AODA Customer Service Policy

Approval Date: July 29, 2013
Effective Date: July 30, 2013
Approved by: HPSS Board of Directors
Annual Review Date: June 2017
Regulation: 299/10, 3(2)(a), 3(2)(b) 25(3)

Regulation Statement:

Where a service agency contracts with a third party to provide services and supports to persons with disabilities, the service agency shall:

  • Ensure that the contract required that third party comply with the quality assurance measures that would apply to the service agency if it were providing the services and supports.
  • Monitor the performance of the contract to ensure that the third party complies with the quality assurance measures.
  • Each service agency shall have policies and procedures on pets and service animals in the residence.

The purpose of this Customer Service Standard Policy is to fulfill the requirements set out in regulation 429/07 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and to establish a policy for Harmony Place (HP) that governs the provision of its good and services to persons with disabilities.

Our Mission

Respecting the individual’s right to belong, Harmony Place specializes in providing individually driven day programs that foster personal development and social inclusion for adults with multiple disabilities.

Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, HP strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services as the general public.

Providing goods and services to people with disabilities

HPSS uses reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the following four principles:

  • Dignity
  • Independence
  • Integration
  • Equal opportunity

Best Practices and Procedures


In accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation 191/11) requests for alternative methods of communication or an alternative format should be fulfilled as promptly as possible and at no additional cost to the individual. Publicly available documents (brochures, newsletters, etc…) in a variety of accessible formats are readily available, or conversion ready. However, not all documents are readily available in all types or formats and supports. Employees or volunteers should present these materials in alternate ways (e.g. read them) or assist the individual in requesting alternate formats. HP is committed to providing formats and supports in a timely matter.

HP will notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communications support.

Public inquiries regarding the AODA and HP’ related documentation, including requests for alternate formats, can be submitted via telephone to 416-510-3114 or via email to info @ or via mail to 6-132 Railside Rd. North York, ON. M3A 1A3

Alternate formats will be provided in a format that takes into account the individual’s disability.

Accessible formats include, but are not limited to:

  • Electronic formats such as HTML and MS Word
  • Braille
  • Accessible Audio Formats
  • Large Print
  • Text transcripts of video or audio information
  • Reading the written information aloud to the person directly
  • Exchanging hand-written notes (or providing a note taker or communication assistant)
  • Captioning or audio descriptions
  • Assistive listening systems
  • Augmentative and alternative communication methods and strategies such as the use of letter, word or picture boards, and devices that speak out messages
  • Sign language interpretation and intervener services
  • Repeating, clarifying or restating information
  • HP will consult with the person requesting the information or communications to determine if it is possible to provide it in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports.

If information and communications are unconvertible because it is not technically possible to convert the information or communications or because the technology to convert the information or communications is not readily available, HP will provide the person requesting the information or communication with:

An explanation as to why the information or communications are unconvertible, and, a summary of the unconvertible information or communications.
When designing any materials (i.e. letters, emails, flyers, signage, documents, forms, business cards, agendas, minutes and website information) HP will abide by Clear Print Guidelines and will ensure:

  • Good colour contrast between background and letters
  • Font size at least 12 pt. and use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial)
  • Not to use all caps
  • Use a matte or non-glossy finish
  • We endeavor to do our best to communicate with people with disabilities that take into account their disability. As such, we train employees and volunteers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities. (See Communication Policy)
Telephone services

We are committed to improving accessible telephone service. We train employees to communicate with people over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and at an appropriate pace.

We offer to communicate with people through email, relay services and written means if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.

Assistive devices

We are committed to serving people who need assistive devices to obtain, use, or benefit from our goods and services.

Use of service animals

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We also ensure that all employees, and volunteers are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

Requirements of Service Animals and Their Handlers
  • Identification: The service animal should wear a harness, identification tag or other gear that readily identifies its working status. If there is not a visible tag, university officials may ask the handler if the animal is a working animal.
  • Control: The handler must be in full control of the service animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its handler.
  • Leash: The service animal must be on a leash at all times.
  • License and Tags: All service animals must have an owner identification tag. If the service animal is a dog, it must be licensed from an approved training program or have current license and tags from local authorities.
  • Health: The service animal must be in good health.
Handler Conditions for Having a Service Animal on HP property
  • Clean-up Rule: The handler must 1. Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal and handler are on HP property; and 2. Be responsible for the proper disposal of the animal’s feces and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal.
  • Disruption: The handler of a service animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, nipping, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from HPSS’ facility. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be required to take significant steps to mitigate the behavior before bringing the animal into HP’ facility. Mitigation may include muzzling a barking animal, obtaining refresher training for both the animal and the partner, or other appropriate measures.

HP allows a service animal to accompany the handler at all times and everywhere on site.

HP employees and volunteers always speak to the handler first and this animal is working and is not a pet.

HP employees and volunteers immediately report any disruptive behavior of a program coordinator/manager. No attempt should be made to separate a handler from his or her service animal.

Any questions regarding service animals or their handlers should be directed to Management.

Support Persons

We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person is allowed to enter HP premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.

Notice of temporary disruption

HP provides notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice includes information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

The notice is placed on our website, at all public entrances and by broadcasting a message by telephone. Additionally, Management will call the homes of people receiving services and supports to notify them of the closure.

Training for employees

HP provides training to all employees and direct service volunteers who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.

New employees receive training within 3 months of hire;

Training includes the following:
  • The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 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 service animal or a support person
  • Employees are also trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures.

Feedback process

Complaint: is an expression of dissatisfaction related to the services and/or supports provided by HPSS. A complaint may be expressed by a person receiving services and supports, or a person acting on their behalf or by the general public. A complaint may be made formally, such as a letter, or informally, such as a verbal complaint expressed to an employee. A complaint does not include feedback on matters unrelated to services and/or supports provided by HP.

Feedback: may be positive or negative and is related to the services and/or supports provided by HP. Feedback may be solicited (such as comments collected through a satisfaction survey) or unsolicited and may be communicated formally or informally.

Should the nature of the complaint go beyond HP’ scope, mandate or expertise, the person and/or his or her family may be directed to more appropriate persons.

A complaint alleging behaviour of a criminal nature, for example alleged, suspected or witnessed abuse, is reported to the police and to the Ministry of Community and Social Services as a serious occurrence.

Any complaint that causes disruption in service is reported to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Registration and Documentation of a Complaint/Feedback

Persons wishing to register a complaint/feedback can do so verbally in person or over the phone or in writing (by mail, email, online form on the HP website, fax or hand-delivered letter).

The ultimate goal of HP is to meet and surpass expectations while serving people with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

Feedback can be shared with the agency by contacting the Executive Director. Anyone from the public can submit a written comment or complaint by mail to:

Harmony Place
6-132 Railside Rd.
Toronto, Ontario M3A 1A3
or by e-mail: hpss @

Employees receiving complaints forward them to the Executive Director and/or provide the complainant’s contact information to the Executive Director.

Resolution of a Complaint/Feedback

Within seven (7) business days of receiving feedback the Executive Director will investigate and respond to the person giving feedback. Consideration is given to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.

The Executive Director will take the necessary steps to resolve any complaints a person has with the service they received at HP. Should the complainant not be satisfied with the response from the Executive Director and the complaint is a matter of organizational policy, rather than operations, then the Executive Director will forward the complaint to the HP Board of Directors for a response. The President of the Board of Directors will provide a written response within thirty (30) days.

Where the complaint involves the Executive Director, the complainant may submit their complaint, in writing, directly to the President of the Board of Directors:

President – Board of Directors
6-132 Railside Rd.
Toronto, Ontario M3A 1A3

Resolving a Complaint

Employees are encouraged to follow the guidelines below when receiving a complaint.


Listen to the person presenting the complaint/feedback. Be attentive and interested. When people sense you care and are genuinely interested in understanding the problem, much of the issue is diffused.

Be Professional

Retain your poise and control if the person is angry. Don’t take it personally.

Be Human and Friendly

Acknowledge, emphasize and relate to the concern. Bureaucracies and policies appear mechanical and impersonal. No one likes hearing what the rules are. They’re looking for answers. Let people know you can relate to their concerns.

Think Before Answering

Act, don’t react. Calmness encourages calmness. A gentle, thoughtful answer is usually well received.

Respond to the Complaint

Manage displeasure in a civil and constructive way. Failure to respond or a delayed answer makes the situation worse. Don’t procrastinate.

Appropriately Apologize

Let the person understand that you are genuinely sorry for their displeasure. While you may disagree about the facts and specific concerns, remember that people’s concerns are important to them.

Modifications to this or other policies

We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes are made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.

Any policy of HP that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disability is modified or removed.

Questions about this policy

This policy exists to achieve service excellence to people 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 Executive Director.

Administration of the policy

Responsibility for the periodic review and revision of this Policy lies with Management, chaired by the Executive Director, working in conjunction with the HR Committee & Board of Directors. Management is responsible for communicating policy changes to staff.