Accessibility Standards for Customer Service

Policy Statement

South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company (“the Company”) strives at all times to deliver goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of all persons with disabilities. South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company is committed to being responsive to the needs of all customers/policyholders and ensuring our goods and services are provided in an accessible manner. The “Company” will make reasonable efforts to ensure that policies, practices and procedures address dignity, independence, and equal opportunity through the following key principals.

  • Dignity: Service is provided in a respectful manner consistent with the needs of the individual.

  • Independence: Services for persons with disabilities shall support their independence while respecting their right to safety and personal privacy.

  • Equal Opportunity: Service outcome is the same for persons with disabilities as for persons without disabilities.

  • Integrated: Services allow people with disabilities to benefit from the same services in the same or similar way as other policyholders.

  • Responsive: Service is delivered in a timely manner.


As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005:

“disability” means,

  • (a) 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, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, 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,

  • (b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability,

  • (c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,

  • (d) a mental disorder, or

  • (e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997;


  1. Communication

    • When communicating with persons with a disability, the “Company” will do so in a manner that takes into account their disability.

    • The “Company” will train staff, who communicate with policyholders, on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

    • The “Company” will offer a variety of communication methods for people to access its goods and services to allow individuals to select the method most accessible/suitable to them; for example via telephone, email, letter mail, in person. We will ensure staff is trained to communicate over the telephone, and in person, in clear and plain language, and to speak clearly and slowly

2. Assistive Devices

    • The “Company” is committed to serving persons with disabilities who use assistive devices. Assistive Devices are devices used by persons to assist in carrying out activities or in accessing goods and services. They include but are not limited to:

      • Communication Aids

      • Cognition Aids

      • Personal Mobility Aids

      • Medical Aids
    • The “Company” welcomes persons with disabilities to use their own personal assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from goods and services offered by us.

    • In the event that a person with a disability is hindered from accessing the goods and services offered by the “Company”, we will ensure, after consulting with the person, alternative measures are available to accommodate them.

3. Service Animals

    • The “Company” is committed to welcoming persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal, on the parts of our premises that are open to the public.

    • Service animals are but not limited to, Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, and Seizure Response dogs. A service animal is defined as:

      • Any animal where it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability and/or the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse or any other government issued certification confirming that the person requires the animal relating to the disability.

    • We will ensure staff is properly trained on how to interact with persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

    • Service animals are to be leashed or otherwise properly controlled. If a service animal becomes disruptive, we may arrange an alternate meeting format, alternate time or alternate location.

4. Support Persons

    • The “Company” is committed to welcoming persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises in areas open to the public.

    • A support person means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods and services.

    • When attended by a support person, consent from the person being supported must be obtained prior to disclosing confidential/personal information.

5. Format of Documentation

    • The “Company” is committed to providing accessible documentation to all of our customers/policyholders.

    • Upon request, the “Company”, will provide insurance documents (e.g. forms, wordings, invoices, print materials) or the information contained within the documents in formats that take into account a person’s disability.

    • The “Company” shall consult with the person requesting the documents as to what a reasonable accessible alternative format of the document or information would be.

    • Staff will be instructed that upon request for an alternative format, they promptly advise their Department Manager who will then consult with the President if needed.

    • The time frame for providing documentation in alternative format will vary depending on media chosen and complexity of the conversion. Should the information in the documents be required by the customer/policyholder sooner than the conversion can be completed, the information will be communicated promptly in a way that is accessible to the customer/policyholder. No fees shall be charged for obtaining documentation in alternate format.

    • The “Company’s” website is accessible to those persons using a screen reader and is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0.

6. Disruption of Services

    • In the event a temporary service disruption occurs, whether planned or unplanned, that would limit a person with a disability from gaining access to our premises and or goods and services, the “Company” will post notice of the disruption.

    • Notice will include information on the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration and a description of alternative accommodations.

    • The means of the notice may be any or all of the following:

      • Posted on all entrance doors

      • Our Website

    • If an unexpected disruption occurs, persons with disabilities will be accommodated by the use of other means possible to deliver the goods and services such as:

      • A company representative may provide the goods and service directly to the person with the disability at an alternate place and time.

      • Any other measures available and deemed appropriate to deliver the goods and services.

      • If appropriate /required delivery of the goods/service to the persons place of residence.

7. Training

    • The “Company” will ensure that all employees and who deal with the public will receive training on the accessible provision of its goods and services to persons with disabilities.

    • Staff will be trained on policies, procedures and practices that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities.

      • The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

      • How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.

      • Instruction on how to interact with persons with disabilities who use assistive devices or require the assistance of a service animal or support person.

      • Instruction on what to do if a person is having difficulty accessing goods and services from the “Company”.
    • Training will be incorporated into the orientation process of new employees/agents. In addition all employees will receive further comprehensive training should there be changes to this policy.

    • Training records will be maintained and will record the details of the training provided, the name of the person, location, and date the training was provided.

8. Feedback

    • This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers/policyholders with disabilities. Comments regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.

    • Feedback may be provided by a person with a disability in a manner deemed most convenient to them, such as by telephone, in writing or by email.
    • Feedback/Comments may be provided to:

      South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company
      62 Woodstock St. S., PO BOX 33
      Tavistock ON N0B 2R0

      Phone: 519-655-2011
      Fax: 519-655-2021
      Email: seins(at)


    • All feedback will be kept in confidence and used to improve customer service. A response will be provided within 30 days, in the same manner as to which it was received.

    • Complaints will be addressed according to the Company’s existing complaint handling protocol.

9. Notice of Availability of Documents

    • This policy will be made available upon request in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.

    • A copy of this policy is available for employees to view in print (AODA Manual) and in pdf format to which a link has been provided in the training materials.

10. Modifications to This or Other Policies

    • The “Company” is committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.

    • Any policy of the “Company” that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified.

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