All Ontario Businesses, regardless of size, must currently have in place a Customer Service Standard and Workplace Emergency Response Information document.
Companies with 20 or more employees must file evidence of their compliance on or before January 1, 2015. Do not think this will not be enforced: there is a strong lobby group that is keeping pressure on the Government to enforce this requirement.
While no one likes more “red tape,” complying with the law is not difficult to do and most of it makes good business sense.
The Customer Service Standard requires your business to evaluate its’ environment and explain how it will deliver services to individuals with accessibility issues. In our firm this highlighted our inability to have people with seeing eye dogs attend at our firm due to a severe animal allergy of one of our employees. However, we have been able to address that issue by stating we will meet with individuals with guide dogs outside our offices.
The Workplace Emergency Response Information requires you to ensure all members of your business can be safely evacuated, should the need arise. This doesn’t just mean individuals in a wheelchair. We recently addressed the needs of a very pregnant employee, in light of a fire drill, who needed to be protected from crushing and rushing down stairs: thinking about this ahead of the drill made it easier to accommodate her as we all knew our role.
If you need help to ensure you’re compliant, contact your Business Lawyer: better to be safe than fined!
Inga B. Andriessen JD