Accessibility Policy

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Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics is committed to ensuring all employees have the training required under the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and to provide training on how to deliver the required customer service standards.


  • Understand the purpose of the AODA and the required customer service standards;
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use assistive devices, a service animal or a support person;
  • What to do if a person with a particular disability is having difficulty accessing our services;
  • Understand the Company’s customer service standard policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to people with disabilities.


The Accessibility Standard for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07 is a law in Ontario with the purpose of developing, implementing and mandating accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities, with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises. The Customer Service Standard involves understanding that customers with disabilities may have different needs and determining the best way to help them access the services available.

A disability is defined by AODA as:

Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, and degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination,

blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device or;

  • A condition or mental impairment or a development disability, or;
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language, or;
  • A mental disorder, or an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; (“handicap”).

At such time as new or revised standards are developed under the AODA, the Company will review and update this policy, as necessary to ensure consistency.



  • Identify different barriers met by persons with disabilities and their specific needs;
  • Learn how to interact with people with disabilities;
  • Respond appropriately to a customer with a disability.


Vision Loss – The person may have partial vision; therefore one must not assume that they cannot see. Provide clear and precise verbal directions. Avoid saying “over there” or using hand gestures as directions.

Hearing Loss – Don’t shout; simply ask “how can I help?” You might need an alternative form of communication. Therefore, you may need to conduct your conversations in writing using pen and paper. Make sure the person can see your full face in order to help with lip reading.

Deaf-Blind – Don’t assume a deaf-blind person has no vision or hearing. Not all vision or hearing loss is complete. Identify yourself to the person’s intervener when you initially approach the person, but then speak directly to the person who is deaf-blind.

Mental Health Disabilities – Remain patient. Allow the person the time to process the information and get their message across. If the person appears to be in crisis, ask them how you can best help them.

Speech and Language Impairments – Be patient if they speak slowly or with a stutter. It is insulting for the person if you cut them off to complete their sentences. Ask closed questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Don’t assume a person with a speech impairment must also have a developmental disability.

Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities – Provide information in sections, don’t overwhelm the person with too many details at once. Confirm that the person understands what you have said by having them repeat what you have said back to you in their own words.

Learning Disabilities – Allow the person the extra time they need to process the information you have given them. It may take them longer to respond to you. Remain patient and be ready to repeat explanations if necessary.

Physical / Mobility Disabilities – Ask before you offer help. Persons with physical disabilities will have their own ways of doing things. Make sure that the person with the physical disability is aware of the accessible features available to them (automatic doors, accessible washrooms, elevators, etc.).

Mental Health Disabilities – Such disabilities: Include anxiety disorders (phobias, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders) and mood disorders (depression, bi-polar), as well as schizophrenia. You likely won’t know that the person has a mental health disability unless you are informed of it. Usually it will not affect your interaction, however in some cases, it may and you should be prepared for this possibility.

Sensory Disability – A person with a smelling disability or hypersensitivity to odours and smells may have allergies or may be unable to identify dangerous gases, smoke, fumes, and spoiled food. A person with touch disabilities could have numbness and the inability to feel sensations.

General Tips for all Disabilities:

  • Speak directly to the person, not to their interpreter or support person. Speak normally, do not speak slowly and loudly;
  • Don’t touch or speak to service animals. They are not pets; they are “on the job” and need to be left alone to focus;
  • Treat any assistive device the person may be using as part of their physical space and only touch it if asked to;


Instead of Use
Visual Impaired Person with impairment
Confined to wheelchair Person who uses a wheelchair
Cripple, cripples, lame Person with mobility impairment
(The)Deaf Person who is deaf
Hearing Impaired Person who is hard of hearing
Handicapped Person with a disability
Handicapped parking Accessible parking
Handicapped bathrooms Accessible bathrooms
Mentally retarded Person with an intellectual disability


Ensure that all persons receive the same value and quality of customer service. Remember to treat people with disabilities in the same manner that you would treat all other clients.

Remember to T-A-L-K with them:

  • Take – the time to offer assistance from the beginning. Learn and understand the needs and requirements of persons with disabilities when they enter the clinic. They have the same needs as persons that do not have disabilities.
  • Ask – don’t assume. Never assist unless you are asked to, as you would with a person without a disability, unless it is a clear emergency.
  • Listen – attentively and speak directly to the person with a disability, instead of their companion / attendant.
  • Know – the accommodations and special services available – be knowledgeable about services that are available in your immediate area and in your community. Remember to ask “May I help you?” These are four easy words that convey a great message.


A barrier is anything that prevents a person with a disability from accessing a service or standard of service available to others, or anything that makes it difficult for them to take part in society.

A Barrier could be:

  • Physical or architectural – these can include poor lighting, cluttered aisles, or counters that are too high;
  • Information or communication which may include small print or complicated fonts; signs or directions that are difficult to understand; websites that are difficult to navigate;
  • Attitudinal barriers are those that discriminate against people with disabilities. Example: thinking that people with disabilities are inferior or assuming that a person who has a speech impairment can’t understand you;
  • Technological – posting documents on websites that cannot be accessed or viewed by people with visual disabilities who are using screen readers;
  • Policy or practice – ensure policies and procedures focus on treating everyone fairly.


Impairment is a reduction in physical or mental function as a result of a medical condition. The medical condition could be caused by an injury, disease or other disorder.

Interacting with Persons Who Use a Service Animal

  • Remember that a service animal is not a pet. It is a working animal.
  • Avoid touching or addressing service animals. They are working and have to pay attention at all times.
  • Avoid making assumptions about the animal. Not all service animals wear special collars or harnesses. If you are not sure if the animal is a pet or a service animal, ask the person.
  • Remember your customer is responsible for the care and supervision of their service animal.

Support Persons

If a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics will ensure that both parties are allowed to enter the premises open to the public.

Interacting with a Person who has a Support Person

A person with a disability might not introduce their support person. Take the lead from the person using or requesting your services. Speak directly to the person, not to their support person.


What is an assistive device – an assistive device is a tool, technology or other mechanism that enables a person with a disability to do everyday tasks and activities such as moving, communicating or lifting. It helps the person to maintain their independence at home, at work and in the community.

How do I interact with a person who uses an assistive device – many persons with disabilities will have their own personal assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, scooters or walkers. Don’t touch or handle an assistive device without permission. If you have permission to move a person in a wheelchair remember to:

  • Wait for and follow the person’s instructions;
  • Confirm that the person is ready to move;
  • Describe what you are going to do before you do it;
  • Don’t leave the person in an awkward, dangerous or undignified position such as facing a wall or in the path of opening doors.
  • Let the person know about accessible features in the immediate environment (E.g. automatic doors, accessible washrooms).



  • Recognize the situation;
  • Evaluate the situation;
  • Approach the situation with the right attitude;
  • Control the situation;
  • Help the customer.
  • Create a positive atmosphere for persons with disabilities;
  • Respect their dignity and independence;
  • Ensure an opportunity to obtain goods and services equal to that given to others;
  • Allow persons with a disability to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in a similar way to other persons.

Placing a Bell Relay Service Call

Telecommunications Relay Service, also known as TRS, Relay Service, or IP-Relay, or Web-based relay services, is an operator service that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to place calls to standard telephone users via keyboard or assistive device. You can find out more about this service at:

  1. Phone the Relay Service number (1-800-855-0511).
  2. Tell the operator your name, the name of the person you are calling and the number you wish to reach.
  3. The operator will make the call for you. You speak to the operator as if you were talking directly to the person you are calling. For example, say “Hi, How are you doing?” Do not say “Tell him/her I say hello”.
  4. Remember to say “Go Ahead” when you finish speaking, so the person on the other end will know it is their turn to speak.
  5. If you normally speak very quickly, the operator may ask you to speak more slowly so your message can be typed while you are speaking. There will be a brief silences as the operator types to the TTY user and the user replies.


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