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Accessibility Policies 

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Commitments and accessibility standards

U of T is committed to the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As such, we strive to make our processes as accessible as possible and provide accommodations as required for all students, faculty, and staff with disabilities.

Employment Accommodations

The office of Health & Wellbeing Programs and Services assists with providing accommodation to persons with disabilities in the workplace. They provide support to employees on sick leave, long term disability or Workplace Safety & Insurance Board claim and returning to work after illness or injury (for both the employee and his or her department); information on workplace injury, long term disability, workplace accommodation and related issues, and; information about healthy workplaces, individual health strategies, educational opportunities and health-related resources and services both on and off campus.

Accommodation Guidelines for Employees with Disabilities

Emergency Procedures

The University of Toronto is committed to providing the safest possible environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

When a fire alarm sounds, it is mandatory that all University buildings be evacuated. Please refer to the Fire Emergency Procedures for Mobility-Impaired Persons.

University of Toronto Service Animals Guideline

The University has developed new guidelines on the welcoming of service animals on our campuses in order to reflect and clarify the law. They provide University-context specific guidance on how all members of the University community can welcome service animals. It also clarifies how community members wishing to be accompanied by service animals can do so.

Access the Service Animals Guideline to learn more.

Support Persons

A support person accompanies a person with a disability in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs.

Support persons are welcomed at the University to accompany persons with disabilities in order for them to access the University services. Communication and service should be focused on the individual as opposed to the support person.

If you are holding an event where an admission fee is being charged indicate on the event promotional material or at the ticket desk if support persons will be charged admission. This allows for the support person and the person with a disability to be prepared.

Governing Council

Ontario Human Rights Code

The primacy of the Code is enshrined within the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The requirements set out in the standards are not a replacement or substitution for the requirements established under the Code.

For further information and training, we recommend visiting the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights 101 online module and Disability and Human Rights resource.

Standards

Our commitment to providing all students, faculty, and staff with access to our programs and services

Barrier-Free Design Standards

In all new construction, the University’s Barrier Free Design Standards will be implemented. While this is also the University’s intention for renovations to existing buildings, given the constraints of the existing structural conditions, especially within heritage buildings, comparable alternative arrangements are identified in order to assist in accommodation.

Built Environment Standards

The Built Environment aspect of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be achieved through two mechanisms: the Design of Public Spaces Standard (within the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations) and through amending the Ontario Building Code. The Design of Public Spaces Standard applies to public spaces, like outdoor eating areas and accessible parking, whereas the amendments to the Building Code cover the elements of buildings. In both cases, the changes apply only to new or extensively renovated buildings, with some exceptions. The Design of Public Spaces Standard came into effect for universities and other designated public sector organizations 1 January 2016, whilst the building code amendments came into effect 1 January 2015.

Information & Communications Standard

This area of the AODA focuses on how information is communicated and accessed. It seeks to ensure that the information we provide and the ways in which we communicate that information are as accessible as possible to persons with disabilities. The University is expected to now comply with all sections of this standard covering feedback, accessible formats and communication supports, accessible websites and our libraries.

Accessible formats and communication supports

Upon request, accessible formats and communication supports shall be provided in a timely manner that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs, at a cost no more than what is regular, and in consultation with the person making the request to determine the suitability of what is provided. This extends to emergency procedures, educational and training resources, and libraries of educational and training institutions, as well as the opportunity for an individual to provide feedback.

Website Accessibility

As of 1 January 2014, under the AODA, public sector organizations shall make new internet websites and web content on them conform with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to Level A. This requirement will extend to Level AA on all websites by 1 January 2021.

Web accessibility requirements refer to the navigation, design, and coding considerations that help visitors using different types of web-enabled devices and visitors with disabilities use the website. The requirements of WCAG 2.0 provide criteria to assist in making websites perceivable, operable, understandable and robust for persons with various types of disabilities. These four principles are described in more detail below:

  1. Perceivable: web-based content and interface components must be presented in ways that all users can perceive. This takes into consideration the effect of colour, size, typeface and sound.
  2. Operable: all users must be able to simply and accurately manipulate all interface and navigation components, taking in account how they operate their computers.
  3. Understandable: content and interfaces must be clear so that all people can understand a website. Consistency of interface elements, intuition in appearance and operation, and plain language are part of this principle.
  4. Robust: robust websites can be reliably interpreted by a wide variety of browers, devices and assistive technologies.

Customer Service Standard

The Customer Service Standard is simply the beginning of conversations regarding accessibility on our campuses. Our aim is to ensure that all members of our community are treated with respect and dignity. As a member of the University community your interactions with others make an impact. We are working to make our campuses more accessible to persons with disabilities. Staff and faculty have received awareness training under the Customer Service Standard, divisional liaison officers have worked with the AODA Office to create accessible service across the University. The University of Toronto has submitted the AODA Report to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. If you would like a copy of the report please contact the AODA Office.