The Customer Service Accessibility Standard focuses on policy, training and good communication practices to provide barrier-free customer service. By addressing attitudes, knowledge and basic practices, the goal is to achieve barrier-free customer service in the public and private sectors.
The first standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act requires all Manitoba organizations with one or more employees to establish and implement measures, policies and practices that:
- identify barriers to accessible customer service in relation to the goods and services it provides
- seek to remove existing barriers so that persons with disabilities can reasonably obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services the organization provides
- if an existing barrier cannot be removed, seek to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided access to the goods or services by alternate means
- ensure that a fee or charge that relates to accommodating a person with a disability is only imposed if the organization cannot reasonably accommodate the person otherwise
There are different timelines for organizations to meet the standard.
- The Manitoba government to comply within one year: November 1, 2016
- The public sector to comply within two years: November 1, 2017
- Private and non-profit organizations to comply within three years: November 1, 2018
The Accessibility Advisory Council has the responsibility under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act to make recommendations to the Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities regarding the development of accessibility standards. It is made up of 11 members with diverse backgrounds and experience, including representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, business, municipalities and other organizations. The Committee has been meeting regularly since February 2014. Meeting summaries have been provided to the public on the government’s website. The ideas, questions and concerns of stakeholders were considered in the preparation of this Proposed Customer Service Standard for the Minister’s review and consideration.
For 60 days, from March 12 through to May 11, 2015, the proposed standard was posted for public comment on the Disabilities Issues Office (DIO) website. After these public consultations were held, comments were reviewed and the Accessibility Advisory Council created a report to present to the Manitoba Government.