Customer Care

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Our customer service policy: providing goods and services to people with disabilities.

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Purpose

The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the "Act") is to create a more accessible Ontario, by identifying, and to the extent possible, preventing, and eliminating barriers experienced by persons with a disability.

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (the "Standard") has been established under the Act to ensure goods and services are, where at all possible, equally accessible to every member of the public.

We are committed to providing a barrier-free environment for our customers. The objective of this policy (the "Policy") is to ensure we meet the requirements of the Standard and promote the underlying core principles of the Act, described below.

This Policy outlines the responsibilities of all employees, volunteers and agents who deal with the public or other third parties on our behalf in providing goods and services to people with disabilities, in compliance with the Act.

Definitions

Assistive Device — Any device used to assist a person in performing a particular task or tasks to aid that person in activities of daily living.

Disability means,
  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • A mental disorder, or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; ("handicap").

ServiceAnimal — An animal is a service animal for a person with a disability,
  • If it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
  • If the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.

SupportPerson — A person who accompanies a person with a disability to assist with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Core Principles of the Policy

We endeavour to ensure that the Policy and related practices and procedures are consistent with the following four principles:

  • Dignity — Persons with a disability must be treated as valued customers as deserving of service as any other customer.
  • EqualityofOpportunity — Persons with a disability should be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from our goods and services.
  • Integration — Wherever possible, persons with a disability should benefit from our goods and services in the same or similar place and in the same or similar manner as any other customer. In circumstances where integration does not serve the needs of the person with a disability, goods and services will, to the extent possible, be provided in another way that takes into account the person's individual needs.
  • Independence — Goods and services must be provided in a way that respects the independence of persons with a disability. To this end, we will always be willing to assist a person with a disability but will not do so without the express permission of the person.

Our Commitment

We are committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities. We strive at all times to provide goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same or similar place and in a similar way as other customers. In order to ensure accountability we have made this Policy part of our regular compliance and reporting process and subject to regular review. This Policy applies to all our owned or leased locations in Ontario.

This commitment is demonstrated in the areas of:

  • Communication — We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability. We train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
    • Telephone services — We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our customers. We train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. If communication over the telephone is not suitable or available, we will offer to communicate with customers in other ways including e-mail, TTY and relay services.
    • Documents — We are committed to providing accessible invoices and other documents to all of our customers. Such documents will be provided in alternative format upon request in a format that takes the person's disability into account. We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or email. We are committed to ensuring that our internet website and web content conforms to the requirements as outlined in the Integrated Accessibility Standard.
    • Assistive devices — Persons with a disability are permitted, where possible to use their own Assistive Device when on our premises for the purposes of obtaining, using or benefitting from our goods and services. We ensure that our staff is trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.
  • Use of service animals and support persons — We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or support person on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties except as may be prohibited by other laws. We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and agents dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person.
  • Notice of temporary disruption — We provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. This information will be placed on our website and/or in the reception areas in the affected office.

Procedure

Training for staff — We provide training, and ongoing training as required under the Act, to all persons to whom this Policy applies as well as to those persons charged with developing this Policy and related procedures and practices.

Training will include the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the Standard;
  • A review of this Policy;
  • 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 a support person;
  • How to use various assistive devices;
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing our goods and services or our practices and procedures relating to the standard;
  • How to use equipment or devices made available on our premises to assist persons with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services.

Training will be provided as soon as practicable after a person is assigned to applicable duties and on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices and procedures. Records of the training provided, including the training protocol, the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom the training is provided shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Standard.

Feedback process — Our ultimate goal is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated. This feedback together with the Act and its regulations will guide any changes and improvements we make to this Policy. Questions about this Policy and feedback can be provided in the following ways:

  • In writing mailed to:
Office of the Complaint Liaison Officer/Disability Services Feedback
333 First Commerce Dr
Aurora, Ontario
L4G 8A4
  • By fax at 905–750–4035
  • By telephone toll free at 877–370–3276
  • By email StateFarmAODA@statefarm.com. General inquiries, not related to our policy on the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), should be directed to info@statefarm.com.

Customers can expect to hear back within ten business days.

Modifications to this or other policies — We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.

This Policy is available in alternate formats upon request.

Desjardins Group Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

State Farm-branded insurance and financial services products are underwritten by or provided through Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, Desjardins Financial Services Life Assurance Company, Desjardins Living Benefits Inc., Autofinco Inc. or State Farm Investor Services (Canada) Co., all of which are part of the Desjardins Group and are covered by the Desjardins Group Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.

Part 1: General

Sections 3, 4, 6, 7

Establishment of accessibility policies

Deadline: January 1, 2014

Status: Completed

Requirements
  • Develop, implement and maintain policies governing how Desjardins Group will achieve accessibility through meeting its requirements under these standards.
  • Prepare one or more written documents describing its policies.
  • Make the documents publicly available and provide them in an accessible format upon request.

Compliance measures
  • We have developed an accessibility policy governing how we will achieve accessibility objectives.
  • This policy is available on our website and can be provided in an accessible format upon request.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Deadline: January 1, 2014

Status: Completed

Requirements
  • Establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan.
  • Post the accessibility plan on the website.
  • Provide the plan in an accessible format upon request.
  • Review and update the accessibility plan at least once every 5 years.

Compliance measures
  • We are committed to examining and updating our existing accessibility plan at least once every 5 years and to maintaining it.
  • The plan is available on our website and can be provided in an accessible format upon request.

Training

Deadline: January 1, 2015

Status: Ongoing

Requirements
  • Ensure that training is provided on the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities to:
  1. all employees and volunteers
  2. all persons who participate in developing Desjardins Insurance's policies
  3. all other persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of Desjardins Group

Compliance measures
  • Our employees and representatives will receive training, to the extent and in the manner best suited to their roles, on the Ontario accessibility legislation and the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.
  • In our contractual arrangements, we ensure that service providers are trained on the Ontario accessibility legislation and the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.
  • We keep records of deployment activities and updates relating to such training in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Part 2: Information and Communication Standards

Feedback

Deadline: January 1, 2015

Status: Completed

Requirements
  • Ensure that the processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communications supports for persons with disabilities, upon request.
  • Notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.

Compliance measures
  • Our processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible to persons with disabilities or can be made available in an accessible format upon request.

Status: Completed

Accessible formats and communication supports

Deadline: January 1, 2016

Status: Completed

Requirements
  • Upon request, provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities:
  1. in a timely manner that takes into account the person's accessibility needs due to disability and at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
  • Notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.

Compliance measures
  • Upon request and in a timely manner, we will provide information in an accessible format for persons with disabilities, when practicable, failing which communication supports will be provided.
  • We take into account the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Any associated cost will not be higher than the regular cost charged to other persons.
  • We have added a notice about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports to our website.

Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information

Deadline: January 1, 2012

Status: Completed

Requirements
  • Prepare emergency procedures, plans or public safety information and make the information available to the public, and provide the information in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports, upon request.

Compliance measures
  • Upon request, we provide our clients and employees with emergency procedures, plans or public safety information in an accessible format.

Accessible websites and web content

Deadline: January 1, 2014

Status: Ongoing

Requirements
  • Make the Desjardins website and content compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (Level A).

Compliance measures
  • We are working to bring our websites into compliance with the WCAG 2.0 Leval A requirement by implementing the following:
  1. Web accessibility audits on all our websites
  2. Web accessibility best practices in the areas of design, development and quality assurance

Part 3: Employment Standards

Deadline: January 1, 2016

Status: Ongoing

Requirements
  • Notify employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment processes.
  • Notify job applicants, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process, that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used.
  • If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for the provision of a suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant's accessibility needs due to disability.
  • Notify the successful applicant of Desjardins Insurance's policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.
  • Inform employees of its policies used to support its employees with disabilities, including, but not limited to, policies on the provision of job accommodations that take into account an employee's accessibility needs due to disability.
  • Where an employee with a disability so requests it, consult with the employee to provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for information that is needed in order to perform the employee's job and information that is generally available to employees in the workplace.
  • Provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability. If an employee who receives individualized workplace emergency response information requires assistance and with the employee's consent, the employer shall provide the workplace emergency response information to the person designated by the employer to provide assistance to the employee.
  • Develop and have in place a written process for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.
  • Develop and have in place a return to work process for its employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work.
  • Take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when using a performance management process in respect of employees with disabilities.
  • Take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities as well as any individual accommodation plans, when providing career development and advancement to employees with disabilities.
  • Take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities, as well as individual accommodation plans, when redeploying employees with disabilities.

Compliance measures
  • We are revising our recruitment process to take into account the needs of persons with disabilities and comply with the legislation.
  • We are updating our internal onboarding process for successful applicants.
  • Our internal return-to-work process will be updated.
  • We will develop a process for implementing individual accommodation plans in line with the legislation.
  • We are updating our process on job retention and job mobility.
  • We will introduce adaptable solutions for access to information and communication methods.
  • We ensure that our work sites are accessible and that workspace accommodation needs are met.
  • Our performance appraisal process will be updated.
  • We will ensure that our working conditions pertaining to career development, advancement and redeployment take into account the needs of employees with disabilities.