Date Originally Passed by Board: April 25, 2018
Review (R) /Amendment (A) Dates:
Next Scheduled Review Date: April 2020
The objective of this policy is to ensure that people interacting with Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) have equal access to PCLS’ services. PCLS will make every effort to accommodate individual needs, while respecting everyone’s privacy, dignity and autonomy.
“Accommodation” means making sure you are able to access and use our services by interacting with you in a way that meets your needs. All requests for accommodation will be met unless it creates excessive costs or health and safety risks (defined as “undue hardship” under Ontario’s Human Rights Code). We want to make sure that our work with you is as “barrier-free” as possible.
Examples of Accommodation
- We will ensure that the physical space is wheelchair accessible.
- We will be flexible about what time of the day you get help and for how long you meet so that you can discuss your legal issue.
- All persons interacting with PCLS are free to use assistive devices (such as walkers, wheelchairs) and service animals (such as guide dogs).
- We welcome the use of alphabet boards, bliss symbol boards, other communication devices and supports.
- We will provide a safe and appropriate environment for children and infants.
- If you are most comfortable using a language that is not spoken English, we will provide an interpreter (including ASL sign language interpreters).
- If a meeting has been scheduled on your religious holiday, we will reschedule it.
- We will refer to you using the name and pronoun of your choice.
- If you need to bring a support person with you, you do not have to tell us why they have to be with you, just that “I need this person with me.”
- If you have limited vision we can give you documents in large print, Braille, on CD or the format that works best for you.
- If you have a disability that makes it difficult to come to our clinic in person, then we can arrange alternative methods of communication with you such as telephone. Depending on the circumstances, we can try to arrange a home visit.
- If you have a disability that makes it very difficult to be in a closed room, you do not have to tell us why, but you could ask to meet in a larger room with the door left open.
- If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to understand speech, you are welcome to:
- bring a support person with you
- ask that we speak slowly and clearly
- ask that we write down some key points to take with you
Asking for Accommodation
You can ask for accommodation by speaking privately with the staff person, student or volunteer who is working with you.
If you would like to ask for accommodation in advance of your conversation with a member of the staff, students or volunteer, then you can contact us:
Contact: Parkdale Community Legal Services
Telephone: (416) 531-2411, press ‘0’ for Reception
Mail: 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6K 1L3
When you ask for accommodation, you do not have to give details about the reason for your request. You just need to tell us how you need to be accommodated.
Notice of Temporary Disruption
PCLS will provide you with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in our services. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
The notice will be recorded on our answering machine greeting, will be posted in our office and when possible, on our website.
PCLS staff, students and volunteers receive training on accessibility and accommodation that includes:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and of relevant PCLS policies and procedures;
- Best practices of interacting and communicating with people with various types of disabilities including interacting with people who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person;
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing PCLS’ services including emergency response processes for people with disabilities; and
- Information on the presumption that individuals have capacity to give directions in legal matters and to fully participate in decision making processes that affect their legal interests. For those providing legal services, information on facilitating a client’s ability to instruct and to make decisions in the lawyer-client relationship.
Changes to Policies
No changes will be made to any policy before considering the impact on people with accommodation needs and the commitments we have to promoting dignity, privacy and independence.
Feedback, Questions and Changes to this Policy
This document is available on request to help us achieve service excellence to people with disabilities. If you have requested accommodation, then we may ask you to fill out a feedback form so that you can tell us how we are doing at meeting accommodation needs. Providing this feedback is voluntary.
Complaints will be addressed according to complaint procedures already established in our clinic’s complaint policy.
This policy will be reviewed every two years. Feedback and questions regarding this policy or the way we provide services and accommodation can be made in person or by other contact methods to:
Clinic Director, Parkdale Community Legal Services
1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6K 1L3
Telephone: (416) 531-2411 ext. 242