The Customer service Standards under the AODA and the Accessible Customer service Standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act both require organizations to make service accessible to customers with disabilities. Moreover, both standards require many of the same processes and practices to ensure accessibility. However, there are many important differences between the standards. The third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should coordinate with other provinces and the federal government to ensure that accessibility laws are consistent across Canada. Therefore, requirements in the AODA may one day change to align with mandates under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. In this article, we will explore accessible customer service for public events in Ontario and Manitoba.
Accessible Customer Service for Public Events in Ontario and Manitoba
Under the Accessible Customer Service Standard of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), public events must be accessible. For example, public events include:
- Public meetings
- Public hearings
- Consultation processes that the law requires
Public-sector organizations holding these public events must ensure that attendees with disabilities can benefit from all aspects of the events. For instance, organizations planning or hosting these events must notify the public about upcoming events in ways that potential attendees with disabilities can access. Organizations can notify attendees about public events in the same way they notify customers about temporary service disruptions.
In addition, organizations hosting public events must:
- Hold them in physically accessible locations
- Meet people’s needs for physical and communication accessibility, upon request
- Notify the public that people can request accessibility support
In contrast, Ontario’s Customer Service Standards do not include accessibility guidelines for public events. However, these events may have a large impact on the lives of the people who attend. As a result, Ontario may one day require similar accessible customer service for public events, to align with Manitoba’s accessibility law.