EQAO’s Commitment to Accessible Customer Service
EQAO is committed to providing students, parents and guardians, the public and our staff services that are free of barriers and biases. The agency strives to ensure that it offers support and resources that reflect the key principles of independence, dignity, respect, integration and equality of opportunity. EQAO’s conduct demonstrates its belief in the strength diversity brings to communities.
This protocol sets out the practices and procedures that guide the provision of EQAO’s goods and services to persons with disabilities and is attentive to protecting personal information in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
- any person who uses the goods and services of the agency, such as educators, students, parents and guardians, educational stakeholders, the public and EQAO staff
- Assistive Device:
- any device used by people with disabilities to help with daily living, such as wheelchairs, walkers, white canes, oxygen tanks and electronic communication devices
- Service Animal:
- an animal that is being used because of a person’s disability (this animal may be either present or required according to a letter from a medical practitioner)
- Support Person:
- a person who assists or interprets for a person with a disability
- the prevention or removal, through reasonable efforts, of barriers that impede individuals with disabilities
Accessible Customer Service Business Practices
EQAO is committed to providing exceptional and accessible service to its customers. Goods and services will be provided in a manner that takes disabilities into account, that respects the dignity and independence of all customers and that integrates accessibility into the agency’s business practices wherever possible. These business practices include, but are not limited to, procurement and the development of policy, protocol, new systems and services. Persons with disabilities will be given equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from the goods and services provided by or on behalf of EQAO.
Use of Assistive Devices
The agency will ensure that staff members are aware of assistive devices or equipment for customers available on EQAO premises and any other equipment that may be used or acquired. When possible, EQAO will allow customers to use their own assistive device to access the agency’s goods and services.
Use of Service Animals
EQAO will ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate a person with a disability who is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal in their care and control.
Use of Support Persons
EQAO will ensure that any facility it occupies will accommodate a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person. EQAO will enable the support person to participate in public events or individual meetings at the discretion or choice of the person with the disability. Any costs associated with admission to an event applicable to the support person will be communicated through public notice in advance.
Notice of Temporary Service Disruption
Any potential disruptions to EQAO-related activities that could affect persons with disabilities will be communicated in a notice. The notice will include the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description of alternative facilities or services, if any.
Notice of temporary service disruptions will be posted in a conspicuous place at the physical location of the service disruption.
EQAO will ensure that staff members who provide customer service receive training as required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. Training will be provided as soon as practical once an individual has been retained by the agency or if there is a change to the agency’s procedures and practices governing the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities. The training will include
- a review of the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
- a review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07;
- instruction on the EQAO protocols, procedures and practices pertaining to the provision of goods and services to persons with disabilities;
- instruction on how to interact and communicate appropriately with persons with various types of disabilities;
- instruction on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing EQAO’s goods and/or services;
- instruction on how to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or who require the assistance of a support person or service animal; and
- information about the equipment or devices available on EQAO’s premises that may help with the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities.
Feedback about the delivery of goods and services to persons with disabilities may be given by telephone, in person, in writing, in an electronic format or through other methods.
Feedback received by the agency’s call centre will be logged, investigated and reported through EQAO’s internal reporting process. Staff will respond immediately to all queries relating to accessibility concerns.
Notice of Availability and Format of Documents
EQAO will provide public notice regarding the availability of documentation to persons with disabilities, as required by the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. All documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, including EQAO’s accessible customer service protocol, notices of temporary disruptions, training records and written feedback process will be made available upon request subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
EQAO will provide documents or the information in them to persons with disabilities in a format they can use. The preparation of an alternative format may result in delays in providing the requested information.