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Accessible Customer Service Policy

APPROVED: April 24, 2024

We are committed to complying with the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Our policies, practices and measures reflect the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

If a barrier to accessing our goods or services cannot be removed, we seek to provide alternate ways to access the goods or services.

The following policy statements, organizational practices and measures are intended to meet the requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.

1. Meet Communication Needs

Policy Statement:

We will meet the communication needs of our patrons, and the general public in a respectful and courteous manner.

Communications that reach all our patrons and the general public. Ensure communication with a person disabled by a barrier is done in a way that removes the barrier.

Practices and Measures:

  1. To meet communication needs, when appropriate we offer to communicate in different ways, such as writing things down, reading things out loud, and taking extra time to explain things
  2. We also keep paper and pens available to write things down
  3. Offer a chair when longer conversations are needed
  4. Offer a quieter space
  5. Sit down to engage with someone using a wheelchair
  6. Include the statement “This publication is available in alternate formats on request” on all publications
  7. Use signs and documents that are easy to read, including using larger fonts, and ensuring messages are not printed on images
  8. Write signs and documents in plain language

2. Accommodate the Use Of Assistive Devices

Policy Statement:

We will accommodate the use of assistive devices when patrons and the general public are accessing our goods, services or facilities.

Assistive devices vary and include wheelchairs, canes or communication boards. Welcome the use of assistive devices to remove or reduce barriers. Do not charge fees for the use of on-site assistive devices.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Do not touch or move patrons or the general public’s assistive devices without permission
  2. Trained in how to use the assistive devices that we provide, including; automatic doors, computers, and tablets
  3. In cases where the assistive device presents significant and unavoidable health or safety concerns, attempt to use other measures to ensure the person with disabilities can access our goods, services or facilities.

3. Welcome Support Persons

Support persons are people accompanying a person with a disability to help with communication mobility, personal care or medical needs, or to access goods or services. We will welcome support persons to enter and remain with the patron. We will let the public know in advance if support persons have to pay admission or service fees.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Address the patron, not the support person, unless requested by the patron to do otherwise
  2. Make space for support persons on site and ensure they have access to their support person at all times
  3. Waive or reduce admission or service fees for support persons
  4. If admission or service fees cannot be waived or reduced, let the public know in advance
  5. Share information about fees for support persons with the public in the following ways; website, social media, newsletters, ticket counter, brochures, posters, advertisements, and through employees, volunteers at the library

4. Allow Service Animals

Policy Statement:

We will allow service animals on our premises

Service animals are animals that are typically dogs that have been trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability that relates to that person’s disability. A service animal may accompany our patron to assist in removing or reducing barriers. Service animals can be present in any public space.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Treat all service animals as a working animal. In doing so do not distract a service animal from its job by petting, feeding or playing with it, unless given permission by the person with the service animal to do so.
    Know how to identify a service animal by its harness or vest and by the assistance the animal is providing
  2. If we have concerns, we may ask if the animal has been trained to help a person with a disability-related need
  3. Do not inquire about the disability
  4. Expect the person who is handling the service animal to maintain control of the animal physically or through voice, signal or other means
  5. If the service animal is showing signs of not being controlled, provide a warning to the handler to control the animal
  6. If the service animal continues to misbehave, we may ask the handler to leave

5. Maintain Accessibility Features

Policy Statement:

To ensure barrier-free access to our goods, service or facilities, we maintain our accessibility features so they can be used as intended.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Organize our space where available so that there is room for people with wheelchairs, electric scooters and walkers
  2. Ensure Seating will accommodate people of varying sizes and abilities
  3. Keep our entrances and ramps clear of ice and snow
  4. Place standing signs out of the way to avoid tripping hazards
  5. Use both audio and visual cues to inform patrons it is their turn to be served
  6. Take our services to the patrons when our premises and structures are not accessible
  7. Ensure where automated entrances exist, that they are maintained and kept clear

6. Let The Public Know When And Why An Accessibility Feature Is Unavailable

Policy Statement:

We let the public know when and why an accessibility feature is temporarily unavailable, how long it will be unavailable, and other ways to access our goods and services.

Practices and Measures:

  1. If one of our accessibility features becomes temporarily unavailable, prepare and post a notice and or an announcement about the disruption. Post the reason for the disruption, how long it will last, and whether there are other ways we can provide access to our goods and services. Let the public know about disruptions in the following ways;
    Posted on the website, on social media, and the newsletters
    Posted at our building entrance, or the front counter and or in high traffic areas
  2. If requested by a patron, we will work with them to find other ways to provide a service

7. Welcome And Respond Promptly To Feedback

Policy Statement:

We welcome and respond promptly to feedback we receive on the accessibility of our goods and services. We will document the actions we take to respond to the feedback we receive, and that information is available on request in a format that meets the individual’s communication needs.

Practices and Measures:

  1. 1. Invite feedback in the following ways;
    Patrons can visit our circulation desk, or contact us by phone, email, and website
  2. All feedback is directed to the head librarian or the assistant librarian, who determines what action, if any should occur
  3. If the feedback requires follow-up, the patron is notified that the request is being reviewed and when they can expect a response
  4. We will let the patron know the action we will take to address their feedback, if any
  5. Respond to feedback in a way that meets the communication needs of the individual

8. Provide The Required Training To Employees, Volunteers And Management

Policy Statements:

We provide the required training on accessible customer service to employees and volunteers.

We are trained on how to interact and communicate with people who face barriers to accessing goods and services, use assistive devices, are assisted by a support person and / or are assisted by a service animal.

We are trained on how to use any equipment or assistive devices that are available on-site.

We use an overview of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The Human Rights Code (Manitoba), and the Customer Service Standard to develop and train staff in our policies.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Train new employees within one month after hiring
  2. Train volunteers within two months after their first day
  3. Head Librarian will record who has taken training and when

9. Keep A Written Record Of Accessibility And Training Policies

Policy Statement:

We will keep a written record of our accessibility and training policies.

We will let the public know that our written policies are available on request.

Practices and Measures:

  1. Provide our policies within a reasonable timeframe, at no cost, and in a format that meets the needs of the individual
  2. Post that policies are available at desk, on website, etc