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Accessibility Policy

Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities. Fresh Start Foods Canada Ltd. is committed to excellence in serving our customers including people with disabilities.

Fresh Start Foods is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity and are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner. We will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005).


Key Principles

Our accessibility policy is based on:  

An environment of inclusion for all employees, customers and contractors.  

  • Identifying, removing and preventing any Human Rights Code based accessibility barriers.  
  • Communicating in a way that identifies and respects an individual’s particular disability.

Fresh Start Foods has developed and made publicly available, this policy and a multi-year accessibility plan which outlines the actions we will put in place to improve opportunities and access for people with disabilities.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, a “Disability” is defined as:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
  • A mental disorder, or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

The definition includes disabilities of different severity, visible as well as non-visible disabilities, and disabilities the effects of which may come and go.

Please refer to the multi-year plan for details about how Fresh Start Foods will address the following:

Information and Communication Standard:  

  • Accessible Emergency Information  
  • Feedback from Customers and Employees  
  • Accessible Formats and Communication Supports  
  • Emergency Procedures/Plan or Public Safety Information  
  • Accessible Websites and Web Content

Employment Standard:  

  • Recruitment, assessment and selection  
  • Accessible formats and communication supports for employees  
  • Workplace emergency response information  
  • Documented individual accommodation plans  
  • Return to work process  
  • Performance management  
  • Career development and advancement

Employee Training

Fresh Start Foods will provide training to employees and volunteers on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Human Rights Code as it related to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of the employees and volunteers. Training will include but is not limited to, the Integrated Standard, the Ontario Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities and Fresh Start Foods plan to comply with the Integrated Standard.

Fresh Start Foods will take the following steps to ensure employees and volunteers are provided with the training needed to meet Ontario’s staggered accessibility laws by January 1, 2025.

Our accessibility training includes:  

  • A review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (2005) and the requirements of the Customer Service and Integrated Standard. Including the three standards: Information and Communication, Employment and Transportation.  
  • What constitutes a disability and the terms surrounding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (2005).
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.  
  • How to interact with people with disabilities, both internal and external, who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or support person.
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing our products and services. Or are having difficulty in our work environment.

For more information on this policy or the multi-year accessibility plan, please contact Jen Wei at careers.ontario@gfs.com or 1-800-268-0159 or by TTY at 1-800-855-1155.

Training records will be kept as a record of who has been trained and when they were trained.

Customer Service Policies

This is a summary of the accessible customer service you can expect to receive.

Information and Communication

When communicating or providing information or service to a person with a disability, we will do so in a manner that takes the person’s disability into account.

Accessible Formats and Communication Support

If a person with a disability needs an accessible format, or help to communicate with us, we will work with the person to provide the format or support that will meet their needs- at no additional cost to them.

If we are not able to meet the person’s particular requirement in a reasonable timeframe, we will inform them and will work with them to determine an alternate method or will provide a summary of the information.

Accessible Websites and Web Content

Our internet websites and web content controlled either directly by the Government of Ontario of through a contractual relationship that allows us to modify the product, will conform to the World Wide Web Consortium We Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, and at a level A according to the schedule set out in the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Feedback Process

We will inform our customers of the choices available for them to give feedback.

Feedback may be provided:

  • In person  
  • By telephone/TTY  
  • In writing  
  • By email or  
  • By any other communication technology as required

If customers with disabilities would prefer to give their feedback, and receive a response to it, using an alternate method than the one offered, they may request it.

Service Disruption

If there is a problem with facilities, equipment or services that people with disabilities rely on, we will provide notice to the public. The way we provide the notice will be determined by the nature of the problem. We will always try to make alternative arrangements to provide service where possible.

Assistance Devices

People with disabilities may use their own personal assistive devices. Where assistive devices are available in our buildings, our staff have been trained on how to use them.

Service Animals

People with disabilities may use their service animal in all parts of our premises that are open to the public, unless the animal is excluded by law, such as in our food preparation and Warehouse areas. If necessary, Fresh Start Foods may require:  

  • A letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons related to the disability;  
  • A valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada; or,
  • A certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school.

Support Persons

People with disabilities can access their disability-related support person while using our services. In situation where confidential matters will be discussed, the support person may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or the role of the support person may need to be agreed to in advance of the meeting.

Modification to this or other policies

Any policy, practice or procedure of Gordon Food Service that does not respect and promote the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

More Information on Customer Service

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us, fsfemilton@freshstartfoods.com or 1-800-563-5033.

Feedback Process
Customers who wish to provide feedback on the way Fresh Start Foods Canada Ltd. provides goods and services to people with disabilities can obtain an AODA – Customer Service Feedback Form online at www.freshstartfoods.com., or from our Customer Service Dept via telephone at 1-800-563-5033 or in person at any of our branches.

Accessibility Customer Service Feedback Form

We are committed to providing exceptional customer service and ensuring an inclusive experience for all. We value feedback from our customers, including those with accessibility needs, as it helps us further improve our services.

Your feedback will enable us to continuously improve our customer service, make necessary accommodations, and ensure a positive experience for all customers.

Thank you for helping us build an inclusive environment. Your feedback matters to us!


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