company in Ontario has an obligation to comply with the Provincial law/regulation as it pertains to the Accessible Customer Service Standard, enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

What is Involved in the program?

It’s Simple!

A member of the Accessibility Committee will visit your company to complete an accessibility audit.

Based on the result of the audit, you will receive a “Thumbs-Up” decal to place in your window as a symbol of your company’s commitment to accessibility.

The decal will include a bronze, silver or gold star indicating the level of accessibility you have achieved.

Continue to Remove Barriers

Invite us back at any time when further accommodations are achieved. Continue to remove barriers that will provide greater access to your goods and services.

Progress through the levels of achievement to reach “gold star” status and celebrate your accomplishments!

Why Make Your Business Accessible and Take Part in This Program?

Potential Customers

Potential customers will make choices about your company based on ease of access.

Profitability

Persons with disabilities have an estimated spending power of $25 Billion per year across the Country, and Canadians with disabilities influence the spending decisions of friends and families which account for approximately 15 million people.

Receive Recommendations

Taking part in the program will provide you with concrete recommendations to make your company accessible.  This will position you to attract new customers and their spending dollars.

Legal Requirements – January 1, 2012

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005

The legal requirements of the accessibility standards for customer service are set out under the Accessibility for Ontarians for Disabilities Act, 2005.

The standard states what businesses and other organizations in Ontario must do to provide their goods and services in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Accessible Customer Service Standard

All businesses with at least one employee with have to comply with the Accessible Customer Service Standard by January 1, 2012.

Find out more information on the legal requirements of this Provincial Regulation by visiting:
www.aoda.ca

Consider the Following Accessibility Tips

  • Provide Accessible Customer Service training to all staff by January 1, 2012.  Information and resources are available on the Ministry of Community and Social Services website at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/index.aspx
  • Install easy to understand (plain language) signage to make it easier for everyone to find and enter your business;
  • Offer alternative methods of providing services, such as, home delivery and personal shopper assistance;
  • Let your customers know you’re there to help;
  • Keep aisles clear of clutter or displays;
  • Provide a clear path of travel (min. 3 feet wide is preferred);
  • Identify accessible tables and counters;
  • Provide written menus or other product information in large print versions or consider an website menu;
  • Make sure signs and product pricing labels have clearly written information, with large, colour contrasted print provided;
  • Ensure overhead signs do not cause a bumping hazard;
  • Ensure lighting levels are high, especially around service counters, while taking measures to prevent any glare and reflection;
  • Make sure the floor surface is free from tripping hazards, is non-slip and does not reflect glare;
  • Place heavier products on lower shelves and secure shelves and racks so they cannot be moved or tipped when leaned against or grasped;
  • Locate popular inventory items where those use a wheelchair can reach with ease (no higher than 3 feet, 11 inches from floor level);
  • Provide a chair to rest while waiting, ensuring the customer does not lose their place in line;
  • Have a paper and pen available should a customer wish to write their question or request for a good or service;
  • Where washrooms are provided to the public, an accessible washroom should be provided.  If you do not have an accessible washroom, make sure all staff know the location of one nearby;
  • Ensure accessible parking is not blocked with shopping carts or piled snow;
  • Remove all obstacles including newspaper, boxes and garbage cans ensuring the path of travel from the curb to your entrance is not blocked;
  • Provide handrails on any stairs or ramps coming into or in the building.

Taken from http://www.city.kawarthalakes.on.ca/news/new-program-will-give-a-thumbs-up