CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY:

THE ACCESSIBILITY FOR MANITOBANS ACT

PURPOSE:

The goal of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (the “AMA”) is to achieve accessibility by preventing and removing barriers that may impede people in Manitoba from accessing goods and services available to Manitobans generally, including the obligation to make reasonable accommodations. Consistent with best practices, our goal is to meet our obligations under the AMA and provide accessible customer service to our clients by identifying, and to the extent possible, preventing, and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with a disability. The Customer Service Standard (the “Standard”) has been established under the AMA to ensure goods and services are, where possible, equally accessible to every member of the public.

COMMITMENT TO ACCESSIBILITY:

At MLT Aikins, we are committed to providing a barrier-free environment for our clients. The objective of this policy (the “Policy”) is to ensure we meet the requirements of the AMA and the Standard and promote the underlying core principles of accessibility.

We are committed to developing customer service policies and practices that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.  We are committed to identifying barriers that may impede individuals from accessing the services we provide and we will continue to seek to remove those existing barriers that we are responsible for so that all persons reasonably expected to seek to obtain, use or benefit from our services can do so.

MLT Aikins strives to provide our 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 services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.

CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE POLICY:

This Policy and related practices and procedures are consistent with the following four principles:

  • Access: Persons should have barrier-free access to places, events and other functions that are generally available in the community;
  • Equality: Persons should have barrier-free access to those things that will give them equality of opportunity and outcome;
  • Universal design: Access should be provided in a manner that does not establish or perpetuate differences based on a person’s disability;
  • Systemic responsibility: The responsibility to prevent and remove barriers rests with the person or organization that is responsible for establishing or perpetuating the barrier.

MLT AIKINS IS COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE

in serving all of our clients including those with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities as follows:

  1. Communication: We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  2. Telephone Services: We are committed to providing accessible telephone service to our clients. We will train staff to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.We will offer to communicate with customers by email, regular mail or facsimile if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
  3. Assistive Devices: We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services. Where applicable, we will ensure that our staff members are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities and will be trained to use any assistive devices or facilities that we may offer from time to time.
  4. 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 will also ensure that all staff dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
  5.  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 will be allowed to enter MLT Aikins’ 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.

    In light of the services we offer and the critical importance of solicitor client privilege to our clients, in the event that our client is accompanied by a support person, before entering into any confidential communications with the client, we will confirm that the client wishes the support person to be privy to these confidential discussions. If so, MLT Aikins will recommend that the client enter into a Support Person Confidentiality Agreement with the Support Person and with MLT Aikins. Our client has the discretion to decide whether to enter into the Support Person Confidentiality Agreement.  In appropriate and limited circumstances, lawyers may advise clients accompanied by a support person that it is not possible for support persons to be present in a meeting having regard to professional ethics and obligations. MLT Aikins’ lawyers can find a copy of the Support Person Confidentiality Agreement on our Intranet.

    We will advise our client and the support person that MLT Aikins is providing legal services to the client and is not providing legal services to the support person, and that no solicitor client relationship exists between MLT Aikins and the support person as a result of the support person being privy to communications between MLT Aikins and the client.

    If the Support Person and the client enter into the Support Person Confidentiality Agreement, that agreement includes an acknowledgement that the Support Person is not a client of MLT Aikins. If the Support Person has not executed the Support Person Confidentiality Agreement, the Support Person is required to sign the MLT Aikins’ Support Person Acknowledgement that indicates the Support Person is not a client of MLT Aikins. MLT Aikins’ lawyers can find the Support Person Acknowledgement on our Intranet.

  6. Notice of Temporary Disruption: MLT Aikins will provide clients and the public with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in any aspect of our Winnipeg office space intended to facilitate access to our services 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. The notice will be placed at the reception area in our Winnipeg office and will be posted on our website.

  7. Training for Staff: MLT Aikins is committed to providing training consistent with legislated requirements and will provide training to our Manitoba lawyers and staff members that interact with the public on serving customers with disabilities.  MLT Aikins will document such training in compliance with the Standard.Our Training Policy has been developed in accordance with the Standard such that any new lawyer or staff member in Manitoba will receive training within one month of his or her start date.
  8. Feedback process: Comments on the accessibility of our services are welcome and appreciated. Feedback regarding the way MLT Aikins provides services to people with disabilities can be made to our Accessibility Coordinator:

    By
    email to: accessibilitywpg@mltaikins.com
    By telephone to: 204-957-4800
    In writing to: Accessibility Coordinator, 30th floor 360 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4G1

    Accessible formats and communication supports are available on request. Persons who provide us with feedback can expect to hear back from us within 15 business days.  The Accessibility Coordinator will document any resulting actions from feedback received.

  9. Notice of Availability: MLT Aikins will notify the public that our documents related to accessible customer service, including documents setting out our resulting actions, are available upon request by posting a notice on our Company website at www.mltaikins.com.
  10. Modifications to this policy: We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the principles of access, equality, universal design and systemic responsibility for people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.
  11. Questions about this Policy: This policy exists to achieve customer service excellence in our dealing with clients with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, questions may be directed to Brian Birch or Dave Negus.  This policy is available in alternate forms, upon request.