Wilson Vukelich LLP and TCBL Services Inc. (hereinafter collectively referred to as “WV LLP”) is committed to maintaining an accessible environment for persons with disabilities in the delivery of its goods and services.
This is an Accessible Customer Service Plan, established in accordance with the Customer Service Standard adopted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. WV LLP will provide a copy of this Plan upon request and will provide it in a reasonably requested format. .
This Plan deals with:
- the use of guide dogs, service animals and support persons;
- the steps to be taken in connection with a temporary disruption;
- the training policy, including a summary of the contents of the training and details of when the training is to be provided;
- records of the training provided under this policy, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided;
- the feedback process.
Documents produced further to this Plan and so required by the Customer Service Standard are available upon request and are provided in a reasonably requested format.
WV LLP is dedicated to ensuring that all reasonable efforts are made to:
- provide services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
- provide services in a manner that is integrated, unless an alternate measure is necessary to enable a person with disabilities to obtain WV LLP’s services; and
- give persons with disabilities an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain WV LLP’s services.
This policy applies to WV LLP services that are provided externally to the public or third parties.
The policy applies to all lawyers, paralegals and staff with WV LLP. The policy also applies to all agents, volunteers, clients, and visitors of/to WV LLP.
When communicating with persons with a disability, WV LLP will make all reasonable efforts to take into account the person’s disability.
WV LLP’s employees who communicate with members of the public will be trained on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities. Further to this, the employees will be trained on how to develop a communication plan in recognition of the persons’ disabilities. For example, WV LLP and the person may agree to deal with complex matters in writing and in plain language.
WV LLP recognizes that persons with disabilities may require the use of personal assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from WV LLP’s services. Personal assistive devices are usually devices that people bring with them, such as a walker or a personal oxygen tank. Some personal assistive devices, such as a magnifying glass, are readily available for WV LLP to provide to its clients.
Persons with disabilities are permitted to obtain, use or benefit from WV LLP’s services through the use of their own assistive devices (except where use of such a device would pose a danger to others or would result in WV LLP’s being in violation of a municipal, provincial or federal law or regulation).
When requested, WV LLP will provide to the person with a disability any personal assistive device which WV LLP has available to offer.
In the event that a person with a disability is hindered from accessing any services offered by WV LLP despite his/her assistive device, WV LLP will strive to accommodate the person by attempting to deliver the same services in another way.
WV LLP’s employees who interact with members of the public will be trained to ensure that they are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by people with disabilities while accessing WV LLP’s services.
WV LLP recognizes that persons with disabilities may require the use of a service animal to obtain, use or benefit from WV LLP’s services. Examples of service animals are dogs used by persons who are blind and hearing alert animals for those who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
WV LLP welcomes persons with disabilities and their service animals. Services animals are allowed in the areas of WV LLP’s premises that are open to the public and third parties. Service animals are not permitted where prohibited by a statute or regulation or where, by operation of a statute or regulation, the service animal should not be permitted onto the premises or that area of the premise. For example, service animals may be prohibited from going into WV LLP’s kitchen.
If a service animal is excluded from WV LLP’s premises or part of WV LLP’s premises, WV LLP will suggest appropriate alternatives and provide accommodation in order to assist that person in obtaining WV LLP’s services.
WV LLP’s employees who interact with members of the public will be trained on how to interact with customers who are accompanied by service animals.
WV LLP recognizes that persons with disabilities may require the use of a support person to obtain, use or benefit from WV LLP’s services. A support person is an individual who accompanies the person with a disability to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to services. A support person may be a paid professional, a volunteer, a family member, a friend, a case worker, or a social worker.
WV LLP welcomes persons with disabilities and their support persons. Support persons are allowed to accompany the person with a disability on WV LLP’s premises.
Upon consent of the client, the client’s support person may be present while confidential information is being exchanged, for example at a lawyer-client meeting.
WV LLP’s employees who interact with members of the public will be trained on how to interact with customers who are accompanied by a support person.
When representing clients with a disability, WV LLP shall adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Further, when representing clients with a disability, lawyers and paralegals with WV LLP shall follow the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct, including the Rules with respect to serving clients with disabilities (Rules 1.03(1)(b), 2.02(6) and 5.04).
WV LLP’s presumption is that an adult client is capable of instructing counsel. This presumption is not rebutted by the mere fact that a client is a person with a disability.
When WV LLP has concerns about a client or a prospective client’s capacity to instruct counsel, WV LLP may need to take steps, such as:
- seek to obtain the client or prospective client’s consent to discuss those concerns with the individual’s family members and/or health care providers;
- seek the assistance of the Capacity Assessment Office, a qualified capacity assessor, or a qualified medical professional;
- have a lawfully authorized representative appointed (i.e. a litigation guardian); or
- obtain the assistance of the Office of the Public Guardian or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.
Unfortunately, in some cases WV LLP may be required to withdraw their services should a client lack the capacity to instruct counsel.
WV LLP recognizes that finding a client incapable of providing instruction to counsel is a serious matter and impacts upon a client’s access to justice. In the event that WV LLP finds that a client no longer has the necessary legal capacity, WV LLP shall make all efforts to ensure that the client’s interests are not abandoned.
WV LLP is committed to providing accessible invoices. Upon request, WV LLP’s invoices can be provided in reasonable alternative formats.
Notice of Temporary Disruptions
WV LLP acknowledges that persons with disabilities may only access and attend at its premises by using certain services and facilities (e.g. the elevator).
WV LLP will provide notice when there is a temporary disruption in those services or facilities that persons with disabilities may rely on. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and, if applicable, a description of alternative facilities or services that may be available. Notice of service disruptions will be provided as soon as reasonably practicable after WV LLP is made aware of the disruption or the scheduled disruption.
The notice of a disruption may be provided by way of postings in conspicuous places at the office, in other facilities of the building (i.e. the lobby), on WV LLP’s website or by any other means that will reasonably ensure that the notice reaches those persons potentially affected by the temporary disruption in a manner that is accessible to them.
WV LLP will ensure that all persons (including employees and contractors) who deal with members of the public or other third parties on behalf of WV LLP will be provided with:
- instruction on how to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities;
- instruction on how to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a guide dog, other service animal or a support person;
- instruction on how to use equipment or devices available on firm premises or that the firm otherwise provides, that may help people with disabilities access services; and
- instruction on what to do if a person with disabilities is having difficulty accessing firm services.
WV LLP will keep records of the training provided, including the dates on which training was received and the names of participants.
WV LLP welcomes any feedback regarding the methods it uses to provide services to persons with disabilities. Individuals may provide their feedback in person, by telephone, in writing, or by email to the Office Manager at WV LLP.
Complaints may be made in writing to the Office Manager at WV LLP. When requested and permitted by the Complainant, the Complaint will be reviewed and a response provided to the Complainant.
Last revised November 2016