Accessibility and Integrated Accessibility Standards Policy and Accessibility Plan
This Policy and Plan confirm the commitment of Goodmans LLP and Goodlaw Services Limited Partnership (collectively referred to as “Goodmans”) to preventing and removing barriers to accessibility, and outlines steps put in place to meet the needs of and improve opportunities for people with disabilities in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). This Policy is reviewed annually, and the Plan will be reviewed at least every five years.
Statement of Commitment
Goodmans is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the AODA.
Accessible Standards for Customer Service
Goodmans is committed to providing services to our clients and client representatives with disabilities in a way that respects the dignity and independence of those individuals. We are committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities receive the same access to and quality of services.
Goodmans has been in compliance with its obligations under the Customer Service Standards of AODA since January 1, 2012.
Goodmans welcomes individuals with disabilities who use service animals. Service animals are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public or other third parties, in accordance with applicable laws.
Clients, client representatives and others with disabilities who require the assistance of a support person will be allowed to have that support person accompany them on Goodmans premises. Appropriate measures will be taken to deal with any confidentiality and/or privilege issues raised by the presence of a support person. Such measures will be determined on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the specific needs of the client or client representative.
Clients, client representatives and other individuals with disabilities may use their own assistive devices to access services provided by Goodmans. To the extent required, Goodmans will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by individuals when accessing our services and any assistive devices made available by Goodmans.
Notice of Temporary Disruptions
In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities that may be used by individuals with disabilities to access services, Goodmans will notify individuals of the disruption promptly. The notice will advise individuals regarding the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and provide a description of alternative services or facilities available, if any.
Goodmans will provide training to firm members, including those who deal with clients, client representatives, third parties and those who are responsible for client service policy development, as required by applicable laws.
In general terms, such training will include the following components:
- an overview of applicable laws related to the provision of services to individuals with disabilities;
- an overview of the Policy and any other practices, policies or procedures developed by Goodmans with respect to the provision of services to individuals with disabilities;
- information regarding how to interact and communicate with individuals with various types of disabilities, including interaction with individuals who use assistive devices, support persons and/or service animals;
- instruction on how to use any assistive devices that Goodmans may have available to assist individuals with disabilities to access services at Goodmans; and
- instruction on what to do if an individual with a disability is having difficulty accessing Goodmans' services.
Goodmans had complied with the requirement to deliver training to firm members in compliance with Ontario’s accessibility laws and training continues to be provided as part of the new hire onboarding process or as soon as practicable thereafter.
Additional training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures and/or practices.
Information and Communications
Goodmans will communicate with individuals with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their disabilities.
Our lawyers and staff communicate with clients, client representatives and others in a variety of ways, including face to face interactions, letters, telephone calls and electronic systems of communications. In determining the appropriate method and form of communication, we will take into account accessibility needs resulting from disabilities.
Clients, client representatives and others are encouraged to identify accessibility needs in communicating and interacting with Goodmans.
All publicly available information shall be provided in an accessible format in a timely manner upon request, at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
Goodmans will notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.
Goodmans is committed to improving our client service by listening to our clients and responding to their feedback. Clients, client representatives, third parties and firm members are encouraged to provide feedback on the way Goodmans provides services
to individuals with disabilities.
Feedback can be directed to:
333 Bay Street, Suite 3400
Toronto, ON M5H 2S7
Individuals can generally expect a response or preliminary response to their feedback within 15 business days of receipt by Goodmans, if the nature of the feedback requires a response. In responding to feedback, Goodmans will take such steps as are necessary to rectify any issues or concerns raised in a manner consistent with the Policy and our commitment to providing excellent and accessible client service. Depending on the circumstances, such steps may include requesting additional information from the individual providing the feedback, investigating specific complaints and/or providing documentation or communications in accessible formats. Goodmans will advise the individual providing the feedback of the results of the feedback review process as appropriate in the circumstances.
Accessible Emergency Information
Goodmans is committed to providing its clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible format upon request. We will also provide firm members with disabilities with individualized emergency response information when necessary.
Goodmans has taken steps to ensure that all websites under its control, and content on those websites published after January 1, 2012, conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA protocols as required by AODA.
Goodmans is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.
Goodmans will take steps to notify the public and staff that, when requested, Goodmans will accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment and assessment processes and when people are hired. Our external application site, postings, offer letters and orientation materials have indicated our Statement of Commitment to people with disabilities as of January 1, 2016.
Goodmans will consider the accessibility needs of firm members with disabilities when implementing performance management processes, or when offering career development or advancement opportunities.
Goodmans has developed and implemented a process for documented individual accommodation plans and a return-to-work protocol for firm members who have been absent due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work.
Goodmans does not maintain kiosks. To the extent that kiosks are introduced in the delivery of services, compliance with accessibility requirements will be addressed.
Design of Public Spaces
Goodmans will meet AODA requirements with respect to the design of public spaces when building or making major modifications to public spaces, including Goodmans' reception and waiting areas, and publicly accessible meeting rooms.
Distribution of Policy
Goodmans will provide a copy of the Policy to individuals requesting it, in an accessible format if required.