Under the Customer Service Standard of the AODA, service providers must give workers and volunteers AODA customer service training. AODA customer service training teaches workers how to provide goods and services to customers with disabilities. The requirement to train workers applies to all organizations in Ontario with one or more employees.
AODA Customer Service Training
Who Needs Training?
People who must receive training include:
Every person who interacts with the public or third parties as a representative of the provider must receive AODA customer service training. For instance, some workers who interact with the public or third parties are:
- Sales people
- Receptionists or guest services personnel
- Servers and hosts in restaurants
Moreover, some workers’ job descriptions do not involve dealing with the public. However, in practice, some of these workers, such as security guards or cleaning staff, encounter the public regularly. Therefore, these workers must receive training.
In addition, workers responsible for developing, approving, or reviewing customer service policies, procedures, or practices must have training. For example, some workers responsible for policy development are:
- Managers who draft procedures
- Directors who sign off on all policies before their companies use them
- Anyone involved in updating old policies
This requirement ensures that employers will have the awareness to create or update policies in ways that make them accessible.
When must workers be trained?
Workers must be trained as soon as possible after they are hired. Furthermore, workers must have training whenever their organizations’ AODA customer service policies are updated. In addition, all public-sector organizations and private sector organizations with twenty or more workers must document every time they train workers. Documentation must detail how many workers received training and the date the training took place.
What should workers be trained about?
Training must cover the following topics:
- The purpose of the AODA
- Requirements of the Customer Service Standard
- How to communicate with customers who have various disabilities
- How to interact with customers who have:
- Service animals
- Support persons
- Assistive devices
- How to use any devices or equipment the provider may have to help customers access goods or services
- How to assist a customer having difficulty accessing goods or services
What format should training be in?
Organizations can choose how to train their workers. They may:
- Have workshops specifically for AODA training
- Incorporate AODA training into other training sessions for new workers
Moreover, providers may train workers using various formats, including:
- Interactive workshops
- Classroom settings
- Online courses
The variety of training options allows organizations to integrate AODA training into their other on-boarding and training procedures. It also ensures that providers can create their own training that relates AODA principles to the day-to-day activities in their organizations. For instance, libraries may provide hands-on training on what to do if patrons with disabilities have difficulty using assistive computer technology. In another example, restaurants may receive training on communicating that may include reading menus aloud or taking orders in writing.
However, this variety may create differences in the quality of the training workers receive. For instance, the different possible formats lend themselves to different levels of knowledge. A worker who attends a classroom session on accessibility will talk about course content with other trainees. This worker will likely gain much more understanding than a worker who is given a handout and does not look at it again. Moreover, there is no test requirement or other way of evaluating that a trainee has fully understood what accessibility means in their sector. Since customers with disabilities are increasing, AODA customer service training must meet these customers’ needs.