Accessible Customer Service Standard (ACSS)

Policies, Practices and Procedures


The Canadian Opera Company (COC) and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (FSCPA) are committed to accessible customer service policies, practices and procedures based on the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.

Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that all patrons:

  • Are treated with dignity and respect
  • Are given the opportunity to attend performances in a way that is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible
  • Have equal opportunity to access our performances, concerts, events and venues
  • Have access to, and be informed of, all pertinent policies and procedures
Integrated Accessibility Standards Policy

VIEW THE COC MULTI-YEAR PLAN (in PDF). 

The following policy has been developed by the Canadian Opera Company and the Canadian Opera House Corporation (operating as the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts), hereinafter referred to as “the company”, to govern the provision of services with respect to the “Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation” (“Regulation”) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

These standards are intended to break down barriers and increase accessibility for persons with disabilities in the areas of information and communications, and employment.

The company will develop, implement and maintain these policies in order to achieve accessibility through meeting our requirements as outlined in this policy, our Accessible Customer Service Policy and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005

Statement of Commitment

The company is committed to treating all persons in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence.  We believe in the principles of integration and equal opportunity.  We are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements, where possible, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005.

This policy will be implemented in accordance with the time frames established by the Regulation.  Please refer to the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan for implementation time frames.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

VIEW THE PLAN (in PDF). 

The company will establish, implement, maintain and document a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (“Accessibility Plan”) outlining the organization’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers from our workplace and to improve access for persons with disabilities while meeting our requirements under this Regulation.

The Accessibility Plan will be posted on the organization’s website and will be made available in an accessible format upon request.  We will also review and update the Accessibility Plan at least once every five years.

Training

The company is committed to training staff and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility standards and on the accessibility aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code that apply to persons with disabilities.  Training will be provided to:

  • All employees and volunteers;
  • All persons who participate in developing the organization’s policies; and
  • All other persons who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the organization

Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of the employees, volunteers and other persons and will complement our existing Accessible Customer Service training.

All persons requiring training shall be trained as soon as practicable.  In addition, training will be provided on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to the accessibility policy.

We will also maintain a record of the training we provide.

Information and Communications

The company is committed to meeting the information and communication needs of persons with disabilities.  We urge patrons, staff and volunteers to provide us with feedback, both positive and negative, in regard to our performances, procedures and policies.  We will continue to ensure that our existing feedback processes are accessible to persons with disabilities.  When asked, we will provide information and communication materials in accessible formats or with communication supports.  This includes publicly available information about our goods, services and facilities.

The company will consult with persons with disabilities to determine their information and communication needs.

We will also notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.

The company will ensure that the website and content conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA, except where the requirement is not practicable, by January 1, 2021.

Employment

The company is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. 

We will notify the public and staff that, when requested, we will accommodate disabilities during the recruitment, assessment, selection and hiring process.  This will include consulting with the selected applicants or employees on the suitable accommodation in a manner that takes into account the accessibility needs.

As soon as practicable, we will inform our new hires of our policies used to support employees with disabilities.

The company will also consult with the employees with respect to arrangements for accessible formats and communication supports.

If needed, we will create an individual accommodation plan and/or provide workplace emergency response information to employees who have a disability, if the disability is such that the individualized information is necessary and if the company is aware of the need for accommodation. 

Any performance management, career development, redeployment and return-to-work processes, currently in place or implemented in the future, will take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities.

For More Information

This policy has been developed to break down barriers and increase accessibility for persons with disabilities in the areas of information and communications, and employment.  For more information on this policy, please contact us ataccessibility@coc.ca, calling 416-363-6671 or posting a letter to the attention of the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Service, 227 Front St. E., Toronto ON M5A 1E8. 

Accessible formats of this document are available upon request.

 

Issued:  December 2013


Ticketing

The Canadian Opera Company offers many ticket options for patrons with special needs, to ensure equal access to our performances. Under 30, Rush and Standing Room discounts are all offered to patrons who require accessible seating.

Aisle and loose seating is offered to those with service animals, while support persons are offered discounted tickets if attending with a patron who requires assistance.

All seating is allocated based on availability and not all dates may be available. For more information on these services, call 416-363-8231 or visit our website at coc.ca.

Support Persons

A patron who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to have that person accompany them to our venues. The support person will be discounted 50% off the regular ticket price. Ability to book seats for any given performance or date is always subject to availability.

A patron requiring personal and/or physical assistance to move within the venue are expected to bring a support person with them to the performance for the full duration of their visit. FSCPA staff members are not permitted to lift, lower, carry, hold, or physically support patrons, including those in a wheelchair. This policy protects the health and safety of both the patron and FSCPA staff.

Should a patron require the use of a wheelchair, walker or cane to move about the venue, but prefer to sit in a theatre seat for the performance, the Front of House staff are available to assist with the storing of a support item during the performance. An usher will meet the patron at their seat to collect the support item and store it during the performance and return with it at intermission and at the conclusion of the performance.

Service Animals and Assistive Devices

SERVICE ANIMALS


A patron requiring a service animal will be accommodated in select areas of the house, where aisle or leg room allows space for the animal and does not obstruct other patrons. Consideration must be given to building fire codes, evacuation procedures and availability so seating may not be available for all performances on all dates.

ASSISTIVE DEVICES


The FSCPA can accommodate assistive devices brought into our venue including wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. The key-operated on/off function for the automatic door openers is turned on one hour prior to performance and is turned off after egress.

The FSCPA offers patrons hearing-assistance devices for their use including those that can be used in conjunction with hearing aids. They are available free of charge at the coat check on the Lower Level. Instruction on their use is also available at the coat check on the Lower Level.

Communication and Temporary Disruptions

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

Both the COC and FSCPA will make every attempt to communicate both planned and unexpected disruptions in facilities or services which are relied on by patrons enjoying our performances and venue. Notice of disruption will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. Notice of disruption will be clearly posted at the front entrance of the venue and (should timing permit) on the COC website, www.coc.ca.

COC/FSCPA Staff Training

In addition to our policies, procedure and practices, all COC/FSCPA staff that work directly with the public have been trained on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This training includes:

  • Review of the purposes of the AODA
  • The requirements of the Customer Service Standard
  • Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people who have various types of disabilities, both visible and invisible
  • Instruction on how to use assistive devices and facilities available at the FSCPA
  • Instruction on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by an animal or support person
  • Instruction on ways to work around barriers or challenges to offer service to patrons who are having difficulty accessing our services

This extensive training coupled with our in-house training programs, ensures all COC/FSCPA staff and volunteers, who interact with the public or third-party contractors, are well versed in the Customer Service Standard. Training is provided on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to our policies, practices and procedures, or when a new staff member joins our team.

Feedback Process

The COC is committed to customer service and to providing the best possible experience for our patrons. We urge patrons to provide us with feedback, both positive and negative, in regard to our performances, procedures and policies.

Patrons may do so in person at the welcome desk located on the main level by the Queen Street West entrance during a performance, by e-mailing us at accessibilty@coc.ca, calling 416-363-6671 or posting a letter to the attention of the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Service, 227 Front St. E., Toronto ON M5A 1E8.

Information gathered through these channels will be read and reviewed by the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Service for the Canadian Opera Company and treated as confidential. Customers can expect to hear back from us within two business days.

Policies, Practices and Procedures

Mission Statement


The Canadian Opera Company (COC) and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (FSCPA) are committed to accessible customer service policies, practices and procedures based on the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.

Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that all patrons:

  • Are treated with dignity and respect
  • Are given the opportunity to attend performances in a way that is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible
  • Have equal opportunity to access our performances, concerts, events and venues
  • Have access to, and be informed of, all pertinent policies and procedures

ACCESSIBLE FEATURES


The Canadian Opera Company and Four Seasons Centre offer numerous features that assist patrons in all aspects of attendance, from purchasing a ticket to taking a seat and enjoying the production.

  • Option to enlarge font on the COC and FSCPA websites
  • Accessible underground parking with elevator access to main vestibule (available through box office)
  • Elevator access from the subway exit level to the main vestibule
  • Barrier-free box office
  • Automatic door openers at Queen Street entrance
  • A limited number of wheelchairs for patrons’ use
  • Elevator access to all levels of the venue
  • Braille on directional signage and in elevators
  • Every washroom is wheelchair accessible
  • Unisex single transfer washrooms are available on Rings 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Hearing-assistive devices available for use
  • Opera glasses available for rent
  • Wheelchair accessible designated locations throughout all levels (except Ring 5) in most price levels
  • Transfer arm seats (one arm opens to the aisle) on Orchestra, and Rings 3 and 4
  • A limited number of armless loose chairs
  • Call to performance through both ringing of bells and flickering of lights in main lobby
  • SURTITLES™ translations projected on a screen above the stage
  • Staff that have been trained in accessibility standards

TICKETING


The Canadian Opera Company offers many ticket options for patrons with special needs, to ensure equal access to our performances. Under 30, Rush and Standing Room discounts are all offered to patrons who require accessible seating.

Aisle and loose seating is offered to those with service animals, while support persons are offered discounted tickets if attending with a patron who requires assistance.

All seating is allocated based on availability and not all dates may be available. For more information on these services, call 416-363-8231 or visit our website at coc.ca.

SUPPORT PERSONS


A patron who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to have that person accompany them to our venues. The support person will be discounted 50% off the regular ticket price. Ability to book seats for any given performance or date is always subject to availability.

A patron requiring personal and/or physical assistance to move within the venue are expected to bring a support person with them to the performance for the full duration of their visit. FSCPA staff members are not permitted to lift, lower, carry, hold, or physically support patrons, including those in a wheelchair. This policy protects the health and safety of both the patron and FSCPA staff.

Should a patron require the use of a wheelchair, walker or cane to move about the venue, but prefer to sit in a theatre seat for the performance, the Front of House staff are available to assist with the storing of a support item during the performance. An usher will meet the patron at their seat to collect the support item and store it during the performance and return with it at intermission and at the conclusion of the performance.

SERVICE ANIMALS


A patron requiring a service animal will be accommodated in select areas of the house, where aisle or leg room allows space for the animal and does not obstruct other patrons. Consideration must be given to building fire codes, evacuation procedures and availability so seating may not be available for all performances on all dates.

ASSISTIVE DEVICES


The FSCPA can accommodate assistive devices brought into our venue including wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. The key-operated on/off function for the automatic door openers is turned on one hour prior to performance and is turned off after egress.

The FSCPA offers patrons hearing-assistance devices for their use including those that can be used in conjunction with hearing aids. They are available free of charge at the coat check on the Lower Level. Instruction on their use is also available at the coat check on the Lower Level.

COMMUNICATION and TEMPORARY DISRUPTIONS


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

Both the COC and FSCPA will make every attempt to communicate both planned and unexpected disruptions in facilities or services which are relied on by patrons enjoying our performances and venue. Notice of disruption will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. Notice of disruption will be clearly posted at the front entrance of the venue and (should timing permit) on the COC website, www.coc.ca.

STAFF TRAINING


In addition to our policies, procedure and practices, all COC/FSCPA staff that work directly with the public have been trained on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This training includes:

  • Review of the purposes of the AODA
  • The requirements of the Customer Service Standard
  • Instruction on how to interact and communicate with people who have various types of disabilities, both visible and invisible
  • Instruction on how to use assistive devices and facilities available at the FSCPA
  • Instruction on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by an animal or support person
  • Instruction on ways to work around barriers or challenges to offer service to patrons who are having difficulty accessing our services

This extensive training coupled with our in-house training programs, ensures all COC/FSCPA staff and volunteers, who interact with the public or third-party contractors, are well versed in the Customer Service Standard. Training is provided on an ongoing basis whenever changes are made to our policies, practices and procedures, or when a new staff member joins our team.

FEEDBACK PROCESS


The COC is committed to customer service and to providing the best possible experience for our patrons. We urge patrons to provide us with feedback, both positive and negative, in regard to our performances, procedures and policies.

Patrons may do so in person at the welcome desk located on the main level by the Queen Street West entrance during a performance, by e-mailing us at accessibility@coc.ca, calling 416-363-6671 or posting a letter to the attention of the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Service, 227 Front St. E., Toronto ON M5A 1E8.

Information gathered through these channels will be read and reviewed by the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Service for the Canadian Opera Company and treated as confidential. Customers can expect to hear back from us within two business days.

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION


The Canadian Opera Company and Four Seasons Centre Accessibility Standards may be requested in various font sizes by e-mailing us at accessibility@coc.ca or by calling 416-306-2361. Please contact us with any questions.

The Canadian Opera Company and Four Seasons Centre Accessibility Standards may be requested in various font sizes by e-mailing us at accessibility@coc.ca or by calling 416-306-2361. Please contact us with any questions.

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