FERNANDES HEARN CLIENT ACCESSABILITY AND SERVICE POLICY
Fernandes Hearn LLP (the “Firm”) is committed to ensuring that we provide services to our clients and client representatives with disabilities in an accessible manner, and in a way that respects the dignity and independence of those individuals. The Firm’s commitment to ensuring accessible service is part of our overall objectives of providing excellent client service and promoting diversity.
The Firm’s Accessible Client Service Policy (the “Policy”) establishes policies, practices and procedures relating to the Firm’s provision of services to clients, client representatives and other third parties. The Firm may implement additional policies, practices and/or procedures in this regard, including those contained in client service training materials. However, all such additional policies, practices and procedures will be consistent with the Policy.
The Firm 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 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 the Firm.
The Firm 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 the Firm’s 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 the Firm. To the extent required, the Firm 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 the Firm.
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, the Firm 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.
The notice will be posted and/or communicated to individuals with disabilities in a manner that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Training of Staff
The Firm will provide training to staff who deal with clients, client representatives or other 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 the Firm 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 the Firm may have available to assist individuals with disabilities to access services at the Firm; and
- instruction on what to do if an individual with a disability is having difficulty accessing Firm services.
The Firm will provide required training in connection with changes to the Policy or any other related policies, practices or procedures.
The Firm is committed to improving our client service by listening to our clients and responding to their feedback. Clients, client representatives and other third parties are encouraged to provide feedback on the way the Firm provides services to individuals with disabilities.
Feedback can be directed to:
Gordon Hearn, Partner
155 University Avenue, Suite 700,
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3B7
Individuals can generally expect a response or preliminary response to their feedback within 7 business days of receipt by the Firm of the feedback, if the nature of the feedback requires a response. In responding to feedback, the Firm 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. The Firm will advise the individual providing the feedback of the results of the feedback review process as appropriate in the circumstances.
Distribution of Policy
The Firm will provide a copy of the Policy to individuals requesting it, in an accessible format if required.