Tourism businesses in Ontario are reminded of the new requirements for accessible customer service they must meet by January 1, 2012. The customer service standard is the first standard to be implemented under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
The customer service standard applies to all businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to the public or to other businesses and have at least one employee in Ontario. In order to comply with the customer service standard, tourism businesses will have to meet certain requirements such as developing customer service policies and procedures for serving people with disabilities and ensuring staff are trained to deliver accessible customer service.
The Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario have partnered to make resources available to assist tourism and hospitality businesses in meeting requirements of the customer service standard. These resources include case studies, best practices, templates and template guide. The case studies and best practices highlight tourism and hospitality businesses that have proactively established policies to better serve customers with disabilities. This information provides real-life examples of how businesses can address the requirements of the customer service standard.
In addition, templates have been developed to assist business owners and managers to tailor policies and procedures to their own business. Three specific templates are available for restaurants, accommodation businesses and tourism attractions. A guide is also provided to support the use of the templates.
The Ontario Tourism Education Corporation has delivered a series of one-day, interactive workshops across the province designed to assist business owners and managers to prepare for the implementation of the customer service standard. Three remaining workshops are scheduled for this fall in the following locations:
Oct 20th – Toronto
Nov 10th – Ajax
Nov 15th – Sudbury
Tourism businesses in these areas are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to attend one of the workshops.
To access the tourism focused resources and answers to frequently asked questions or to register for one of the three workshops, log on to the website noted below.
The 2011 Accessibility Issue of ORHMA’s Hosting Magazine also provides details on meeting the customer service standard.
In addition, more information on the AODA and the customer service standard, including resources to help you comply, is available at: