ACCESSIBILITY CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY
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.
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. While the other Western provinces in which MLT Aikins carries on business have not yet adopted specific customer accessibility laws applicable to private businesses, the Standard serves as a guide to best practice in providing accessible customer service. Consistent with best practices, our goal is to meet our obligations under the AMA and provide accessible customer service to our clients in all of our offices by identifying and, to the extent possible, preventing and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with a disability.
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 in all of our offices.
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.
We strive 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 clients.
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.
COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE
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:
- Communication: We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
- Telephone services: We are committed to providing accessible telephone service to our clients. We will train our staff members to communicate with clients over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. We will offer to communicate with clients by email, regular mail or facsimile if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
- Assistive devices: We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use and benefit from our services. Where applicable, we will ensure that our staff members are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities and will be trained to use any assistive devices or facilities that we may offer from time to time.
- 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 our staff members who interact with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
- 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’s premises with their support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to their 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, we will recommend that the client enter into a Support Person Confidentiality Agreement with the Support Person and MLT Aikins. The client will have the discretion to decide whether to enter into the Support Person Confidentiality Agreement. In appropriate and limited circumstances, our 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.
- 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 also be posted on our website. The notice may also be made available by other means that are determined by MLT Aikins to be reasonable in the circumstances.
- Training for staff: MLT Aikins is committed to providing training on serving clients with disabilities consistent with legislated requirements and will provide such training to our Manitoba lawyers and staff members who interact with clients. 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 their start date. MLT Aikins will also provide ongoing training when changes are made to the Standard’s measures, policies and practices.
- 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:
|By telephone to:
|In writing to:
|30th floor 360 Main Street
|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.
- 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 mltaikins.com.
- 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.
- Questions about this policy: This policy exists to achieve customer service excellence in our interactions with clients with disabilities. If anyone has a question about this policy, or if the purpose of this policy is not understood, questions may be directed the Accessibility Coordinator. This policy is available in alternate forms, upon request.