Policy 119 - Accessibility

Policy 119 – Accessibility

Approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors X2014.21

PREAMBLE

PURPOSE

1. This document establishes the University’s policy on accessibility.

INTERPRETATION

2. Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), the University of Ottawa has a legal obligation to comply with certain standards established pursuant to the AODA in order to integrate accessibility for persons with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises.

3. This policy was developed in order for the University of Ottawa to meet its obligations under AODA and its accessibility standard regulations on customer service, information and communication, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces (collectively referred to in this policy as “accessibility legislation”).

4. This policy does not replace or substitute for the University’s legal obligations established under the Ontario accessibility legislation or under the Ontario Human Rights Code. This policy does not limit any obligations the University has to persons with disabilities that may be included in any of the collective agreements negotiated on behalf of the different groups of employees at the University of Ottawa.

POLICY STATEMENT

5. The University of Ottawa is committed to maintaining the dignity and independence of all members of its employees, its students and all members of the University community. The University is committed to complying with the objectives of the accessibility legislation and in doing so, seeks to ensure that persons living with a disability enjoy free and unhindered access to the University’s programs, goods, services, facilities, residences, communications, events and employment opportunities.

6. The University of Ottawa is committed to meeting the objectives and requirements outlined in Ontario’s Accessibility Legislation according to the prescribed timelines.

7. This policy commits anyone acting on behalf of the University to meet the University of Ottawa’s obligations under the accessibility legislation. The policy applies to all sectors of the University, including administration, services, teaching and research, and establishes specific standards on customer service, information and communications, employment, procurement as well as built environment.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

8. The University of Ottawa is committed to incorporating accessibility as well as the principles of independence, dignity, equality of opportunity and integration when developing or designing programs, goods, services, facilities, residences, communications, events and employment for the University community and the general public but specifically for persons with disabilities.

9. The University’s programs, goods, services, facilities, public spaces, residences, communications, events and employment practices must be created and provided in a manner that takes into consideration the needs of persons with disabilities; they must be of equivalent quality and delivered without unnecessary delay. 

POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY

CUSTOMER SERVICE

The customer service standards under the accessibility legislation apply to the University’s customer service. This is the policy that supports accessible customer service at the University of Ottawa.

10. The University is committed to ensuring its programs, goods, services, facilities, public spaces, residences, communications, events and employment practices are created and provided in a manner that takes into consideration the needs of persons with disabilities.

11. The administrative procedures for this policy states the practices for ensuring the University of Ottawa meets its obligations related to customer service standards. The Policy on the Provision of Adaptive Measures for Students with Disabilities states the steps necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are provided with accommodations in regards to learning and academic support.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

The information and communications standards under AODA apply to all information and communications with the public such as the University’s website, educational and training resources, and libraries. This policy ensures that the University of Ottawa provides information and communications in accessible formats.

12. The University of Ottawa commits to providing or arranging the provision of information and communications and communication supports about goods, services and facilities in an accessible format, depending on the needs of the person; it will take reasonable steps so that all members of the University community or general public can access in a timely fashion information and communications necessary to learn, teach, attend training, work or participate in University activities. 

13. The University of Ottawa commits to providing or to arranging for the provision of educational and training resources and materials in accessible format upon request and upon notification of a need.

14. The University of Ottawa commits to making its website and web content under its control more accessible and to design content within the web accessibility guidelines in the accessibility legislation.

15. The administrative procedures for this policy states the practices for ensuring the University of Ottawa meets its obligations related to information and communications standards.

EMPLOYMENT

The accessibility standards for employment under accessibility legislation apply to certain human resources’ practices. This policy ensures that recruiting and hiring practices are accessible and that professional development, performance management and adaptive measures for employees take into account each individual’ needs.

16. As an employer, the University of Ottawa will ensure that it integrates accessibility into its recruitment, hiring, professional development, performance management practices and that other regular employment processes are accessible. The University advises his employees that adaptive measures are available.

17. The administrative procedures for this policy states the practices for ensuring the University of Ottawa meets its obligations related to employment standards.

PROCUREMENT

Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities is part of the general integrated accessibility standards under accessibility legislation. Standards for procurement ensure that accessibility criteria and options are considered when purchasing goods.

18. The University of Ottawa takes into consideration accessibility criteria and options when purchasing goods or services except in cases where it is materially impossible to do so, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis; in such a case, the University of Ottawa will provide details if so requested.

19. The administrative procedures for this policy state the practices for ensuring the University of Ottawa meets its obligations related to procurement contained in the accessibility legislation. Policy 36 and its administrative procedures state the process of purchasing goods and services.

DESIGN OF PUBLIC SPACES

The design of public space standards under the accessibility legislation apply to outdoor spaces and certain newly constructed service counters and indoor waiting areas that are used by the general public. This policy supports such accessible public spaces at the University of Ottawa.

20. The University of Ottawa takes into account accessibility when building new elements or when updating, redeveloping and renovating any existing elements of its public spaces on campus. These elements include, for example, outdoor public eating areas, walkways, sidewalks, ramps, stairways, pedestrian signals, parking and service counters, and must meet the standards for the design of public spaces.

TRAINING

Accessibility training is required under the accessibility legislation and the University recognizes the need for training to ensure that the University of Ottawa’s faculty and staff are able to provide accessible customer service, information and communications.

21. The University will ensure that training on the requirements of accessibility legislation and the Ontario Human Rights Code is provided to employees, volunteers and to those acting on behalf of the University in developing University policies or in providing goods, services or facilities; this training must be adapted to the functions performed by the individuals attending the training.

22. The University of Ottawa will keep a record of all accessibility training provided including the topic, date and number of participants; the University will ensure this training is offered on an ongoing basis and remains current and takes into consideration any changes in practices.

FEEDBACK PROCESS

Feedback is a subset of the customer services standards as well as the general integrated accessibility standards under accessibility legislation. This policy supports feedback on campus accessibility as well as accessible feedback processes at the University of Ottawa. 

23. The University of Ottawa will provide a process for receiving and responding to feedback about the manner in which it provides goods or services to persons with disabilities and shall make information about the process readily available to the public. Individuals may communicate feedback in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic means such as email or online. The University will provide a mechanism for follow-up on feedback where required. The University shall ensure that the feedback processes are accessible to persons with disabilities by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communications supports, upon request.

DOCUMENTATION

24. The University of Ottawa develops numerous documents outlining the administrative procedures and practices related to accessibility. These documents are provided in an accessible format upon request and in a timely manner. 
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DELEGATION OF POWERS 

25. The Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost is responsible for compliance with this policy and with the accessibility legislation. This office oversees the development of the University of Ottawa’s Accessibility Plan and delegates authority and responsibilities to various individuals and units to ensure the Accessibility Plan is implemented.

26. Anyone acting on behalf of the University is responsible for being aware of and meeting the accessibility standards and for working together to meet these standards in order to create an accessible barrier free working, teaching and learning environment. 

27. The University of Ottawa develops a multi-year accessibility plan at least every five years that outlines its strategy for complying with accessibility standards; the plan is posted on the University’s website and made available in an accessible format; the plan is developed in consultation with members of the student body, specifically students with disabilities. 

28. An annual status report on the progress of measures the University of Ottawa has taken will be posted on the University’s website and available in alternate formats.

PRIVACY

29. The University of Ottawa is committed to maintaining and protecting the integrity of personal and confidential information. Anyone acting on behalf of the University who deals with persons with disabilities must keep health information and all other personal information confidential.

30. Policy 14a Student Record and Policy 90 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy govern confidentiality and personal information.

NON-COMPLIANCE

31. Non-compliance with accessibility legislation can result in consequences for the University, including administrative penalties imposed by order on the University.

AMENDMENTS

32. Any amendments to this policy must be approved by the Senate and the Board of Governors.

POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY APPENDIX – GLOSSARY

33. The following definitions apply in this policy.

(1) Accessibility: Ensure people of all abilities have opportunities to participate fully in everyday life. (Accessibilité)

(2) Accessible format: Information presented in an alternate accessible format such as large print, recorded audio and electronic formats and braille. (Formats accessibles)

(3) Barrier: Anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice. (Obstacle)

(4) Communication supports: may include, but are not limited to, captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language, sign language and other supports that facilitate effective communications. (Aides à la communication)

(5) Disability: As defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code, a condition involving a physical disability, a developmental disability or a learning disability. A disability can be visible or invisible and includes but is not limited to:

     i. 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, and physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
     ii. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
     iii. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
     iv. a mental disorder; and
     v. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. (Handicap)

(6) Employee: All unionized and non-unionized academic and administrative staff as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than the University’s operating funds such as grants, research grants and other funding. (Employé)

(7) Goods and services: Anything the University of Ottawa produces or acquires from suppliers and all activities and interactions that result in an exchange of information, documents or products for the benefit of the University community or the general public, including academic programs and services. (Biens et services)

(8) Integrated Accessibility Standards: Sections of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and Ontario Regulation 191/11 that apply to information and communications, employment, procurement, transportation and built environment. (Normes d’accessibilité intégrées)

(9) Information and communications: Data, facts, information and knowledge transferred in a variety of forms as well as interactions between members of the University community or with the general public in order to provide, send or receive information. Information and communications can be promotional, informative, administrative or pedagogical in nature and in text, audio, digital or graphic format distributed in a printed, Internet, audiovisual, multimedia or physical form. (Information et communications)

(10) Student: An individual registered at the University, whether full time or part time, at the undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral level and includes medical residents and fellows. (Étudiant)

(11) University community: The group of persons that study, work or visit the University, such as students, employees and visitors. (Communauté universitaire)

REFERENCES

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Regulation 429/07
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, Integrated Accessibility Standards, Regulation 191/11
Accessibility standards, Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ontario Human Rights Code
 

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