Accessibility: Our policy for providing services to people with disabilities

Accessibility: Our policy for providing services to people with disabilities

1. Our Work

Amnesty International impartially researches and exposes specific grave violations of human rights, then mobilizes public pressure to stop these violations. Its work is based on international human rights standards, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Canada we provide materials, information and advice to members and activists so that they can carry out Amnesty's work.

2. Our Commitment

We will comply with the standards for customer service as outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

We will ask people with disabilities what they need from us and make all reasonable efforts to accommodate their needs for our materials, information and advice.

All staff as well as front-line office volunteers will be trained in serving persons with disabilities.

We will provide a) information related to the AODA and b) information about training opportunities to Ontario members who are inter-acting with the public on Amnesty's behalf.

3. Providing services to people with disabilities

a) Access to Offices

Our offices are accessible to persons with physical disabilities through a ramp or an elevator. Notices are placed on doors and standard telephone responses are changed when offices are closed.

b) Communicating with us

We are reachable via 1-800 AMNESTY 24 hours each day as well as by calling our individual office numbers during office hours. Persons who respond to telephone calls are trained in responding on the phone to persons with disabilities. Those who cannot communicate to us via telephone may communicate via

c) Written material

On request, we provide written material in large-print, via e-mail or in other ways that assist persons with visual impairments. We are unable to provide our documents in Braille.

d. Support persons & service animals

Support persons and service animals are welcome on our premises and at our meetings.

e. Assistive devices

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

4. Training

Staff are trained in providing service to persons with disabilities. New staff receive this training as part of their orientation process.

Members who inter-act with the public in Ontario are informed about their responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and provided with the link to on-line training provided by the Government of Ontario.

5. Feedback Process

Feedback regarding the way Amnesty Canada provides materials, advice and information to people with disabilities can be made verbally (in person or by telephone), in writing (in person, via Canada Post, courier or or on a disk. All feedback will be directed to the Executive Director. Persons with concerns can usually expect to hear back from the organization within one week in a way that takes their disability into account.

Persons wishing to provide feedback related to a situation occurring outside of Amnesty's offices should do so through one of the offices – specific information about how to do this can be found on our website and by calling our offices directly.

6. Changes in Practice or Policy

All feedback will be dealt with in a respectful way and reasonable requests for changes in our practices or policy will be accommodated.
Accessible Customer Service Plan: Providing Materials, Information and Advice to People with Disabilities

Amnesty International Canada (English Speaking) is committed to excellence in serving all members and activists including people with disabilities.

Assistive devices

We will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our services.


We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
Service animals

We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed on the parts of our premises that are open to the public.

Support persons

A person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to have that person accompany them on our premises and at our meetings. When a fee is required for attendance at a meeting we will waive the fee for the support person.

Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities we will post notices at our offices and change telephone messages. In the unlikely event of an extended disruption in services we will also post a notice on our website.

Training for staff

Amnesty will provide training to employees and office volunteers who deal with the public. All staff will receive basic training and front-line workers will receive training commensurate with their duties. New staff will receive training as part of their orientation process.

Training will include:

  • An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing information or materials.
  • Provision of a copy of Amnesty's accessible customer service policy and plan.
  • Staff will receive further training if changes are made to our accessible customer service plan.

Feedback process

Persons who wish to provide feedback on the way Amnesty provides materials, information or advice can do this verbally (in person or by telephone), in writing (in person, via Canada Post, courier or or on a disk. All feedback will be directed to the Executive Director. Persons with concerns can usually expect to hear back from the organization within one week in a way that takes their disability into account.

If further modifications to policies or practices become necessary as a result of feedback from persons with disabilities, Amnesty is committed to making such modification as promptly as possible.

Practical Examples of Provision of Service to Persons with Disabilities

(This list is not exhaustive and may be increased if/when we learn of other ways we can assist persons with disabilities)

    1. National office has a ramp, others have elevators

    2. One washroom in the national office is wheelchair accessible

    3. Hallways are wide enough for wheelchair access

    4. We can be reached easily by telephone (1-800) and by e-mail (

    5. Those who are hard of hearing can contact us through

    6. Our offices are scent-free

    7. We have and implement a Plain Language policy

    8. We provide some Urgent Actions in a simple format that could be used by someone with a learning disability

    9. Our website is designed with accessibility issues in mind

    10. Guide animals are welcome at our offices and meetings

    11. We have an ombudsperson who could respond to any formal complaints that cannot be readily handled through the Executive Director in collaboration with other staff.

While the following go beyond customer service, these are other ways that we attempt to ensure access to our materials, information and advice across Canada.

    1. We encourage our groups to meet in accessible meeting spaces

    2. Regional meetings are held in accessible meeting spaces

    3. We are prepared, as staff, to assist groups who have identified special needs of their members

    4. We are prepared to waive the fee of the person accompanying a disabled person to one of our meetings

    5. Our AGM registration forms ask people to identify any special needs that they may have and we then work with individuals to ensure that we accommodate them. Examples of what we've done in the past include:

a) Ensuring that signs are printed on off-white paper to make them more visible to some visually impaired members

b) Providing a computer monitor for a visibly impaired member

c) Providing accompaniers for a visibly impaired member and a pre-meeting orientation to the site

d) Providing paper documents in larger font

e) Providing alternative activities for those who do not have the physical mobility needed for some activities e.g. marches

f) Providing transportation to activities that are too far to walk for those with mobility issues

Accepted by management on December 14, 2011