NEADS receives grant funding from Employment and Social Development Canada for research into The Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities in Canadian Post-Secondary Education: 2016 2018

(Ottawa, December 6, 2016) -

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) has received funds from the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP-D), of just over $193,000 for an important new research project: The Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities in Canadian Post-Secondary Education: 2016 – 2018.

This project specifically addresses the SDPP-D Program objective to: "support the development and utilization of effective approaches to address social issues and challenges." Building on previous NEADS work, including the landmark report of the National Taskforce on the Experience of Graduate Students with Disabilities, Understanding Accessibility in Graduate Education For Students with Disabilities in Canada (2016); Enhancing Accessibility for Disabled Students - A Guide For Service Providers (2012); and, Working Towards a Coordinated National Approach to Services, Accommodations and Policies for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities (1999), this 18 month project will undertake a thorough examination of the current landscape of accessibility, services, accommodations, technical equipment and supports for students with disabilities at publicly-funded post-secondary institutions across Canada.

“Students with disabilities deserve equal access and opportunity in their schools. In supporting activities that engage and consult students with disabilities, we can make informed decisions on how to make this happen. Ensuring accessibility in post-secondary institutions is a great example of how – together – we are changing the culture around disability and creating a more accessible Canada. ” – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

The research will occur at the same time as, and is expected to inform, the Government of Canada's consultation on a new planned accessibility legislation, under the leadership of Minister Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. The Government of Canada provides funding for post-secondary education through transfer payments to the provinces, and supports a national grants and loans program through the Canada Student Loans Program, which offers disability specific grants and repayment assistance. The Government of Canada also provides research funding through the three national granting councils to support research programs ongoing at Canadian colleges and universities, including providing stipendiary support to students and research trainees, some of whom have disabilities. Consultations and research on post-secondary access and services are timely and will contribute to the Government of Canada's emphasis on access to education and training for persons with disabilities, leading to their participation in the competitive labour market.

Emily Duffett, NEADS’ Chair and Nova Scotia Director applauded the federal government for funding the research: "Thank you to the Government of Canada and Minister Qualtrough for the opportunity to undertake this vital project. We know that with education and training persons with disabilities can become full participants in Canada’s competitive workforce. But for that to happen, our colleges and universities must be fully accessible and inclusive learning spaces. This initiative would not be possible without a dedicated team of collaborators. I look forward to seeing what comes from this project."

“This project gives us an unprecedented opportunity to bring together a national team of collaborators – a virtual network of excellence – who are interested in answering big, important questions in higher education policy, accessibility and universal design. We are excited to get started, and to learn about best practices from around the country,” commented Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, NEADS’ Director of Research and the Principal Investigator for this project.

The objectives of this initiative will be met through a comprehensive literature review and environmental scan; a review of institutional accessibility and accommodations policies and best practices; delivery of bilingual, online surveys of the relevant stakeholder groups; and in-person consultations on campus and in appropriate conference settings.

We will leverage the network and success of the NEADS National Taskforce on the Experience of Graduate Students with Disabilities (2012-2016) to assemble an appropriate and in-scope network of students and professionals to guide the Project: an Advisory Group on Post-Secondary Accessibility and Accommodation). The National Educational Association of Disabled Students will also assemble a cross-Canada team of collaborators to execute the project in a timely manner.

- 30 –

For further information on this project contact:

Frank Smith, National Coordinator,  National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 tel. (613) 380-8065 ext. 201,

"Supporting access to post-secondary education and employment for students with disabilities"