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Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Content for PSE Institutional Disability Policies Resources

This section provides resources and references from disability policies on a variety of relevant topics that would comprise the content of an institutional disability policy. Though not an exhaustive list, the following subsections are areas that should be considered and included within a comprehensive PSE disability policy.

Legislation

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how issues pertaining to relevant legislation can be incorporated in to disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The University staff shall not deny to any person services or facilities of the University nor discriminate against any person with respect to those services or facilities because of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry or place of origin of that person, subject to the provisions of The Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act. (S.A. 1998, chapter H?1 1.7). (Excerpt from the University of Calgary Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/93)
  • Notwithstanding anything in this policy, students have the right at any time to seek the assistance of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

    The University’s commitment to safeguarding students and employees from prohibited discrimination is set out in the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination, and the procedures for addressing alleged violations of the Statement by employees are set out in the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination Procedure for Complaints against an Employee of the University. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)

  • Make its courses or programs accessible to students with disabilities in accordance with the Human Rights Code (BC) and the Canadian Charter or Rights and Freedom. (Excerpt from the University of British Columbia’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/policy73.pdf)

Application

The resources and references included below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution can answer the question of who is to be considered under the disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • Wilfrid Laurier University has a separate accommodation policy on Academic Accommodation of Graduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11390.
  • For the purposes of this policy, a student is a person who has formally applied to Lethbridge College, or who is currently enrolled in one or more credit courses offered by Lethbridge College. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf)
  • All full- or part-time students who have self-identified and been documented as having a Disability and registered in courses that could lead to a degree, certificate, or diploma in both on- or off-campus programs at all campuses of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

    Persons with disabilities who have formally applied to and been accepted by the University as prospective students (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)

  • In this policy "student" includes an applicant for admission as well as a person who has been admitted and is eligible to register in courses at the University. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • This policy applies to academic accommodations involving undergraduate and graduate students in full-time and part-time programs, certificates, and continuing education courses. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Appendix section IV, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf

    A student is a person who:

    • is registered in full-time or part-time credit or non-credit courses offered by the University; or
    • has formally applied to the University as a prospective student.
  • Excerpt from the University of British Columbia’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/policy73.pdf)

Definition of Disability

The resources and references included below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution can define disability within their disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • A mental, physical, and/or neurological impairment, learning disorder, or psychiatric disorder, which is likely to continue and may significantly limit and/or interfere with educational pursuits. (Excerpt from Douglas Colleges policy on Accessibility to college programs, courses and services for persons with disabilities, http://www.douglas.bc.ca/about/policies/edu/access.html)
  • Humber College provides very detailed definitions of different disabilities. The definitions are derived from definitions adopted by the Ontario College Committee on Disability Issues (CCDI) or other authoritative sources as noted. Categories include "Learning Disabilities" , Deafness, Hard of hearing, Orthopedic disabilities, Neurological disabilities, Mental illnesses or psychological disabilities, ADD and ADHD, A brain injury, Medical conditions or other disabilities: For full definitions see Humber’s policy: http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/
  • A student with a disability means a student who, as a result of a physical, sensory or mental impairment or a learning disability, encounters barriers that substantially limits at least one major life activity. See The Ontario Human Rights Code for more information on the definition of disability. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Appendix section IV, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)
  • Accommodations are provided to support the diverse learning needs of students with a wide range of documented physical, sensory, neurological, psychological, and learning disabilities, which may be permanent or temporary (e.g., a student with a broken arm might require temporary accommodations to assist with writing exams).(Excerpt from Acadia University’s Senate Policy Regarding Support and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://disabilityaccess.acadiau.ca/Senate.html)
  • Students with disabilities refer to those individuals who are disadvantaged by reason of any verifiable and persistent physical, learning, cognitive, sensory, psychological, neurological, or temporary impairment that may affect their academic progress. (Modified from current definitions of the World Health Organization) (Excerpt from Athabasca University’s Policy for Students with Disabilities, http://lss.athabascau.ca/asd/policy/)
  • The definition of disability used in this policy is the same as that used by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) and the Ontario Human Rights Code. That is, a disability is:
    • 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

    (Excerpt from St. Clair College’s policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, http://www.stclaircollege.ca/studentservices/learningcommons/Policy741_Accessibility_for_Persons_with_Disabilities.pdf)

  • A student with a disability is a person who:
    • Has been diagnosed by an appropriate professional as having: a mental health impairment; physical impairment; neurological impairment; learning disorder; or sensory impairment, any/all of which may be permanent or temporary and is likely to continue and may significantly interfere with educational pursuits; AND
    • Experiences functional restrictions or limitations in their ability to perform the range of life's activities; AND
    • May experience attitudinal and/or environmental barriers that hamper their full and self-directed participation in life.

    (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)

  • Western University provides Duty to Accommodate Guidelines. http://www.uwo.ca/humanresources/home/splash/accommodation.htm

Definition of Accommodation

The resources and references included below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution can define accommodation within their disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • For the purpose of this policy, accommodation refers to any adaptation, modification or alteration to the environment, instructional or evaluation methodology necessary to assist in access to the University. Accommodation may also include alternate formats and methods of communication, physical renovations to the University, the use of adaptive technology or the provision of special services through third party service providers. To be considered by the University, proposed accommodation requests must meet the following criteria:
    • the accommodation must be based on documented individual need;
    • the accommodation must not pose a threat to personal or public safety;
    • the accommodation is not of a personal nature unrelated to the disability;
    • the accommodation will assist the student to access University services;
    • the accommodation does not compromise the essential requirements of a course or program;
    • the accommodation does not impose undue hardship on the University.

    (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)

  • It is recognized that the University has an obligation to make its services available in a manner that does not discriminate. This duty involves accommodating students with disabilities in accordance with the terms of the Ontario Human Rights Code. Accommodation involves treating students with disabilities in a way that respects their dignity and provides them with equality of opportunity. Once accommodated and hence provided with an equal opportunity, it is the student's responsibility to meet the essential requirements of a course/programme. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • Lethbridge College recognizes its duty to provide academic accommodation to students with disabilities. Lethbridge College will, where reasonable, remove barriers and provide opportunities to students with disabilities within the limits of its resources, and having due regard to the rights and entitlements of other students and college staff who may be affected. Lethbridge College will enable them to access Lethbridge College services, programs, and facilities, and to be welcomed as participating members of Lethbridge College community. Lethbridge College's goal is to ensure fair treatment of all students, including students with a disability, in accordance with their distinct needs, and without compromising academic standards and principles. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf))
  • Duty to Accommodate: The University has the obligation to meet the needs of students with disabilities in ways that do not discriminate. The needs of each individual student with a disability must be assessed to determine the appropriate accommodations. Not all students with the same disability will have the same needs. Once a student’s needs have been accommodated, it is the student’s responsibility to meet the essential academic requirements of a course/program and to follow accommodation procedures. All faculty have the obligation to be aware of and knowledgeable about effective implementation of accommodation or seek required support.

    Limitations on the Duty to Accommodate: The University will accommodate a student with a disability so that the student may fulfill the essential requirements of a course/program. In some circumstances, the nature and degree of a disability can mean that no accommodation would enable an individual to meet the essential academic requirements of a course/program or to meet the behavioural expectations of the University. In these cases, the University is not required to accommodate and may refuse to provide accommodations. However, efforts must be made to survey all reasonable options. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Appendix section IV, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

  • The University must provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. This will not entail any modification of the academic standards of the University or the elimination of the academic evaluation of students. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • The purpose of academic accommodations is to provide educational equity, not advantage. Faculty members should not modify their grading procedures, course standards, or course requirements for students with disabilities. (Excerpt from Humber Colleges Policy and Procedures Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Administrators, http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/)
  • In some circumstances, the nature and degree of a disability may mean that no reasonable accommodation would enable an individual to perform the essential requirements of a course/programme. In these cases, accommodations will be considered, but may be refused if necessary in order to preserve the academic integrity (meaning the essential requirements) of a course/programme. A person cannot be presumed incapable of performing the essential requirements of a course/programme unless an effort has been made to canvass all reasonable options for accommodation. In a university setting, the essential requirements of a course/programme may include, but are not limited to, the knowledge and skills which must be acquired or demonstrated in order for a student to successfully meet the learning objectives of the course/programme. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • To take reasonable steps where appropriate to modify program course load (number of credits a student is enrolled in within a semester), examination procedures, course and other academic requirements to permit students with disabilities to complete their studies without compromising academic standards by establishing alternative routes or methods by which learning objectives or core program requirements can be achieved. (Excerpt from Athabasca University’s Policy for Students with Disabilities, http://lss.athabascau.ca/asd/policy/)
  • Accommodations for a disability are intended to provide an equal opportunity for students who need to do certain tasks in a different fashion. Students must still meet the essential requirements of the curriculum. They must (i) gain the required knowledge, (ii) demonstrate that knowledge to the satisfaction of the instructor and (iii) apply that knowledge appropriately. (Excerpt from Lakehead University’s policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=61)
  • Non-Academic Accommodation: Accommodation in relation to University activities and services that are not otherwise considered academic accommodation (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may chose to delegate specific roles and responsibilities to specific individuals, groups or departments and how they may outline these tasks within the disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • Library Services must make every reasonable effort to provide students with disabilities equal access to information; and collaborate when necessary in the provision of information in alternate formats and adaptive technology within the library to improve accessibility. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Appendix section IV, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)
  • The Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC) is the designated unit at the University for assisting the Carleton community in integrating persons with disabilities into all aspects of Carleton’s academic and community life. The PMC provides assessment of academic accommodation, advises students on strategies to open a dialogue with instructors and acts as consultant, facilitator, coordinator and advocate in this area for all members of the University community.

    PMC is responsible for coordinating the provision of comprehensive and professional services necessary to respond to the needs of students with disabilities. It is responsible for assessing the needs for academic accommodation of students with disabilities through assessments that are carried out on an individual basis, in accordance with related legislation, and on the basis of relevant professional/medical documentation, information gathered from the student, and evaluation by PMC staff. (Excerpt from Carleton University’s Accommodation Policy, http://www2.carleton.ca/pmc/policies-and-regulations/policy/)

  • The Department of Student Services is responsible for the coordination of accommodations for students with disabilities. (Excerpt from University of Prince Edward Island’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.upei.ca/webstercentre/accessibility/policy)
  • The Accessible Learning Centre (ALC) is dedicated to the overall academic development of students with disabilities who register with the Centre. The Centre shall coordinate requests for, and assist in the provision of accommodations.

    All requests to instructors for accommodation must first be discussed with the ALC. Instructors shall indicate to students who raise disability and/or accommodation issues that they should first discuss these matters with the ALC.

    The Registrar’s Office shall collaborate with the ALC in planning and implementing all aspects of accommodations required for individual students with disabilities scheduled to write examinations. These include, but are not restricted to: extra time on exams, separate locations for writing, enlarged exams, provision of a scribe, etc.;

    The Registrar’s Office shall also provide assistance, in consultation with the ALC, in implementing other accommodations where the requirements fall within the jurisdiction of the Registrar's Office, for example, the provision of special time- tabling or classroom use. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)

  • The policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities at Ryerson University outlines specific guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of a number of people (faculty, staff, instructors, dean, administration, disability office, etc. http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf
  • After each specific policy point in Politique d'intégration des personnes handicapées étudiantes à l'Université Laval the department or office which is responsible for implementing each measure is stated. http://www.aide.ulaval.ca/sgc/pid/1871
  • In its efforts to accommodate disabilities appropriately, the approach adopted by the University is collaborative, involving the student requesting the accommodation, the instructor, department (or school or program where applicable), and/or Faculty which provides the accommodation, and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in the Student Development Centre which coordinates the request for and provision of accommodation.

    Students who wish to be considered for formal academic accommodation on the grounds of disability should make their requests in writing to the Coordinator for Services for Students with Disabilities. The request must identify the courses for which accommodation is being sought and outline the nature of the disability. It must be accompanied by the documentation prescribed above (see Responsibility of the Student). In the absence of appropriate medical or psychological documentation, the student must arrange for assessment of the disability. SSD may assist with these arrangements but cannot guarantee the timely accommodation of students who make requests but have not been professionally assessed. Students should also, where possible, provide copies of the course outlines for the courses for which accommodation is being requested.

    If SSD, after determining that a student has a disability requiring accommodation, proposes to recommend a form of accommodation to the instructor, it will make best efforts to contact the instructor (at minimum, by electronic mail) to discuss essential course or program requirements and possible accommodations, and to give the instructor the opportunity to discuss the appropriateness of the proposed accommodation. Where possible, SSD shall attempt to contact the instructor by the third week of classes in the fall and winter terms and by the end of the first week of classes in Intersession, distance studies, summer day and summer evening sessions. Following discussion with the instructor, or within two weeks of first attempting to contact the instructor where no discussion has yet occurred, SSD, if it remains of the view that accommodation is required, will send a letter to the instructor. The letter should contain (1) a statement as to the documentation on file with SSD; (2) a brief description of the nature of the student’s diagnosed disability and consequent needs; (3) a suggested accommodation. A copy of this letter will be sent to the Dean of the student’s home Faculty for information and SSD will make a copy available to the student. (Excerpt from Western University’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2010/pg118.html)

  • The Accessible Learning Centre will meet with the student and review all documentation provided.

    They will consult with the departmental undergraduate advisor, instructor, or Chair for further course requirements if required.

    They will then develop a proposed accommodation plan based on how the student's needs interact with course requirements;

    The ALC will send the proposed accommodation plan (via e-mail) to the instructor(s); if s/he has not yet been named, the department Chair will be considered the designate.

    Upon receipt of a proposed accommodation plan for a student, the instructor and/or department chair will reply within two (2) days, in writing via e-mail, of acceptance of the accommodations as written, or request a discussion of the proposed accommodations with the Accessible Learning Centre.

    Should an instructor not agree with the accommodations proposed, they will contact the Accessible Learning Centre as stated above, to arrange a meeting with the staff and the student.

    If at any time during the review process, the instructor, the Chair or the Dean or designate decide that there are substantial financial implications to granting the requested accommodation, the plan will be forwarded directly to the Vice President, Academic who shall meet with the Director of Accessible Learning to review the plan.

    After consulting, if he/she determines that the plan will not result in undue financial hardship to the University, the matter shall be returned to the appropriate Faculty. On the other hand, if the Vice President, Academic, after consulting as above, determines that the plan cannot be implemented without undue financial hardship to the University, he/she shall notify the Accessible Learning Centre in writing within five (5) working days of being contacted, that the accommodation shall not be granted. (WLU Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)

  • Although the primary responsibility for the provision of services rests with Access to Students with Disabilities (ASD), the provision of a supportive and responsive academic, social and physical environment is the responsibility of the entire University. (Excerpt from Athabasca University’s Policy for Students with Disabilities, http://lss.athabascau.ca/asd/policy/)

Admission

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may detail their policies regarding the admission process within the disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The University has a responsibility to: ensure that persons are not denied admission on the basis of their disability. (Excerpt from the University of British Columbia’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/policy73.pdf)
  • Laurier will, on request, provide admission information to applicants in alternate format (e-text, Braille, audio tape, etc.) within a reasonable time frame. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • L'Université veille à éliminer toute discrimination dans l'évaluation des demandes d'admission à ses programmes. Ainsi, toute personne peut être admise à un programme si elle fait la preuve qu'elle possède une préparation suffisante et les aptitudes nécessaires pour réussir dans les études choisies. Instances principales : Bureau du registraire, Directions de programme, Comités d'admission. (Excerpt from Politique d'intégration des personnes handicapées étudiantes à l'Université Laval, http://www.aide.ulaval.ca/sgc/pid/1871)
  • Students with disabilities seeking admission to the University are expected to satisfy the normal admission requirements. In cases where conditions for admission are not met, the Admissions Officer, in consultation with the Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities and with the Dean of the relevant Faculty, will consider each of these cases on an individual basis. Additional materials describing the exceptional grounds which have prevented achievement of the normal admission standards will be required. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)
  • Students with a disability who do not meet the current admission requirements have the same recourse as other applicants in that they may appeal, through documentation, to the Admissions Committee. Decisions of the Admissions Committee are final. (Excerpt from University of Prince Edward Island’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.upei.ca/webstercentre/accessibility/policy)
  • In accordance with general admission procedures, Laurier will accept academically qualified candidates for admission to undergraduate programs by examining each applicant's academic record and the impact of any extenuating circumstances. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • Students with disabilities are encouraged both on the application form and in the University Calendar to identify themselves to the Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to declare their disability in the application process, and to seek assistance in selecting their courses/programmes from the ALC together with their prospective Faculty. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)

Accommodations

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may outline their policies regarding the accommodation process of students with disabilities.

College/University Resources

  • Accommodations available for students with disabilities must be made on an individual basis and may include priority registration, assisted registration, alternate formats for texts and examinations, for example. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • Where appropriate, SSD will facilitate any special arrangements that need to be made regarding accommodations. In all accommodations involving exams, security procedures must be as stringent as for any other examination. (Excerpt from Western University’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2010/pg118.html)
  • Modifications to program course-load, that is, course-load reduction, and other academic requirements will be available for students with disabilities for whom this is required. In cases where course substitutions are requested, the student and representatives from the department/faculty and the Centre for Students with Disabilities will meet in order to discuss an appropriate substitution. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • Determination of student's eligibility for academic accommodations and/or support services should be made by a SSD Consultant at least three weeks prior to date of requested service or as soon as possible in the semester.

    Determination of specific academic accommodations for the student and drafting of the "Memo to Faculty" should be made by a SSD Consultant at least two weeks prior to the date of requested services or as soon as possible in each semester. (Excerpt from Humber Colleges Policy and Procedures Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Administrators, http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/)

  • New students are encouraged to self-identify on the appropriate University application for admission/re-admission form. They should contact the appropriate campus co-ordinating centre at least six weeks before registration to discuss their specific needs. (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)
  • Except in extraordinary circumstances, decisions concerning academic-accommodations shall be communicated within five (5) working days of the student’s request. A request can be expedited at the request of the student if circumstances warrant. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)
  • TO ensure SSD has sufficient time to review the requests and to make arrangements for academic accommodations, students should submit all required documentation to SSD by the following dates:
    • incoming first year or transfer students should submit all required documentation to SSD by August 1 or as soon as possible after they receive their offers of admission from the University;
    • returning upper-year students should submit all required documentation by August 1 or as soon as possible after registration;
    • students requesting accommodation for courses offered in Intersession, Distance Studies, Summer Day and Summer Evening Sessions, should submit all required documentation to SSD at least one month before the start of classes or as soon as possible after they receive their offers of admission;

    (Excerpt from Western University’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2010/pg118.html)

  • Some accommodations take longer to arrange than others (e.g., sign-language interpreting and transcriptions), thus, students with these types of requests should be particularly cognizant of the timing of their requests. Failure to make a request or to supply the required medical documentation in a timely manner may delay or prevent implementation of the requested accommodation. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • LAC shall attempt to contact the instructor as soon as possible after it has been determined that a student requires accommodation. Where possible, such contact shall be made before the class concerned begins. Following discussion with the instructor, or within two weeks of first attempting to contact the instructor where no discussion has yet occurred, LAC will send a letter to the instructor. The letter should contain
    • a brief description of the nature of the student's functional limitation and consequent needs;
    • a suggested accommodation

    An instructor who agrees with the suggested accommodation shall sign the request and return it to LAC within one week of its receipt. (Excerpt from Lakehead University’s policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=61)

  • Except in rare circumstances when significant psychological or mental health issues arise, there should be no “after-the-fact” accommodation. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)
  • Where the department/faculty curriculum committee determines that there is no appropriate substitution, the student will receive written notification of this decision. This notification will include the rationale as to why the course is considered an essential component of the program of study. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • Instructors should be aware of, and comply with, this policy, and become knowledgeable about removing disability related barriers within classrooms and in implementing accommodations.

    Instructors need to incorporate techniques to maximize accessibility within the classroom environment. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

  • Instructors and staff should be alert to any course or program components which may seem non-discriminatory in nature, but in practice may impede a student's ability to fulfill course/program requirements. An example would be asking a student with a Physical Disability to complete a field trip to an inaccessible location. In such a situation, providing an alternative activity for a student with a Disability (where feasible) maintains the principle of fairness for all students, but does not limit the opportunities available to others. (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)
  • The University affirms its commitment to the physical accessibility of the Carleton campus, and to the assessment of academic accommodation for students with disabilities in order to maintain its leadership among the province’s educational institutions in implementing accessibility. (Excerpt from Carleton University’s Accommodation Policy, http://www2.carleton.ca/pmc/policies-and-regulations/policy/)
  • Dans la mesure où ses ressources le lui permettent, l’UdeM prend les dispositions nécessaires pour rendre accessibles aux personnes en situation de handicap les immeubles du campus.

    Dans toute sa documentation, l’UdeM mentionne l’accessibilité physique aux immeubles et traite des mesures existantes facilitant l’accessibilité aux programmes d’études. (Excerpt from L’Université Montréal’s Politique cadre sur l'intégration des personnes en situation de handicap, http://www.bsesh.umontreal.ca/integration/

  • Several rooms in our residences have been adapted to accommodate persons with disabilities. Students without disabilities may be assigned to these rooms but they will be notified that if a person with a disability needs the room they will be required to move. In this case, the Residence Office will make all reasonable effort to reassign them to a suitable room.

    The University affirms its commitment to the improvement of physical accessibility throughout the campus and will make this a priority in the construction of any new facilities and in the renovation of existing facilities. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)

  • Where classrooms are not physically accessible, the Registrar will effect classroom changes to allow the participation of a student with a disability. (St. Francis Xavier U)
  • The Registrar’s Office shall make accommodations for convocation ceremonies, in conjunction with the Access Centre as appropriate, with advance notice from the student or other relevant parties. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities document, Section 7, pg. 7. http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

Assessments and Documentation

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may detail their policies regarding disability assessments and documentation within the disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • Documentation acceptable to the University must be obtained from medical doctors, psychologists and/or special education/rehabilitation personnel or other health professionals who have specific training, expertise, and experience in the diagnosis of conditions for which accommodation is being requested. All persons submitting documentation must be appropriately certified and/or licensed to practice their professions.

    Documentation should outline the nature of the disability, along with a detailed explanation of the functional impact of the disability. A diagnosis alone is not sufficient to support a request for an accommodation.

    Documentation must be current: (University of British Columbia)

    • For new students who have a stable condition, usually no more than 3 years must have elapsed between the time of the assessment and the date of the initial request for accommodation.
    • For returning students whose condition has remained stable since the time of submission of the original supporting documents, no further documentation will be required.
    • When a new or returning student’s functional abilities have shown significant change (i.e. either an improvement or deterioration of status has taken place or is expected to take place) or when the accommodation requests have changed significantly over the course of studies (e.g., from 1st to 2nd year), new or updated information may be requested by the DRC. The University of British Columbia does not provide or assume the cost of diagnostic services.
    • In exceptional circumstances, a student will be provided accommodation on a limited basis without documentation.

    Excerpt from the University of British Columbia’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/policy73.pdf

  • University of Prince Edward Island’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities provides guidelines for appropriate assessment and documentation including the minimum domains that must be assessed, information that must be included and required timelines. The policy also states that the Coordinator of Services for Students with Learning Disabilities is available to consult regarding any of the guidelines. http://www.upei.ca/webstercentre/accessibility/policy
  • It is recognized that there is a duty on the student to provide relevant and recent psychological or medical documentation (from an approved and regulated health professional) to substantiate their disability and any resultant restrictions;. The student must also demonstrate that the disability has an impact on his/her ability to benefit equally from the University’s educational services.

    The ALC is responsible for receiving and verifying a student’s psychological or medical documentation. The ALC will review all documentation and consult with each student individually to determine if s/he qualifies for services. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)

  • Students will identify themselves to SSD and, where required, provide appropriate documentation of their disabilities. In the case of learning disabilities, a psychoeducational assessment designating a specific learning disability is required. In the absence of proper documentation, students will be directed to the appropriate professional.

    Submission of medical/ testing documentation to Services for Students with Disabilities should be made by the student at least four weeks prior to date of requested services or as soon as possible in the semester. (Excerpt from Humber Colleges Policy and Procedures Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Administrators, http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/)

  • Submit all documentation for accommodations to the Disability Counselor in a timely manner (normally a minimum of 3 months in advance), to allow for the arrangement of accommodations. For example, submit in June for September accommodations. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf)

Appeals

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may detail within the disability policy the appeals process for students with disabilities.

College/University Resources

  • An instructor who cannot agree to the suggested accommodation on the basis that it would compromise the academic integrity of the course or program, shall discuss the matter with his/her Chair/Director. If the instructor remains unwilling to implement the suggested accommodation after discussion with the Chair/Director, or if the Chair/Director agrees with the instructor that the suggested accommodation is not appropriate, then the instructor and Chair/Director shall consult directly with LAC within one week of the instructor's receipt of the accommodation letter from LAC. This consultation may involve the student at his/her discretion.

    Nothing in this Policy shall be read as prohibiting an appeal by the student to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. (Excerpt from Lakehead University’s policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=61)

  • In Wilfrid Laurier University’s Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities the appeal processes required by different parties are outlined including those for students, instructors and department chairs. http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391
  • If a student with disabilities disputes the access or accommodations recommended or provided by the University, he/she should first attempt to resolve the disagreement informally. The recommended steps to informal resolution are as follows:
  • That the student shall meet with the other party (staff/faculty responsible for access/accommodation decision) as soon as possible in attempts to resolve the situation. If still unresolved:
    • The student shall meet with the other party’s Supervisor or Chair in attempts to resolve the situation. If still unresolved:
    • The student shall meet with the other party’s Director or Dean in attempts to resolve the situation.
  • A student following informal dispute resolution procedures may request a third party to accompany them to the above-mentioned meetings and to assist them in explaining the disability and corresponding accommodation implications.

    If a student with a disability is not satisfied with the results of informal dispute resolution procedures, he/she may choose to attempt to resolve the disagreement through formal procedures. Two possible formal procedures are available to the student:

    • Consulting with the University Harassment and Discrimination Advisor for assistance in resolving the situation through UNBC Harassment and Discrimination Policy and procedures or,
    • Requesting further dispute resolution assistance through the BC Human Rights Commission.

    (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf

Confidentiality

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may detail the policies regarding confidentiality of students with disabilities.

College/University Resources

  • The privacy of students with disabilities shall be respected. While students are encouraged to advocate for themselves and to discuss their disabilities and their needs openly, ultimately, students must make the decision as to when, whether, and to whom they wish to reveal details regarding their disabilities. (Excerpt from Acadia University’s Senate Policy Regarding Support and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://disabilityaccess.acadiau.ca/Senate.html)
  • There is no requirement for students with disabilities to disclose their disabilities. However, to be considered for authorized accommodations under this policy, students with disabilities must identify themselves to Disability Services, provide documentation confirming their disabilities, and request appropriate access or accommodations through the procedures of Disability Services. (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)
  • With respect to a student with a disability, the student will be strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Centre to discuss appropriate assessment and documentation of the disability. The sensitivity of confidentiality issues is recognized as is the value of the student's experience and knowledge with respect to the disability and its impact on learning. The student's co-operation is an important component in determining the appropriate accommodation. (Excerpt from the University of Calgary Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/93)
  • Treat the information obtained as confidential according to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC) (Excerpt from University of British Columbia’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.universitycounsel.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/policy73.pdf)
  • Subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of British Columbia, Disability Services will not release any identifying information on students to any parties other than those involved in the provision of services to persons with disabilities. (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)
  • Respect all information gathered under this policy as confidential and protected according to FOIP policy and principles. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf)
  • No mention of course or program accommodations will be included on a student transcript. Student files or student information of an identifying nature, are not to be removed from Disability Services without authorization of the Coordinator of the Centre.

    Faculty, staff and administration are all responsible for maintaining confidentiality. Any disability related information should be kept in a separate, numbered, confidential file and not included with the student’s academic record. (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)

  • When the student is no longer registered at the University, all documentation held by the campus co-ordinating centre(s) will be destroyed after seven years. (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)
  • All documentation related to disability is submitted to, and held in locked and confidential filing cabinets in, the Access Centre. Information on accommodation is only released on a need-to know basis within the Ryerson community. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)
  • A student with disabilities may authorize Disability Services to share relevant information from his/her file so as to assist in obtaining access, accommodations or services. This will involve signing a Release of Information Agreement.

    A student with a disability may request and authorize a third party to share confidential information with Disability Services. This will involve signing a Consent for Obtaining Confidential Information Agreement. (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)

  • Information relating to a student's Disability may be disclosed without the student's knowledge or consent in the following circumstances:
    • to comply with legal or regulatory requirements;
    • Where the student alleges that the University has contravened a federal or provincial law;
    • The disclosure is authorized, required, or permitted by law.

    Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137

Financial Assistance

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may detail policies regarding financial assistance for students with disabilities.

College/University Resources

  • The Disability Counselor will establish a fee structure for specific assistive services. This will assist students in completing student loan or grant application forms. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf)
  • To ensure the resources are available to provide support services, ASD will establish a fee structure for specific services that either have to be contracted or demand extensive time from the staff of ASD. Such service fees are commonplace and are included in student funding or grant applications. Services will be extended in whole or in part, when financially feasible, to students with disabilities who do not have the economic resources or funding sponsorship. (Excerpt from Athabasca University’s Policy for Students with Disabilities, http://lss.athabascau.ca/asd/policy/)
  • University scholarships and bursaries, which set minimum credit hour per semester requirements for applicants, may be modified for applicants with disabilities. (Excerpt from Simon Fraser University’s Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy, http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general/gp26.html)
  • In determining eligibility for university awards, scholarships or other opportunities, the qualifications of students with disabilities will be considered on an individual basis in consultation with the Access Centre.

    Maintain a process of fairly assessing tuition fees where a reduced course load is an appropriate accommodation. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

Training/Promotion

The resources and references below are examples from PSE institutional policies of how an institution may outline their policies, procedures and commitments regarding training and promotion of the disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The Dean, Associate Dean or designate shall work in conjunction with the Department Chairs/Program Directors to ensure that all instructors are made aware of this policy and that the practices associated with the delivery of accommodation services are consistent with this policy. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)
  • Deans shall work in conjunction with the Department/School Chairs/Directors to ensure that all instructors are made aware of this policy and that the practices associated with the delivery of accommodations are consistent with this policy; (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)
  • The Committee members through their Education Subcommittee shall be responsible for developing and administering a campus wide education program on issues facing students with disabilities for the University of Calgary community. (Excerpt from the University of Calgary Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/93)
  • Douglas College will provide all College staff, faculty, administration and board members, especially those who provide instruction or service to students, with opportunities to access activities designed to increase awareness of the needs of individuals with disabilities. (Excerpt from Douglas Colleges policy on Accessibility to college programs, courses and services for persons with disabilities, http://www.douglas.bc.ca/about/policies/edu/access.html)
  • SSD will provide consultation on request to faculty, staff and administrators on how to implement the authorized academic accommodations most effectively.

    SSD will provide information, training, or orientation sessions for staff to ensure assistive equipment is used properly. (Excerpt from Humber Colleges Policy and Procedures Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Administrators, http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/)

  • Ensure that faculty and staff are familiar with policies and procedures regarding persons with disabilities. (Excerpt from Lethbridge Colleges Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.lethbridgecollege.ca/sites/default/files/imce/policies_procedures/Student_Services_&_Supports/academic_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities_%282.13%29.pdf)
  • Provide training to Instructors, staff, administrators, and any committee dealing with accommodation issues so they are knowledgeable about relevant University policies and procedures and are familiar with broader issues regarding persons with disabilities. (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)
  • The University must ensure that appropriate training is available to university personnel in the accommodation of students with disabilities, consistent with their role and responsibilities.

    The Learning and Teaching Office shall provide resources to faculty members related to instructional design, delivery and evaluation methods that may facilitate the academic success of students with disabilities.

    The Learning and Teaching Office shall identify and circulate new learning and teaching resources related to the provision of academic accommodations for students with disabilities.

    The Disability Service Provider’s will educate, when appropriate, students, faculty, and administrative staff as to their rights and responsibilities under this policy; (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

  • The University's offices for students with disabilities will assist students in the identification of particular aspects of courses that might present barriers to them and will work with them to identify the appropriate accommodations, provide supportive documentation, and assist the students and instructors in providing/obtaining accommodations. (Excerpt from York University’s policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.glendon.yorku.ca/myglendon/academicsupport/disabilities.php)
  • The University of Calgary has established a Centre to facilitate and promote an accessible learning environment which provides students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all services relating to academic life. The Disability Resource Centre will be the Centre through which discussion can be facilitated or coordinated to promote the appropriate and necessary accommodation to the learning environment. In many situations, the particular circumstances are relevant to the determination of the accommodation and the resources of the Centre can contribute to ensuring the University is meeting the required accommodation. (Excerpt from the University of Calgary Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/93)
  • The Department/School Chair/Director shall ensure the provision of accommodations for students with disabilities is outlined in the Department/School student handbook in accordance with the Course Management Policy 145, 3.1.6. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)
  • All faculty, staff and students shall cooperate with accommodation plans implemented under this policy. Failure to cooperate may be considered prohibited discrimination under the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)



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