Accessible Client Service Policy

Disclaimer: printed versions of this document may be out of date. Always refer to the Policies and Procedures Intranet site for the most current versions of documents in effect.

Changes to previous version

  • Added “Roles and Responsibilities” section
  • Added to Procedures: Service Animal, Support Person, Notice of Temporary Disruptions


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is provincial legislation created with the purpose of developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility related to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, and buildings, on or before January 1, 2025.

The purpose of this policy is to inform the WECHU’s employees, students, volunteers, and contractors of the WECHU’s obligations and agency expectations of those who deal with members of the public to ensure compliance of the AODA.

In addition, the policy serves to inform members of the public regarding their rights and WECHU’s obligations with respect to:

  1. The provision of services to persons with disabilities;
  2. The use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities;
  3. The use of service animals by persons with disabilities;
  4. The use of support persons by persons with disabilities;
  5. Notice of temporary disruptions in services and facilities;
  6. Client Feedback regarding the provision of services to persons with disabilities;
  7. Notice of availability and Format of documents and meetings.


Accessible: Capable of being entered or reached, approachable; easy to get at; capable of being influenced, obtainable; easy to understand or appreciate.

Assistive Device: A device used to assist persons with disabilities in carrying out activities or in accessing the services of persons or organizations covered by the client Service Standard.

Disability: The term “disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions. A disability may have been present at birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. Section 10 of the Ontario Human Rights Code defines “disability” as:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
  • 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;

Dignity: Respecting and treating every person including persons with a disability as valued and as deserving of effective and full service as any other client.

Equal Opportunity: Having the same chances, options, benefits and results as others. People with disabilities have the same opportunity to benefit from the way you provide goods or services as others.

Service Animal: An animal used to service a person with a disability;

  • if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to their disability; or
  • If the person provides a letter from a regulated health professional confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability Independence: Freedom from control or influence of others, freedom to make your own choices.

Integration of services: Allow people with disabilities to fully benefit from the same service, in the same place and in the same or similar way as other clients. All program and services are designed to be equitably accessible to everyone including people with disabilities.


The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) will provide programs and services in a manner that is based upon the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity to all clients.

Wherever possible, persons with disabilities will benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other clients. Services will be integrated with those provided to persons who do not have disabilities unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability an opportunity equal to obtain, use or benefit from services.


Service Animal: The WECHU will welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal that is not in contravention of any law (i.e. the Municipal By-law) on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and operated by the WECHU. If a service animal is excluded by law, the WECHU will ensure that alternate means are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from goods and services.

If it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, the person with a disability may be required to provide proof. Proof can be from a physician or a nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to his or her disability or documentation that shows the individual is certified as a service animal handler. It is the responsibility of the person with a disability to ensure that his or her service animal is kept in control at all times. Please note that the service animal itself does not need to have identify cards or certificates.

Support Person: The WECHU will welcome people 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 their support person while on the premises. 

To assist with understanding whether a person requires accompaniment by a support person the WECHU will:

  • Consult with the person with a disability to understand their needs
  • Consider health or safety reasons based on available evidence
  • Determine if there is no other reasonable way to protect the health or safety of the person or others on the premises.

In situations where the confidential information of a client with a disability is to be discussed, the WECHU must obtain permission from the client (verbal or written) allowing their support person to be present.

Assistive Devices: A person with a disability may provide their own assistive device for the purpose of obtaining, using and benefiting from the WECHU’s services. Exceptions may occur in situations where the WECHU has determined that the assistive device may pose a risk to the health and safety of the individual or others on the premises. In these situations, the WECHU will offer the person other reasonable measures to assist him or her in obtaining, using and benefiting from the WECHU’s services, where the WECHU has such other measures available. The person with a disability is responsible to ensure that their assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times.


Accessibility of Meetings: Management will ensure that meeting spaces are in an accessible physical environment and that participants have access to the meeting contents and proceedings. Where required to serve the needs of a person with a disability, alternate forms of communication with those in attendance at meetings will be provided where possible. Advanced notice will ensure required forms of communication are available.

Notice of Temporary Disruptions: When temporary disruptions occur, the WECHU will ensure that notice is provided by posting the information in visible places and on the WECHU’s website ( or by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.

The WECHU will provide clients with notice in the event of a planned disruption. In the event of an unplanned disruption of its facilities and services (ex. elevators not operating), the WECHU will make a reasonable effort to provide notice as soon as possible. In both cases, this notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. The notice will be placed at all public entrances and will be provided in accessible format.

Feedback Process: The ultimate goal of the WECHU is to meet and surpass client expectations while serving clients with disabilities. Comments and feedback regarding the way the WECHU provides goods and services to people with disabilities are welcomed and appreciated.

The WECHU will ensure that a feedback process is in place to generate and respond to client suggestions and complaints. Feedback can be made verbally to staff providing the service, or on the WECHU website. Clients can expect to hear a response indicating an explanation on how the WECHU is able or unable to implement the suggestion or if further investigation is necessary.

Format of Health Unit Documents: The WECHU will ensure documents are produced in an alternative format upon request, unless it is not feasible to do so and subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Protection Act

Notice of the Availability of Documents: Communications will ensure all of the WECHU’s web resources are provided in an accessible format or with communication support, on request.

Polices and Procedures: Human Resources will ensure that policies and procedures are provided to employees on behalf of the WECHU. Policies will include but not limited to the following:

  1. Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the 
    requirements of the client service standards.
  2. How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
  3. How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  4. What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing the WECHU’s services.


Failure to comply with this Policy and any associated Procedures may result in appropriate disciplinary measures. Please see WECHU’s Discipline Policy.


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)

Ontario Human Rights Code

Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA)