Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. This article will outline accessible customer service for municipal and provincial government offices. Accessible government offices ensure that residents of all abilities can participate in their local governments and access needed services.
Accessibility For Ontario Government Offices
- Accessible Parking
- Ramped or level entrances
- Automatic doors and wide doorways
- Lifts or elevators whenever there are stairs
- Accessible public washrooms
- Wide aisles and paths of travel
- Service counters that accommodate residents using mobility devices
Other features can also help government offices become more accessible. For instance, good lighting will help residents who are Deaf communicate visually. Lighting is also important for residents who are visually impaired. Furthermore, accessible seating in meeting areas will ensure that residents with assistive devices can observe or participate in government. Likewise, residents with invisible physical disabilities who cannot stand while being served or waiting in line may need seating near counters or near line areas. Staff may need to direct residents to this seating and alert them when it is their turn to be served.
Moreover, signage is also important. Signs should:
- Include detailed information for residents with hearing disabilities
- Use clear language or pictures for residents with intellectual disabilities
- Be at eye level for residents at wheelchair and standing heights
- Have large print and good colour contrast for residents with visual impairments
- Include Braille for residents who are blind
In addition, room names or numbers in Braille and large print will allow more residents to navigate buildings independently.
Finally, government offices should provide multiple contact methods for customers to get in touch with them, including:
- Phone and teletypewriter (TTY) numbers
- Email addresses
- Accessible websites, including contact forms and ways to book appointments online
Our next article will cover how accessible government offices can provide information in ways that are inclusive for all residents.