At Siskinds, we are committed to doing things the right way. That includes providing excellent, accessible client service to everyone, including people with disabilities.
This commitment means that we do our best to provide our legal services to people with disabilities in a manner that respects their dignity and independence, while at the same time gives them the same opportunity to access our services, and allows them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way, as all other clients.
Policies, Practices and Procedures
As part of this commitment, we have established various policies, practices and procedures for how our legal services are provided to people with disabilities. These include the following areas:
We are committed at Siskinds to serving people with disabilities who use, or who may benefit from the use of, assistive devices – whether to access our legal services, or for other reasons because of their disability. Our staff has been trained and is familiar with various types of assistive devices that may be used by clients with disabilities while accessing our legal services.
We recognize that people with disabilities may communicate differently because of their disability. We are committed at Siskinds to communicating with clients with disabilities in ways that take the nature of their disability into account. In the time of COVID-19, transparent masks are available at our reception desk for anyone who would benefit from seeing a speaker’s face.
We welcome people with disabilities who use service animals. Service animals are allowed on any part of Siskinds premises that are open to the public or other third parties. Most of the time, our staff will be able to easily identify whether an animal is being used as a service animal or not. In the rare situation when it is not readily apparent, our staff may ask for a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the service animal is required for reasons relating to disability.
We also welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by support persons. Siskinds recognizes that some people with disabilities may have support people – e.g. paid professionals, volunteers, family members or friends – to help them with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs, or with accessing our legal services. Support persons are allowed on any part of Siskinds premises that are open to the public or other third parties. At no time will a person with a disability be prevented from having access to his/her support person while on such premises. When occasions arise that Siskinds charges admission fees on a per person basis for services offered (e.g. seminars, workshops, etc.), Siskinds will provide notice of the amount of any admission fees applicable to support persons accompanying people with disabilities.
We recognize that people with disabilities often rely on certain facilities or services being available at Siskinds (e.g. accessible washroom; elevators; ramps; disabled parking; automatic door openers).
As part of our commitment to providing accessible client service, we promptly notify clients whenever there is a temporary disruption – whether it is planned or unplanned – in such facilities or services. This notice includes the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and any alternative facilities or services available.
We are also committed to providing training to all staff who deal with the public or other third parties on behalf of Siskinds. This same training is also provided to others at Siskinds who are involved in establishing the policies, practices and procedures for how our legal services are provided to people with disabilities. This training includes:
- An overview of the purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of its Client Service Standard;
- How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person;
- How to use any equipment or devices available at Siskinds or otherwise that may help provide our legal services to people with disabilities; and
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our legal services.
We strive to have this accessible client service training provided to all staff within 10 days of being hired or transferred into an applicable position. After that, we provide updated training on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to how our legal services are provided to people with disabilities.
When it comes to providing accessible client service, we will always try our best and will certainly learn from any mistakes. This is why we encourage and appreciate hearing about how we are doing – both good and bad.
Feedback may be provided in person, by telephone, in writing, or by delivering an electronic text by email, online, USB drive or otherwise. The Client Feedback Form may be used to provide such feedback, but is not mandatory.
Feedback may be provided to:
Human Resource Manager
275 Dundas Street
When it comes to accessible client service, we believe in transparency. All of our Accessible Client Service Documents are available to the public upon request.