Accessibility

Customer Service Policy Statement:
Providing Goods and services to People with Disabilities

The Owen Sound Transportation Company Limited (OSTC) is committed to meeting its current and ongoing obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code respecting non-discrimination.

OSTC understands that obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and its accessibility standards do not substitute or limit its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or obligations to people with disabilities under any other law.

OSTC is committed to complying with both the Ontario Human Rights Code and the AODA.

OSTC is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities.

Our accessible customer service policies are consistent with the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity for people with disabilities.

OSTC’s Multi Year Accessibility Plan

Assistive devices


Communication 
Our staff has received awareness and other training to support and provide the best access possible to persons with disabilities. Whether it’s when making a reservation or when boarding, during the crossing or when disembarking, once staff has been informed of the presence of a person with a disability, the purser will be informed and the crew will make sure that they can communicate with this person, taking the nature of the disability into consideration.

Public announcements are made through audio or visual media as well as by a public call system and through staff members on site, when necessary. If a request for assistance is made in this regard, a staff member will go make sure that the person has understood the audio instructions (public call system).

Service offered and conditions
OSTC strive to meet our customers’ assistance needs as best as we possibly can. Although 48 hours’ notice is not required to access any of the assistance services offered, advance notice will afford us the very best opportunity to ensure your experience is as smooth and enjoyable as we can make it. Regardless of when you notify us, we will make every effort to accommodate your requests up to the vessel departure time. Services available include:

  • Curbside assistance with luggage. Service aids on board also will assist passengers with storing and retrieving any baggage stored in the shipboard baggage storage room.
  • Assistance with the check-in process.
  • Permitting a passenger with a disability, to board in advance of other passengers if :
    • The person has requested assistance with boarding, transferring between a mobility aid and their passenger seat or storing carry-on baggage, or
    • In the case where the person is blind or has any other visual impairment. 
  • Permitting a passenger with a disability to bring on board and to retain any small assistive device that the person needs during travel, including a cane, crutches, a communication device, an orthotic positioning device or a portable oxygen concentrator.
  • Providing vessel safety briefing information in print and verbally presented at time of embarkation .
  • Vessel safety briefing information is also available in large print, and Braille formats. Briefing cards supplied to passenger with accessibility requirements are provided upon embarkations. The briefing cards include layout of ship highlighting the location of the washrooms and exits.
  • Providing pre-recorded on-board announcements, closed captioned video safety briefings and closed-captioned on-board entertainment.
  • Providing free transportation to a support person for passengers requiring a support person.
  • Assistance in proceeding to the boarding area after check-in.
  • Assistance in boarding, disembarkation and in moving between a vehicle deck and a passenger deck.
  • Assistance in accessing on board entertainment content. Personal electronic devices and instruction on the use of the device will be provided upon request.
  • Ship personnel will guide you to accessible tables and advise you of the location of the accessible washroom. Ship personnel will provide the person with a place to wait that is close to members of personnel who are available to provide assistance to the person.
  • Crew will conduct periodic health checks during the voyage and will assist with any requested services.
  • Passengers can remain in their personal mobility aids during the voyage or crew will provide seat transfer services.
  • Providing mobility aid storage upon request and will return any stored mobility aid to the person on arrival at the destination without delay.
  • Assisting a person who is blind or has a visual impairment in selecting meals and beverages that are offered on board.
  • Assisting persons with opening food packages, identifying food items and in cases where the portions are large, assist the person by cutting the portion into smaller pieces.
  • Assistance in processing through Customs and security areas (where applicable) and assisting the person after disembarkation to proceed to the curbside zone.
  • Providing wheelchairs for use at the terminal and on board, transportation on board by Accessible Bus, or parking the vehicle close to an elevator on the vehicle deck.
  • Assisting with gaseous oxygen or a personal oxygen concentrator.
  • Permitting certified support animals’ access to passenger deck areas.
  • Providing pet relief areas at all terminals. Pet relief areas are clearly marked with wayfinding signage that are embossed and in Braille. Passengers can be escorted to the pet relief areas upon request.
  • Providing cleaning supplies for seating areas for persons with allergies upon request.
  • Pelee Island Transportation Services (PITS): Pets may remain inside the vehicle during transit or within designated areas of the outside decks provided they are leashed and under the control of their owner. The Pelee Islander II has a designated area for pets located on the top deck. If you choose to leave your pet in your vehicle, be advised that no one is allowed on the vehicle deck when the ship is sailing, and your pet will be unattended for almost 2 hours. Pets are permitted in the indoor lounges, not the cafeteria, if they remain in a TSA-approved carrier or crate for the entire duration of the sailing. Terminals: Pets are not permitted in the terminal buildings. Exceptions: Guide dogs for people who are visually impaired, and certified service dogs for those with other disabilities are permitted in all areas of the ship and terminal. Those customers who require service animals may be asked to provide official documentation if the animal is not clearly identified with their vest. Support animals are considered pets for the purpose of designated areas.
  • Chi-Cheemaun Transportation Service: Pets and Service Animals Pets are allowed onboard the MS Chi-Cheemaun (MSCCM) in the aft lounge sundeck area only. Pets must be on leashes or in pet carriers and accompanied by their owner. All responsibility for animal behaviour are the responsibility of the owner, and liability is assumed by the owner should the animal injure another passenger. We do not recommend leaving your pet in your vehicle, as owners can not return to the car deck to check on them. Car deck temperatures can get extreme in warmer conditions and put your pet at risk pets are not permitted in the terminal buildings. Exceptions: Guide dogs for people who are visually impaired, and certified service dogs for those with other disabilities are permitted in all areas of the ship and terminal. Those customers who require service animals, may be asked to provide official documentation and service animals must be clearly identified with their vest. Support animals are considered pets, for the purpose of designated areas.  

The following assistive devices are available both shipboard and shore-based terminals.

Elevators: Vehicle parking deck and shore-based elevators to assist passengers with boarding and deboarding the ship.

MSCCM: Ship elevator dimension 30″x60″, max weight 800lbs

PITS: NO limitation for mobility aid with the exception of there are no ramps access to the outside decks on the PI2. 

Manual Wheelchairs: Located at the terminals and aboard the ship. 

Tobermory Terminal: 4 manual wheelchairs 1x 18″ (300lbs), 1x 19″ (300lbs), 1x 22″ (500lbs)

South Baymouth Terminal: 4 manual wheelchairs 1x 18″ (300lbs), 1x 19″ (300lbs), 1x 22″ (500lbs)

MSCCM:

Wheelchair 1   29″ max weight 450lbs

Wheelchair 2   29″ max weight 450lbs

Wheelchair 3   24″ max weight 300lbs

PITS: Argo Wheelchair 18″ – 300lbs

Electric Carts: Available for transporting passengers between facilities and vessels. 2023 AGT Ramblers, six seater length = 151.2″ width = 53.5″ Height = 86.6″ , 1544 lbs

Briefing cards: A guide to on-board services and information stations locations where the Steward or a designate is available for assistance or questions.

Designated Seating: Available at the dining room tables and in lounges.

Designated Signage: Accessible parking spaces, washrooms and entry ways are prominently displayed.

OSTC FAQ’s: Are your facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities

Communication

We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that consider their disability. This may include the following:

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Mail
  • fax
  • or in person.

We will work with the person with a disability to determine what method of communication works for them.

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.

When we cannot easily identify that an animal is a service animal, our staff may ask a person to provide documentation (template, letter or form) from a regulated health professional that confirms the person needs the service animal for reasons relating to their disability.

A service animal can be easily identified through visual indicators, such as when it wears a harness or a vest, or when it helps the person perform certain tasks.

A regulated health professional is defined as a member of one of the following colleges:

  • College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario
  • College of Chiropractors of Ontario
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
  • College of Optometrists of Ontario
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
  • College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
  • College of Psychologists of Ontario
  • College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario

If service animals are prohibited by another law, we will do the following to ensure people with disabilities can access our goods, services or facilities:

  • explain why the animal is excluded
  • discuss with the customer another way of providing goods, services or facilities

Service dogs are permitted to travel freely with their owner/ handler including areas where food is normally served, sold or offered for sale. Any service animal, other than a dog, is permitted to travel free with their owner, except where food is normally served, sold or offered for sale.

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.

Passenger fare will not be charged for support persons.

We will notify customers of this by posting a notice in the following location(s):

  • Website
  • Verbally communicated over the phone or in-person at time of making the reservation

In certain cases, OSTC might require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person for the health or safety reasons of:

  • the person with a disability
  • others on the premises

Before deciding, OSTC will:

  • consult with the person with a disability to understand their needs
  • consider health or safety reasons based on available evidence
  • determine if there is no other reasonable way to protect the health or safety of the person or others on the premises

If OSTC determines that a support person is required, we will waive the admission fee or fare for the support person

Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a planned or unexpected disruption to services or facilities for customers with disabilities OSTC will notify customers promptly. This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.

Services/Facilities include:

  • On-board Elevator

The notice will be made publicly available in the following ways:

  • By telephone
  • Posted in the all the terminal building and elevator doors
  • Public Notice on website

Training

OSTC will provide accessible customer service training to:

  • all employees
  • anyone involved in developing our policies

Staff will be trained on accessible customer service 7 days after being hired.

Training will include:

  • purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
  • OSTC’s policies related to 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
  • how to use the equipment or devices available on-site or otherwise that may help with providing goods, services or facilities to people with disabilities. These include:

Elevators, Manual Wheelchairs, Electric Carts, Briefing Cards

  • what to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing OSTC’s goods, services or facilities

Staff will also be trained when changes are made to our accessible customer service policies.

Feedback process

OSTC welcomes feedback on how we provide accessible customer service. Customer feedback will help us identify barriers and respond to concerns.

Customers will be notified of how to provide feedback in the following ways:

  • Email to info@ontarioferries.com
  • By phone at 519-376-8740
  • Customer Survey or;
  • Write to us at Owen Sound Transportation Company, 717875 Highway 6N Owen Sound, ON N4K 5N7

All feedback, including complaints, will be handled in the following manner:

Feedback will be directed to the Manager of Customer & Media Relations

Customers can expect to hear back in 3-5 business days, depending on the nature of the complaint or comment, and if an investigation is required. Complaints will be addressed according to complaint categories already established in our company’s complaint management procedures.

OSTC will make sure our feedback process is accessible to people with disabilities by providing or arranging for accessible formats and communication supports, on request.

Notice of availability of documents

OSTC will notify the public that documents related to accessible customer service, are available upon request by posting a notice in the following location(s)/way(s):

  • Website
  • Terminal buildings
  • Onboard
  • Springmount Office

OSTC will provide this document in an accessible format or with communication support, on request. We will consult with the person making the request to determine the suitability of the format or communication support. We will provide the accessible format in a timely manner and, at no additional cost. 

Modifications to this or other policies

At OSTC we are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no change will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any policies of the Owen Sound Transportation Company that do not respect and promote theses principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities will be modified or removed