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Use of service animals

1 POLICY

First Reference Inc. welcomes people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public. If a service animal is excluded by law from First Reference Inc. premises, we will ensure that alternative means are available to enable the person with a disability to access our goods and services.

2 PURPOSE

The purpose of this Statement of Policy and Procedure is to ensure persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are treated accordingly.

3 SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees and customers at all facilities of First Reference Inc in Ontario.

4 RESPONSIBILITY

It is the responsibility of the managers, immediate supervisors and/or department heads to ensure that all employees follow the guidelines set out in this policy.

Each manager, immediate supervisor and/or department head is responsible to ensure all employees are trained under Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and this policy, practices and procedure.

5 DEFINITIONS

"Service animal" is an animal that a person with a disability uses for support. Such use is either readily apparent or is supported by a letter from a physician or nurse.

It may be readily apparent that an animal is a service animal when its appearance or behaviour (e.g., wearing a harness or saddle bags) identifies it as a service animal or the owner has a certificate or identification card from a service animal training school. It may also be apparent if a person is using the animal to assist him or her, e.g., opening doors or retrieving items.

Service animals offer independence and security to many people with various disabilities. Some laws generally prohibit animals in certain areas, such as food preparation areas. However, service animals are permitted in most public situations. For example, a service animal would not be allowed in a restaurant kitchen, but is allowed in the restaurant itself.

6 REFERENCES and RELATED STATEMENTS of POLICY and PROCEDURE

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario Regulation 562, sections 59 & 60

Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, Ontario Regulation 31/05, section 44

7 PROCEDURES

Unless otherwise excluded by law, the customer service standard requires that a person is permitted to be accompanied by his or her guide dog or other service animal in the areas that are open to the public or third parties. As such, First Reference Inc employees should allow persons with disabilities to be accompanied by their guide dog or service animal unless the animal is excluded by law.

In the event that a law excludes a service animal, the reason why the animal is excluded should be explained to the individual, and other reasonable arrangements to provide goods and services should be explored with the assistance of the person with the disability.

Service animals are non-participants and therefore whenever possible should be granted free admission to the goods and/or services being accessed by the person with a disability they are accompanying. If an amount is payable for the service animal, notice should be given in advance about the amount.

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