By Lavinia Allary
To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2015, the University of Ottawa Human Rights Office launched its Accessibility Hub website. Accessibility allies on campus gathered on this day to celebrate in the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall.
The launch included an airing of the Hub’s introductory video, in which President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Rock states, “We want to ensure that our professors, personnel, students and visitors have easy access to all of our services and facilities. This commitment aligns with our strategic plan, Destination 2020, and, in particular, with our efforts to provide a rich and inspiring experience for each and every student. Fulfilling this ambitious goal is a collaborative effort that requires both planning and the involvement of our entire community.”
The Accessibility Hub is designed to be a central online resource for accessibility at uOttawa. It houses tools and resources for students, educators, employees and visitors to help identify and remove barriers to accessibility.
Furthermore, the Hub will assist the University in meeting its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) by highlighting responsibilities within the University and creating a structure for establishing the necessary policies, procedures and standards.
An initiative of the uOttawa Human Rights Office
“The Human Rights Office is very proud to present the Accessibility Hub. We believe this initiative will help the uOttawa community make real progress in ensuring accessibility and respect for human rights,” says Sonya Nigam, director of the Human Rights Office.
The Human Rights Office is responsible for managing the information housed in the Accessibility Hub and for reporting on compliance. The Office works with the University of Ottawa community to identify accessibility gaps and to make recommendations to ensure the University meets its legal requirements under various policies, procedures and standards.
Accessibility and the law
Under the Code, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination due to disability or perceived disability in the areas of employment, services, goods, facilities, housing, contracts and membership in trade and vocational associations.
The purpose of the AODA is to make Ontario accessible by 2025 by removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in their community. The Act also comprises regulations—accessibility standards—related to general requirements, customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces.
Visit the Accessibility Hub for more information or to pass along any comments or suggestions you may have.