Policy 119– Accessibility
Approved by the Board of Governors. Resolution 2018.05
1. This Policy outlines responsibilities related to accessibility at the University of Ottawa (the University) to ensure the University meets the requirements of accessibility legislation in Ontario.
STATEMENT OF VALUES AND COMMITMENTS
2. The University is committed to creating and maintaining an accessible barrier-free working, teaching and learning environment as well as the principles of integration, dignity and equality of opportunity for members of the University community with disabilities.
3. The University will treat members of its community with disabilities in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. The University will also take the necessary steps to meet the needs of persons with disabilities as required under accessibility legislation in Ontario.
4. This policy applies to the following designated persons:
- a) University of Ottawa unionized and non-unionized support, administrative and academic staff members and employees paid from a source other than the University’s operating fund, including external contracts, scholarships and research grants or awards;
- b) Clinicians and physicians with an academic appointment; adjunct, visiting and emeritus professors; postdoctoral or clinical fellows; research trainees; and medical residents;
- c) Contractors, consultants, suppliers and other entities that provide goods or services to the University or who are instructed by the University to act on its behalf;
- d) Volunteers.
5. Designated persons are responsible for applying and enforcing this policy and the accessibility standards established under Ontario legislation according to their respective roles and authority.
6. This policy does not replace or change the University’s obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or limit the University’s obligations to employees with disabilities under any collective agreements. In the event of conflicting requirements between two legal obligations related to accessibility, the obligation providing the greatest level of accessibility prevails.
7. This Policy must be read and interpreted within the context of the requirements of Ontario’s accessibility legislation, as mentioned in section 1 of this Policy.
8. The following definitions apply in this policy:
Communication supports: Aids that facilitate effective communication and can include, but are not limited to, captioning, alternative and augmentative communication supports, plain language and sign language.
Service animals: An animal used by a person with a disability and that is easily identifiable as a service animal the person uses for reasons relating to a disability by, for example, a coat or harness, or an animal the person requires for reasons relating to a disability as documented by a member of an accepted regulated healthcare profession.
Accessible format: Alternate media that can be used by persons with disabilities and can include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio, electronic formats and braille.
- a. 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 service animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device ;
- b. A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability ;
- c. A learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language ;
- d. A mental disorder ;
- e. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
Support person: Any person who accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods, services or facilities.
Educational services: Services whose scope includes the mastery of knowledge, academic standards, evaluation and accreditation.
Human Rights Office
9. The Human Rights Office, in cooperation with faculties and services, is responsible for implementing, updating and publishing in an accessible format the University policies, processes and procedures that govern how the University of Ottawa is to provide goods and services to persons with disabilities and how it is achieving or will achieve accessibility in the five legislated areas—customer service, information and communication, employment, transportation and design of public spaces—through meeting its requirements under accessibility legislation in Ontario.
10. At least every five years and in cooperation with faculties and services, including but not limited to those identified in this Policy, and in consultation with persons with disabilities, the Human Rights Office will review, update, implement and post online the multi-year accessibility plan in the form and manner required under accessibility legislation in Ontario.
11. Each year, the Human Rights Office will prepare and post online a progress report on the measures taken to implement the accessibility strategy outlined in its multi-year accessibility plan established under accessibility legislation in Ontario.
12. The University, through the Procurement department, will incorporate accessibility design, criteria and features when purchasing or otherwise acquiring goods, services or facilities. If it is not possible to incorporate accessibility design, criteria or features, the University will, upon request, provide an explanation why it is not possible.
13. The University, through the Human Resources department, will provide training on the accessibility standards contained in the Ontario legislation as soon as circumstances permit and on an ongoing basis to all designated persons supplying or providing services on behalf of the University and to all individuals involved in developing University policies, regulations, processes and procedures for the provision of goods or services to members of the public.
RESPONSIBILITIES RELATED TO SERVICES PROVIDED TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY
14. The University, through designated persons who provide services to members of the University community, will make reasonable efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from the University’s goods, services (including Educational services) and facilities in a manner that allows them to maintain their dignity.
15. The University permits service animals on its premises subject to any exceptions prescribed by law.
16. If a service animal is prohibited by law or for any reason related to the health and safety of persons on the premises in question, the University can prohibit or limit the presence of service animals on its premises, in which case it will inform the person with a disability of the reasons and any alternatives.
17. If a person with a disability is accompanied by a support person, the University will ensure that both persons are permitted to enter the premises together and remain together while on the premises, without any additional cost for the support person. If, however, there is a restriction that would prohibit a support person from accompanying a person with a disability, the University will inform the person with a disability of the reasons and any alternatives.
Mobility aids and mobility assistive devices
18. Persons with disabilities are welcome to use mobility aids and mobility assistive devices in order to obtain, use or benefit from the University’s goods, services or facilities. If, however, there is a restriction that would prohibit a person with a disability from using a mobility aid or mobility assistive device, the University will inform the person with a disability of the reasons and any alternatives.
RESPONSIBILITIES RELATED TO INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
19. Accessibility standards in relation to information and communication do not apply to products or product labels, unconvertible information or communications and information that the University does not control directly or indirectly through a contractual relationship.
Accessible formats and communication supports
20. Upon request by a person with a disability, the University will provide, in a timely manner, documents or information in an accessible format or in a way that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs due to a disability and at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
Accessible internet websites and web content
21. The University, through the Communications Directorate, will ensure its internet websites and web content conform with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (initially at level A and increasing to level AA) in accordance with the schedule set out in accessibility legislation in Ontario.
Notice of temporary service disruptions
22. The University of Ottawa, through Facilities, will provide members of the public with a notice in an accessible format of any temporary disruptions at its facilities or with specific services that persons with disabilities typically make use of to obtain, use or benefit from the University’s goods, services or facilities. The notice will include the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration and a description on any alternate facilities or services available.
Information on emergency procedures, emergency plans and public safety
23. If the University, through Protection Services, prepares emergency procedures, emergency plans or public safety information, the University will make the information available to the public and provide the information in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports as soon as circumstances permit.
Educational and training resources and materials
24. If the University is notified of a need for educational or training resources or materials for a person with a disability, it will provide the resources or materials in an accessible format that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs due to a disability. If the resources or materials cannot be provided or converted into the necessary accessible format, the University will arrange for the provision of a comparable resource in an accessible or conversion-ready electronic format.
25. The University of Ottawa’s library network will provide, procure or acquire, upon request, an accessible or conversion-ready format of any print, digital or multimedia resource or material for a person with a disability. Special collections, archival materials and rare or donated books are exempt from this requirement.
RESPONSABILITIES RELATED TO EMPLOYMENT
26. Any designated person acting in the capacity of employer on the University’s behalf will inform employees and the public about the availability of accommodations for applicants with disabilities during the recruitment, assessment and selection processes.
27. The University will inform its employees of its policies related to supports for employees with disabilities and, in particular, those related to emergency procedures and job accommodations that take into account an employee’s accessibility needs due to a disability.
Human resource management
28. During performance management activities, when providing professional development activities or advancement opportunities and when employees are on temporary or interim assignments or re-assigned to other departments or jobs, the University, through the Human Resources department, will take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities as well as any individual accommodation plans.
RESPONSIBILITIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
29. The University will provide information on the accessibility equipment and features of vehicles it makes available for use by the public and will, upon request, make accessible vehicles or equivalent transportation services available during activities for which the University organizes and provides transportation services.
RESPONSIBILITIES RELATED TO DESIGN OF PUBLIC SPACES
Facilities and service areas for public use
30. The University will, through Facilities, ensure that the following areas designed for public use that it builds or renovates and that the University intends to maintain meet the requirements of accessibility legislation in Ontario: outdoor public eating areas; exterior sidewalks or walkways constructed for functional, non-recreational pedestrian travel; off-street parking built by the University; service counters; fixed queuing guides; and waiting areas with seating fixed to the floor.
31. The various services and faculties to which this Policy applies must submit annual accessibility compliance reports and accessibility plans to the Human Rights Office, in accordance with the format and schedule established by the Human Rights Office according the requirements of accessibility legislation in Ontario.
32. The Human Rights Office is responsible for compiling and evaluating the reports and accessibility plans submitted by the various sectors under section 31 of this Policy.
33. The Human Rights Office is responsible for preparing, writing and publishing any University-wide reports and plans required under accessibility legislation in Ontario in keeping with established processes and procedures in place at the University.
Sanctions and disciplinary measures
34. Any individual who does not comply with the requirements of this Policy will be subject to appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures in keeping with the provisions of applicable collective agreements or policies.
35. The University of Ottawa, through the Human Rights Office, will establish and make available an accessible process for providing feedback about the manner in which the University provides goods, services and access to its facilities to persons with disabilities. The process will also specify the actions the University will take if a complaint is received under this Policy.
36. This Policy may be updated periodically to make improvements or to bring it in line with current accessibility legislation in Ontario.
37. The Human Rights Office is responsible for interpreting and updating this Policy.
38. Any exceptions or amendments to this Policy must be approved by the Administration Committee and must be in keeping with the requirements of accessibility legislation in Ontario.