ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY
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Bitter Sweet is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including people with disabilities. In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) and its regulations, this policy explains the policies, practices and procedures that Bitter Sweet has established to provide an accessible shopping experience for customers with disabilities, based on the core principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equality of opportunity.
Bitter Sweet is committed to providing excellent customer service to all customers. This policy outlines the responsibilities and expectations of all Bitter Sweet employees in providing our goods and services to our customers. In fulfilling this commitment, Bitter Sweet will strive to offer the same opportunity or reasonable alternative to access our goods and services to customers with disabilities.
Disability includes physical disability, mental disability, learning disability, mental disorder or through injury. This encompasses disabilities of different severity, visible or non-visible, and effects which may come and go.
Bitter Sweet will communicate with customers with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability, bearing in mind the goal of communicating in an effective way.
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. Although Bitter Sweet does not provide assistive devices in our facilities, persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as needed when accessing goods or services provided by Bitter Sweet.
All service animals that are needed to assist customers with disability are welcomed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public. Service animals include dogs used by customers who are blind, hearing alert animals for customers who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, and animals trained to alert an individual to an oncoming seizure.
There may be rare circumstances where, for the reasons of health and safety of another person, allowing a customer with a disability to enter the premises and be accompanied by the service animal needs to be considered. In the rare situation where another person’s health and safety could be seriously impacted by the presence of a service animal on premises open to the public, Bitter Sweet will consider all relevant factors and options in trying to find a solution that meets the needs of both individuals.
All support persons are welcomed at Bitter Sweet. A support person is an individual hired or chosen by a customer with disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medial needs or with access to goods or services. The support person could be a paid personal support worker, a volunteer, a friend or a family member.
Notice of Temporary Disruptions
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to goods and services for customers with disabilities, Bitter Sweet will notify customers promptly. This posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative services, if available. The notices will be placed at store entrances and at the site of the disruption.
Bitter Sweet will provide training to all employees who deal with the public, including all store management, store sales employees and head office customer service employees, as well as to all employees involved with the development and approval of customer service policies and procedures. Training will include:
• An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard.
• Bitter Sweet’s policy related to the customer service standard.
• How to interact and communicate with customers with various types of disabilities.
• How to interact with customers with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person.
• What to do if a customer with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Bitter Sweet’s goods and services.
Records for training will be kept at Bitter Sweet’s head office, and will contain the names of the trainees and the dates of the training session. Staff’s training will continue as updates are made to the policy.
Customers who wish to provide feedback on the way Bitter Sweet provides services to customers with disabilities can do in person at a store location, by calling the customer inquiry number (905) 948-0626 and 1 (888) 253-3351, by email or through the website’s comment option. All feedback will be directed to our head office customer service department. Customers can expect to hear back normally within 1-2 business days, or in any unexpected situations where this is not possible, an acknowledgement of the feedback will be given and an estimation of the time required to reach a resolution will be provided. Complaints will be addressed according to our organization’s regular complaint management procedures.
Availability of Policy
A copy of this Accessible Customer Service Policy will be posted on the website in PDF format. A copy of the policy in large print will be made available upon request through the head office. In the situation where other alternatives are requested, Bitter Sweet will work with the customer to find a format that is accessible.
This policy will be reviewed and revised upon announcement of any updated accessibility standards becomes available, to ensure full compliance with the AODA, 2005.
This version is in effect as of January 1st, 2012.