Senior Discovery Tours aims to improve the everyday lives of people with disabilities.

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Summary

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is a law that was passed by the Province of Ontario which allows the government to develop and enforce specific standards for accessibility to improve the accessibility across the province. The standards are intended to achieve accessibility for people with disabilities in the areas of customer service, transportation, the built environment, information and communication and employment.

The Customer Service Regulation establishes accessibility standards for the provision of goods and services and applies to private sector organizations as of January 1, 2012. Senior Discovery Tour’s policies, practices and procedures for accessible service outlines and documents the company’s approach to accessible customer service for residents of Ontario.

The document is available upon request from our Head Office:

Senior Discovery Tours
225 Eglinton Avenue West
Toronto, ON M4R 1A9

The accompanying plan was prepared by Senior Management of Senior Discovery Tours Canada and it describes our approach to accessible customer service and the measures we have undertaken to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to people with disabilities to use the facilities and services of our 4 offices in Ontario including staff and clients.

Management will meet on a bi-annual basis and review the policy and should they identify any new barriers they will be prioritized and actioned in a timely manner.

In accordance with the requirements of the “Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act”, Senior Discovery Tours maintains an Accessible Customer Service Plan and the details of our plan are outlined in the policies listed below:

If for any reason you are unable to download these documents, you can contact our office by e-mail or simply call us and we will be happy to send you copies by mail. Any questions or concerns you have about our plan should be directed to our Head Office – Marketing and Communications Director who can be reached by phone or e-mail.

Our plan consists of the following segments.

1. Customer Service Standard
2. Communication
3. Assistive Devices
4. Use of Support Persons and Service Animals
5. Use of Oxygen and Transportation
6. Feedback
7. Staff Training
8. Public Access to our Plan

Policy 1 – Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to providing services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities and we will make a reasonable effort to ensure the following:

1. Goods and services are provided in a respectful manner acknowledging the independence and dignity of those with disabilities ensuring they are as valued and deserving as any other customer. Customers with disabilities will not be treated as an afterthought or forced to accept a lesser service, quality or convenience.

2. The goods and services we provide to individuals with disabilities are the same as those provided to others, unless an alternative measure is necessary to allow a person with a disability to benefit. This alternative measure may be temporary or permanent.

3. Communication with a disabled person will be conducted in a manner which takes into account that individual’s disability.

4. Disabled people may use assistive devices, service animals and support programs as are necessary to access the services of Senior Discovery Tours, unless superseded by other legislation.

5. Persons with disabilities are provided equal opportunity to access, use and benefit from the goods and services of Senior Discovery Tours in the same or similar way, unless superseded by other legislation.

Aim

This Accessible Customer Service Plan and policies apply to all SDT employees and facilities of Senior Discovery Tours in the province of Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and follow the guidelines which we have laid out in our plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, amputation, lack of physical coordination, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. The definition also includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effect of which may come and go.

2. “Assistive Devices” are defined as aids for communication, cognition, personal mobility or medical aids. These can include (but are not limited to) crutches, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids and portable oxygen units.

Policy 2 – Communication

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to communicating in ways that take into account an individual’s disability and we will make a reasonable effort to ensure the following:

1. Our staff is trained to communicate with customers who have various types of disabilities as stated in the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service training materials.

2. Our HR and General Manager will train staff the importance of speaking in a clear, concise manner on the phone when it is necessary for an individual to comprehend.

3. We will offer to communicate with customers in person or via e-mail if phone communication is not suitable or not available.

4. Our website has been developed in a scalable font which can be adjusted to meet the needs of anyone who is visually impaired.

5. All of our tour documentation is provided as a hard copy by mail or if requested by e-mail and our staff are always available to answer questions in person, by phone or by e-mail.

Process

Communication in person: All of our offices in Ontario are accessible to those requiring mobility aids such as walkers, wheelchairs or scooters.

Communication by phone: All of our phones are equipped with volume controls that may assist with hearing impairment. If the volume controls are not adequate customers may send their communication to us by e-mail.

Communication by e-mail: All of our office staff is assigned e-mail addresses and we have a general enquiry address on our website which is regularly monitored. Tour information and invoices can be sent by e-mail if requested.

Communication by mail: All of our staff can send information by mail and if necessary they will maintain a written dialogue if other modalities are not viable.

The scope of this policy applies to all SDT employees in our branch offices in the province of Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario and trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and follow the guidelines which we have laid out in our plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

2. “Assistive Devices” are defined as aids for communication, cognition, personal mobility or medical aids. These can include (but are not limited to) crutches, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids and portable oxygen units.

Policy 3 – Assistive Devises

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain information about our services and we will make a reasonable effort to ensure the following:

1. We will train our staff and ensure they are familiar with assistive devices that may be used by our customers while accessing our services. These devices include (but are not limited to) mobility aids such as walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters, hearing and vision aids and portable oxygen units.

2. We will communicate the limitations of our services to those with disabilities in our brochures, on our website and through our telephone conversations with customers who contact us. These limitations result from the legislation that supersedes the AODA.

3. We will communicate the physical demands of each tour on all of our descriptions in our brochure and our website.

Process

Senior Discovery Tours has developed policies which will enable us to serve customers with mobility aids, hearing and vision aids, oxygen and mental and cognitive disabilities as these seem to be the most common amidst our target audience. We will make a reasonable effort to ensure that those with any other assistive devices can access our services where appropriate and where our services are not superseded by other legislation.

1. Limitations of Services: Senior Discovery Tours staff are unable to provide individual assistance to a customer who has mobility issues and cannot walk, getting on and off the coach while on tour or assist in any other personal needs. Currently the coaches we contract are not equipped to board wheelchairs as per current legislation. If customers require special assistance that cannot be provided by a partner who is capable for providing this special assistance, we may be unable to offer services. Customers are advised to communicate any special needs they may have at the time of booking in order to determine if our services are appropriate for their needs or if any alternative measures are required.

2. Mobility Aids: Customers must advise Senior Discovery Tours if they are travelling with any mobility aids such as a walker, wheelchair or scooter so that arrangements can be made in accordance with transportation legislation. At the current time the coaches we contract can only allow for one scooter and they are not equipped with wheelchair lifts, ramps or AC power adapters on board and as such all aids must be manual or battery powered.

3. Vision or Hearing Aids: Customers should advise Senior Discovery Tours in advance of any hearing or vision disabilities as the coaches we contract are not equipped with onboard individual volume controlled units to assist those with hearing impairment. Customers should inform our staff so that we can make alternative arrangements to share information by providing one-on-one conversations. The coaches we currently contract are not equipped with AC adapters onboard, therefore all aids must be battery powered or manual.

4. Support Animals: Guide dogs are permitted but customers must notify us in advance so that we can contact other passengers to ensure that the dog will not cause harm to other customers (such as allergies). All of our policies regarding support animals is clearly documented in our Policy 4 – Support Persons and Service Animals.

5. Oxygen: Customers using oxygen must advise Senior Discovery Tours at the time of booking their tour. Oxygen safety and storage measures are determined by the Ministry of Transportation and the Canadian Border Service Agency, and take precedent over the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service. For reasons of safety, Senior Discovery Tours cannot guarantee the accommodation of oxygen on any coach until confirmed by a third party land operator.

6. Mental or Cognitive Disabilities: Customers should advise Senior Discovery Tours of any mental or cognitive disabilities before purchasing any of our services to determine if alternative arrangements need to be made to the service purchased. Senior Discovery Tours staff cannot provide individual assistance to a customer for orientation or personal needs. If customers require special assistance that cannot be provided by a support person accompanying them, who is capable and totally responsible for providing this special assistance then we may not be able to offer our services to this customer.

Aim

This policy concerning assistive devices applies to all of our employees and branch offices in the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Assistive devices” is an umbrella term that includes medical aids for cognition, communication and personal mobility and they can include (but are not limited to) walkers, canes, crutches, hearing aids and portable oxygen units.

2. “Cognitive or Mental Disabilities” as defined in the Human Rights Code incorporates (but is not limited to) any condition of mental impairment or developmental disability, a learning disability or dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in communication, a mental disorder, or an illness or injury which affects mental and/or cognitive functions.

Policy 4 – Use of Support Persons and Service Animals

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with required support people or service animals to obtain, use or benefit from our service and reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the following:

1. We welcome anyone with a disability on our premises including those accompanied by a support person or service animal.

Process

1. Limitations of Services:
Senior Discovery Tours cannot provide individual assistance to a customer who is unable to walk, get on and off a coach or any other personal needs. If a customer requires special assistance of any kind that cannot be provided by their support person who is totally responsible for assisting them, we may be unable to offer our services. Customers are advised to tell our consultants about any special needs they may have in their initial conversation, in order for us to determine if our service is appropriate for their needs or if any alternative measures can be taken to assist the individual with a disability.

2. Support Animals:
Service animals are permitted on all of our premises and offices in Ontario however, due to the space limitation on a bus customers must notify us in advance of the presence of a service animal so that we may contact all the other tour participants to ensure that another person’s health will not be impacted by the presence of an animal. Should another customer be affected we will do our best to ensure that every reasonable effort is made to develop an alternative for the individual with the service animal. If no viable alternative is available we may then not be able to offer our services to one of the customers.

3. Senior Discovery Tour’s Requirements for a Support Person:
Any customer that has purchased one of our tours who has been deemed by our staff to require individual assistance for mobility, personal and/or medical needs will be required by Senior Discovery Tours to be accompanied by a support person. This will apply to any future services we may offer this individual. If a support person not be obtained then Senior Discovery Tours may not be able to offer services.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and offices the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Service Animals” are specially trained at one of the facilities in Ontario Regulation to perform tasks which benefit a person with a disability.

2. “Support Persons” is another person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care of medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Policy 5 – Use of Medical Oxygen and Transportation

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities who require oxygen to obtain, use or benefit from our service and reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the following:

1. We will strive to facilitate the needs of anyone who requires oxygen ensuring the environment is safe and secure while working within the guidelines of other legislation.

Process

1. Limitations of Services:
Senior Discovery Tours will ensure that the third party whose coaches we currently contract follow the Department of Transportation’s precautions to assure that medical oxygen being transported for passengers’ personal use is handled and transported safely. For the safety of the staff and other customers our contractor may limit the number of cylinders to be transported on board the vehicle to the extent practicable. It is the responsibility of the individual with a disability to communicate their special need to our staff at the time of booking in order for us to determine if services for their needs are appropriate or we need to seek out an alternative measure.

2. Carrying/Transporting Oxygen on a bus:
Oxygen should be transported in a cylinder maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. A limited number of oxygen cylinders are permitted in the passenger area of the bus. All oxygen cylinders will be closely examined by the staff to assure that it is free of cracks or leaks, around the area valve and pressure relief device and any cylinder that is dented, gouged or pitted will not be transported. The use of oxygen is prohibited while the bus is moving.

3. Transporting Oxygen in the Cargo bay:
Oxygen cylinders placed in the cargo bay should be placed in a specially designed secure travelling case and placed in an upright position. Valves should be protected against and each cylinder should be secured against movement and protected against accidental discharge. The total weight for oxygen cylinders permitted in a bus cargo compartment is 99 lbs. (45kg). Senior Discovery Tours staff must be informed of any

4. The Transportation of Medical Oxygen into the United States:
Any customer who requires medical oxygen must bring the appropriate documentation for approval of the Border Service Agency officials. This documentation must specify the name of the supplier, the size of the tank, number of cylinders being transported in addition to a medical prescription indicating the reason for use.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and offices the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. Compressed Oxygen
2. Compressed Oxygen
3. Cylinder opening

Policy 6 – Notice of Temporary Disruption

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities wishing to obtain and benefit from our services and we will make reasonable efforts to ensure the following:

1. We will provide customers with a notification in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in any of our facilities which are usually used by those with disabilities.

Process

1. Content of Notice for a planned or unexpected disruption:
Senior Discovery Tours will post a notice advising of a planned or unexpected disruption to any of their facilities or services in Ontario for the benefit of those with disabilities and this notice will indicate the reason for the disruption, the expected length and a description of an alternative facilities or services, if available.

2. Location of Notice for a planned or unexpected disruption:
The notice of disruption to any of our services or facilities will be clearly posted at the public entrance of Senior Discovery Tours office, at our reception counter and on our website or by any other reasonable method that that will allow the dissemination of this information to people with disabilities seeking access to our services, if available.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and facilities of Senior Discovery Tours offices the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, amputation, lack of physical coordination, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. The definition also includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effect of which may come and go.

Policy 7 – Feedback

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities who wish to obtain and/or benefit from our services and we will make reasonable efforts to ensure the following:

1. We will provide customers with a process which they can offer feedback about the manner in which we provide services to those with disabilities.

2. We are committed to enhancing our customer service policies that respect the independence and dignity of those with abilities. We will modify or remove any portion of our policy that is contrary to this commitment and reasonable efforts will be made to accomplish this, unless superseded by other legislation.

Process

1. Methods for Feedback:
Any customer who wishes to give us feedback about the manner in which we provide services to people with disabilities may contact us by telephone, mail, e-mail or in person at any of our offices in Ontario.

2. The Complaint Process:
Any feedback we receive will be directed to our Senior Management and customers will receive a written response or an e-mail within 10 business days of receiving a complaint. In the case of a written response this does not take into consideration the reliability of delivery by Canada Post.

3. Clarification of our Policy:
Any questions pertaining to our Accessible Customer Service Plan policies should be directed to our Senior Management Team whose role is to ensure that Senior Discovery Tours achieves delivery of outstanding customer service to those with disabilities. Should any clarification of our policies be required please contact our Marketing and Communications Department.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and facilities of Senior Discovery Tours offices the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, amputation, lack of physical coordination, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Policy 8 – Staff Training

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities who wish to obtain and/or benefit from our services and we will make reasonable efforts to ensure the following:

1. We will provide training to all of our staff who deal with the public and those involved in the development and approval of our customer service policies, practices and procedures.

Process

1. Which Staff Will Receive Training:
All staff employed by Senior Discovery Tours will receive training and some of the front-line staff such as our tour consultants and tour managers may receive additional training as required.

2. Timeframe of Training:
This training will be given within a calendar year of the employee’s employment. Senior Management will ensure that the staff kept abreast of any changes made to this legislation.

3. Inclusions of Training:
Our training will teach the staff how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities, familiarization of common types of assistive devices that customers use, instruction on how to interact and behave with people who require the assistance of service animals or support people, instruction on the basic use of any on site equipment that helps people with disabilities, instruction on what to do is a customer is having difficulty accessing our services. Lastly, our staff will be given a comprehensive overview of the policies of the Accessible Customer Service Plan in order them have a good understanding of the plan so they can provide excellent customer service to those with disabilities.

4. Reporting Documentation:
Senior Discovery Tours will maintain the appropriate documentation indicating staff training and if required make these records available for inspection.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and facilities of Senior Discovery Tours offices in Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, amputation, lack of physical coordination, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. The definition also includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effect of which may come and go.

Policy 9 – Public Access to our Plan

Senior Discovery Tours is committed to serving people with disabilities who wish to obtain and/or benefit from our services and we will make reasonable efforts to ensure the following:

1. Our Customer Service Plan and policies are accessible to any of the general public on request.

Process

1. Provision of Access to the Plan:
Any customer who wishes to receive a written or e-mailed copy of our policies relating to the Accessible Customer Service Plan may obtain a copy by contacting Oedile Daniels, Marketing and Communications. A copy of this plan can be downloaded or viewed in pdf format on our website.
2. Available Formats:
Our plan is available is available in print or e-mail upon request.

Aim

This policy applies to all of our employees and facilities of Senior Discovery Tours offices the Ontario.

Responsibility

Senior Management will be responsible for ensuring that all of our employees in Ontario are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, and follow the guidelines as set out in this plan.

Definitions

1. “Disability” as defined by the Human Rights Code is any degree of physical infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by injury, birth defect or illness. These can include (but are not limited to) diabetes, learning disability, epilepsy, amputation, lack of physical coordination, visual or hearing impairment, mental impairment or disorder, or any disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. The definition also includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effect of which may come and go.

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