Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Customer Service Standard

Our commitment

What is the Customer Service Standard?


What does the Customer Service Standard require university libraries to do?


Our commitment:

Library Accessibility Services is committed to excellence in serving all of our user groups, including people of all abilities.

Our goal is to provide the information and support necessary to help you turn Customer Service Standard requirements into everyday practices.

What is the Customer Service Standard?

The Customer Services Standard is one of five Standards within the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act's (AODA) Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). This standard includes requirements for removing barriers for people with disabilities so they can access goods, services, and facilities.

Access barriers may include:

  • Physical/architectural — features of buildings or spaces that limit people’s access to services, e.g.: buildings without ramps, automatic doors, or accessible washrooms 
  • Information/communication — information is not provided in formats all customers can access, e.g.: an audio announcement without visual display of the same information
  • Technological — when service providers use technology that is not accessible to customers with disabilities, e.g.: a website where customers can only submit information by clicking a mouse
  • Organizational — policies, practices or procedures that discriminate against people with disabilities, e.g.: a strict no-refund policy in clothing stores
  • Attitudinal — service providers do not understand how certain disabilities affect customers’ lives, e.g.: a service provider may feel uncomfortable serving someone with a speech impairment and assume that the customer cannot understand speech or hold a conversation
  • Situational — random circumstances that limit tasks at hand, e.g.: a noisy environment that impedes concentration or learning


AODA standards are reviewed individually every five years. The first Customer Service Standard review is completed, and amendments came into effect on July 1, 2016. We have added these changes to the standard requirements below.

One major change was amending the IASR to include the Customer Service Standard with the other four standards in Information & Communications; Employment; Transportation; and Design of Public Spaces. This means that the requirements are now better aligned to make it easier for organizations to understand their obligations.

What does the Customer Service Standard require university libraries to do?

Establishment of policies —  Section 80.46

In addition to establishing policies that include the governing provision of goods, services, or facilities to persons with disabilities, policies must deal with the use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from the goods, services, or facilities, or with the availability of other measures, if any, which enable them to do so. 

We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our services and resources.

Use of service animals and support persons — Section 80.47

More types of regulated health professionals can provide documentation of a need for a service animal. Doctors and nurses were originally the only ones allowed to provide such authorization, but the list now includes psychologists, psychotherapists, audiologists, chiropractors and optometrists.

More specific information is provided to clarify that an organization can only require a support person to accompany someone with a disability for the purposes of health or safety and in consultation with the person. If it’s determined a support person is required, the fee or fare (if applicable) for the support person must be waived.

We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person or a service animal.

Notice of temporary disruptions — Section 80.48

We notify users in the event of a planned disruption of services. A reasonable effort will be made to inform users of an unexpected and significant disruption in services typically used by people with disabilities.

Training for staff, etc. — Section 80.49

All employees and volunteers must now be trained on accessible customer service. Previously only staff who dealt directly with the public had to be trained on accessibility issues.

We are committed to training all of our employees and volunteers in accessible customer service.

  • In addition to accessibility training required for all University of Waterloo employees, Library Accessibility Services has developed training requirements based on the level of public interaction and the nature of a person's job.
  • Training materials include both those provided by the University and others that are library-specific.

Feedback process required — Section 80.50

The Customer Standard currently requires that organizations provide a way for customers who have disabilities to provide feedback on how the organization provides accessible customer service. Organizations must now also ensure that this feedback process is accessible, by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, on request.

We welcome feedback regarding the way the Library provides services and resources to people with disabilities.

  • Users have choices for submitting feedback
  • The Library will respond within two working days.

Format of documents — Section 80.51

In addition to reducing the Customer Standard policy to writing and making it available upon request, it must be provided in an accessible format or with a communication support, upon request.

Our accessible formats and communications support website outlines our commitment to communicating and interacting with people with disabilities in a manner that they prefer for their particular types of disability, including:

  • Public documents
  • Library events
  • Course-based sessions
  • Online tests and surveys
  • Billing and receipts
  • Telephone service