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 notification of temporary service disruptions in Ontario and Manitoba.
Notification of Temporary Service Disruptions in Ontario and Manitoba
The AODA’s Customer service Standards and the Accessible Customer service Standard of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) both require notification of temporary service disruptions. In other words, when the features that customers with disabilities rely on are out of service, customers should be notified about these service disruptions, including:
- The reason for the disruption
- How long the disruption will last
- Alternative ways for customers to access goods, services, and facilities during the disruption
Moreover, organizations should post these notifications of temporary service disruptions in prominent places, such as on their:
Ontario’s standard requires organizations to notify customers about temporary disruptions to any accessible service. In contrast, Manitoba’s standard only requires organizations to notify customers about temporary disruptions involving the built environment. Therefore, customers in Manitoba may not find out about disruptions to services that are not structural features, including:
- Accessible format material, such as:
- Hard copy Braille or large print documents
- Website compatibility with assistive technology
- Equipment or personnel needed for communication supports, such as:
- Captioning equipment
- Sign language interpretation
If Ontario and Manitoba coordinate their customer service standards, organizations in Manitoba may also notify customers of disruptions to these services in the future.