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Accessibility

5.1.38 Accessibility Policy – Customer Service

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy is to recognizeNorth Bay Hydro Distribution Limited (NBDHL) obligations to facilitate the implementation of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2002 (AODA) and Ontario Regulation 429/07 (Accessibility Standards for Customer Service).

Definitions:

  • Accessibility standard, means an accessibility standard made by regulation under Section 6 of the AODA.
  • Barrier, as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 – means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.
  • Blind person, means a person who because of blindness is dependent on a guide dog or white cane.
  • Disability, as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Ontario Human Rights Code -
    • a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, o   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.
    • a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
    • 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,
  • Guide dog, means a dog trained as a guide for a blind person having the qualifications prescribed by the regulations under the Blind Persons Rights’ Act.
  • Service Animal, as reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07 – an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or if the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability 
  • Support Person, as reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07 – 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 or services.

Policy Statement:

NBDHL is committed to providing quality goods and services that are accessible to people with disabilities.

General Principles

In accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, this policy addresses the following:

  1. The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities;
  2. The Use of Assistive Devices
  3. The Use of Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
  4. The Use of Support Persons
  5. Notice of Service Disruptions
  6. Customer Feedback
  7. Training
  1. The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities
  2. In accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, this policy addresses the following:

    • ensuring that all customers receive the same value and quality;
    • allowing customers with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as this does not present a safety risk;
    • using alternative methods when possible to ensure that customers with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
    • taking into account individual needs when providing goods and services; and
    • communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.

     

  3. Assistive Devices
  4. Customer’s own assistive device(s):

    Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by NBHDL. 

    In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services.

    It should be noted, it is the responsibility of the person with a disability to ensure his/her assistive device is operated in a safe and controlled manner at all times.

     

  5. Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs
  6. A customer with a disability that is accompanied by guide dog, service animal or service dog will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. ”No pet“ policies do not apply to guide dogs, service animals and/or service dogs.

    Recognizing a Guide Dog, Service Dog and/or Service Animal:

    If it is not readily apparent that the animal is being used by the customer for reasons relating to his or her disability, NBHDL may request verification from the customer. Verification may include:

    • a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;
    • a valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or,
    • a certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.

    Care and Control of the Animal:

    The customer that is accompanied by a guide dog, service dog and/or service animal is responsible for maintaining care and control of the animal at all time.

    Allergies:

    If a health and safety concern presents itself for example in the form of a severe allergy to the animal, NBHDL will make all reasonable efforts to meet the needs of all individuals.

     

  7. Support Persons
  8. If a customer with a disability is accompanied by a support person, NBHDL will ensure that both persons are allowed to enter the premises together and that the customer is not prevented from having access to the support person.

    There may be times where seating and availability prevent the customer and support person from sitting beside each other. In these situations NBHDL will make every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.

    In situations where confidential information might be discussed, consent will be obtained from the customer, prior to any conversation where confidential information might be discussed.

     

  9. Notice of Disruptions in Service

    Service disruptions may occur due to reasons that may or may not be within the control or knowledge of NBHDL. In the event of any temporary disruptions to facilities or services that customer’s with disabilities rely on to access or use NBHDL’s goods or services, reasonable efforts will be made to provide advance notice. In some circumstances such as in the situation of unplanned temporary disruptions, advance notice may not be possible.

    Notifications will Include:

    In the event that a notification needs to be posted the following information will be included unless it is not readily available or known:

    • goods or services that are disrupted or unavailable
    • reason for the disruption
    • anticipated duration
    • a description of alternative services or options

    Notifications Options:

    When disruptions occur NBHDL will provide notice by:

    • The notice will be placed the public entrance and service counters on our premises and on NBHDL’s website at www.northbayhydro.com;
    • contacting customers with appointments;
    • verbally notifying customers when they are making an appointment; or
    • by any other method that may be reasonable under the circumstances.

     

  10. Feedback Process
  11. Comments/Feedback from people with disabilities on the way NBHDL provides services to people with disabilities are welcomed and appreciated. The NBHDL Feedback Process allows for comments/feedback, as well as, specifying the actions that will be taken by the NBHDL if complaints or suggestions are received.

    People with disabilities who wish to provide comments/feedback on the way NBHDL provides services to people with disabilities can do so:

    In person to the Human Resources Generalist

    By telephone, via direct line: 705 474-8100 ext. 314

    In writing to the attention of Human Resources , PO Box 3240, North Bay, ON, P1B 8Y5

    Customer Service Feedback form is available on NBHDL’s website at www.northbayhydro.com.

    Actions taken by the North Bay Hydro:

    Once the feedback has been received the following actions/process will be implemented:

    a) If the feedback is received by an employee other than Human Resources Generalist/Management Team staff person will forward to their supervisor.

    b) All feedback will be directed to the Human Resources Generalist.

    c) The relevant staff person will take appropriate action in a timely manner with the assistance of members of other departments if needed.

    d) People with disabilities can expect to hear back in 10 or less business days.

    e) Whether the feedback is intended to be a helpful suggestion or a complaint, the staff person along with Human Resources Generalist will assess current policies, practices, and procedures to determine if any changes are required.

    f) Employees will follow up with the person who submitted the feedback if more clarification is needed or if the person has requested that follow up take place. When communicating with a person with a disability it will be done in a manner that takes into consideration a person’s disability;

    g) Employees will keep records of all steps including any discussions with the person submitting the feedback and any action.

     

  12. Training

    Training will be provided to:

    a) all employees and/or contractors who deal with the public or other third parties that act on behalf of NBHDL; and,

    b) those who are involved in the development and approval of customer service policies, practices and procedures.

    Training Provisions:

    As reflected in Ontario Regulation 429/07, regardless of the format, training will cover the following:

    • A review of the purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
    • A review of the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07.
    • Instructions on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
    • Instructions on how to interact with people with disabilities who:
      • use assistive devices;
      • require the assistance of a guide dog, service dog or other service animal; or
      • require the use of a support person
    • Instructions on what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing your services.
    • NBHDL’s policies, procedures and practices pertaining to providing accessible customer service to customers with disabilities.
  13. Training Schedule:

    NBHDL will provide training as soon as practicable. Training will be provided to new employees, and/or contractor who deal with the public or act on our behalf NBHDL. Revised training will be provided in the event of changes to legislation, procedures and/or practices.

    Record of Training:

    NBHDL will keep a record of training that includes the dates training was provided and the number of employees who attended the training.

Todd Wilcox,
Chief Operating Officer