Accessibility Standard for Customer Service Policy

Portage Mutual Insurance is committed to complying with the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Our policies and practices reflect the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

If a barrier to accessing our services cannot be removed, we seek to provide alternate ways to access our service.

The following policy statements and organizational practices are intended to meet the requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.

This policy applies to all employees and managers of Portage Mutual Insurance.

Meet Communication Needs

We offer to communicate in different ways when appropriate, such as writing things down, reading things out loud, and taking extra time to explain, in clear and plain language. We are committed to communicating in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

We will train employees and managers of Portage Mutual Insurance who communicate with customers, on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

We also:

  • keep paper and pens available to write things down
  • provide chairs when longer conversations are required
  • offer a quieter space when having a conversation
  • sit down to engage with someone using a wheelchair

Our publications are available in alternate formats on request by contacting Reception at 204-857-3415 or info@portagemutual.com.

Accommodate the Use of Assistive Devices

We accommodate the use of assistive devices when customers are accessing our buildings.

We do not touch or move customers’ assistive devices without permission. If an assistive device presents significant and unavoidable health or safety concern, we will attempt to use other measures to ensure the person with disabilities can access our services.

We will train our employees in how to use assistive devices that are available for customers use.

Welcome Support Persons

We welcome support persons that are accompanying any person with a disability when entering our buildings.

We will address the customer, not the support person, unless asked by the customer to do otherwise.

We ensure space is available for support persons in areas accessible to the public, and ensure our customers are not prevented from having access to their support persons at any time.

Allow Service Animals

We welcome persons with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals. Service animals are allowed in areas of our buildings that are open to the public.

We will train our employees and managers to:

  • treat a service animal as a working animal
  • not distract a service animal by petting, feeding or playing with it, unless given permission by the person with the service animal
  • know how to identify a service animal by its harness or vest and by the assistance the animal is providing

We do not inquire about the person’s disability.

If we have concerns, we retain the right to ask if the animal has been trained to help a person with a disability-related need.

We expect the person who is handling the service animal to maintain control of the animal physically or through voice, signal or other means. If the service animal is showing signs of not being controlled (i.e barking, whining or wandering), we may provide a warning to the handler to control the animal. If the service animal continues to misbehave, we may ask the handler to leave.

If law prohibits the service animal from parts of our premises, we will explain why the animal cannot enter the space and discuss with the person another way of providing our services.

Maintain Accessibility Features

We will ensure barrier-free access to our services or facilities and maintain our accessibility features so they can be used as intended.

We organize our space so that there is room for people with wheelchairs, electric scooters and walkers.

We keep hallways, aisles, entrance and reception areas, and meeting rooms clear of clutter.

We keep our entrance area clear of ice and snow.

We place standing signs out of the way to avoid tripping hazards.

When our premises are not accessible, alternatives to our accessibility features include:

  • Providing on-line and over-the-phone service options
  • Providing service through the customer’s broker office

Notice When Accessibility Features Temporarily Unavailable

We let the public know when and why an accessibility feature is temporarily unavailable, how long it will be unavailable, and other ways to access our services.

We let the public know about disruptions in the following ways:

  • Prepare and post a notice at our building entrances or reception desks and/or in high traffic areas
  • through employees or management (in person or by phone)

If requested, we work with the customer to find other ways to provide services.

Welcome and Respond Promptly to Feedback

We welcome feedback on the accessibility of Portage Mutual Insurance’s services. We respond promptly to feedback in a way that meets the communication needs of the individual.

We document the actions we take to respond to the feedback we receive, and that information is available on request in alternate formats.

We invite feedback in the following ways:

All feedback is directed to the Branch Manager, who determines what action, if any, should occur. If the feedback requires follow-up, the customer will be notified that the request is under review and when they can expect a response.

We let thecustomer know what action we will take to address their feedback, if any.

Provide the Required Training to Employees and Management

We provide required training on accessible customer service to employees and management at Portage Mutual Insurance, including all individuals responsible for the development of the organization’s customer service policies and procedures.

We are trained on:

  • An overview of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, The Manitoba Human Rights Code, and the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities, who use assistive devices, and/or are assisted by a support person and/or a service animal.
  • How to use any assistive devices that are available at our facilities.
  • Portage Mutual Insurance’s policies and procedures governing the provisions of services to people with disabilities.

We train new employees within one month of their start of employment, and offer refresher training regularly, including any updates to our policies and practices.

Human Resources keeps records of which employees have taken training, including dates when the training is delivered.

Keep Written Records of Accessibility and Training Policies

We keep written records of our accessibility and training policies, including a summary of our training material and when training is offered to our employees.

We advise the public that our accessibility policies are available upon request in the following ways:

  • posted on Portage Mutual Insurance’s website
  • posted at our building entrance, reception desk and/or in high traffic areas
  • through employees or management (in person or by phone)

Availability of Accessible Customer Service Documents

We will provide our accessible customer service policies upon request, within a reasonable timeframe, at no cost, and in a format that meets the communication needs of the individual.

Requests for accessible customer service documents can be made by contacting our Head Office by phone at 204-857-3415, or email (info@portagemutual.com).

Questions About This Policy

This policy and associated procedures are intended to meet the requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service. If anyone has a question about, or requires clarification on this policy, please contact our reception at 204-857-3415, who will direct you accordingly.

Approved by: John Mitchell – President & CEO
Date of Approval: November 8, 2018