Actions for 2018-2022

The Accessibility Committee has set forth a five-year plan to bring accessibility and inclusion to the forefront of Waterloo’s operations, while ensuring ongoing legal compliance with the AODA. Underpinning specific accessibility projects, the ultimate goal is to forge collaborative campus and community initiatives that will include accessibility planning within standard processes. The following initiatives have been identified to ensure ongoing compliance with accessibility legislation and will be accomplished in accordance with the spirit of Policy 58 – Accessibility.

Clipboard iconPolicy and Procedures

Waterloo recognizes the changing legislative landscape of the AODA and the anticipated federal legislation on accessibility. We will embed elements pertaining to accessibility into related policies throughout policy reviews. As outlined in Policy 58 – Accessibility, Appendix B, Waterloo is committed to the development of a specific policy concerning accessibility for Waterloo employees.

Outreach iconCustomer Service

The Customer Service Standard within the AODA is aimed at making an organization’s operations accessible to persons with disabilities. Over the next five years, Waterloo will develop a strategy for the following customer service areas: improving communications for service disruptions (such as IT, roads, elevators, etc); developing a consistent verification process for service animals; and developing a community engagement strategy that involves active and ongoing consultation with persons experiencing disabilities.

Cursor iconInformation and Communication

The Information and Communication Standard within the AODA is focused on ensuring persons with disabilities are able to access information. Waterloo will identify commonly required communication formats and develop a strategy to visibly support a culture of inclusivity and reduce the number of individual requests for accommodation. Recognizing Waterloo’s current Web Content Management System (WCMS) meets WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard, but that some websites were developed outside of the WCMS or are not fully utilizing its features, Waterloo will develop a sustainable strategy to ensure consistency across all publicly facing websites; including open and online learning platforms.

Icon of map markerDesign of Public Spaces

The Design of Public Spaces Standard within the AODA is focused on making it easier for persons with disabilities to move through and use the environment. Understanding that limitations within the Ontario Building Code (OBC) perpetuate a degree of inaccessibility within post-secondary educational institutions, Waterloo plans to develop a consistent design strategy (including self-service kiosks) to address and exceed legislative requirements, where feasible. A catalogue of existing physical space elements on Waterloo campus will be developed with accessibility considerations. Additionally, a supporting space and asset management strategy will include accessible elements within Waterloo’s standard facilities management protocol.

Briefcase iconEmployment

The purpose of the Employment Standard within the AODA is to integrate accessibility into regular workplace processes and to ensure that employers provide accessibility across all stages of the employment life cycle – including recruitment, onboarding, performance assessment, promotion, and departure. Waterloo will develop a standard process for managing accommodation requests for persons with disabilities (active or prospective employees, students, and cross-over populations). The priorities are to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of individuals in need of accommodation (to prevent real or perceived bias against an individual based on their disability); as well as to ensure that funding is provided for accommodation solutions, regardless of an individual’s faculty/department affiliation.

Book iconEducation

An Education Standard is currently under development within the AODA and Waterloo anticipates that various requirements will come into effect by 2020. In an effort to get ahead of the requirements, several initiatives to provide students with equitable access to programs and the ability to complete their degrees have been identified and will be expanded upon. One example would be the Student Academic Accommodation Procedures. From a teaching perspective, Waterloo will strive to incorporate universal design principles within teaching spaces and look for training and awareness opportunities for all faculty/instructors regarding student accommodation.

Within the experiential education space, Waterloo will ensure the agreements with placement organizations address accessibility and provide equitable opportunities for students with disabilities. Students will also have access to tools and resources that will empower them in their accessibility planning. Additionally, Waterloo plans to review the co-op interview process to ensure students with disabilities are supported to equitably compete for opportunities within their academic program and that they are evaluated fairly.

Meeting iconTraining and Tools for Employees (including instructors)

Waterloo implemented customer service training for employees to address the AODA requirement in 2005. With the finalization of Policy 58 – Accessibility, Waterloo plans to update the training for employees to cover all aspects of the policy and AODA. In addition to this, training resources will be developed for select departments. For Procurement in particular, a resource guide will support the consideration of accessibility features and design when contracting with third parties to provide goods, services, and facilities on behalf of Waterloo. Tools and resources will be developed for instructors to increase awareness of accessibility and universal design for learning principles in the classroom. Support for the creation of accessible information and educational materials (including digital accessibility within the online learning environment) will be available.