Message from Marilyn

Like 2020, 2021 was heavily defined by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly due to the emergence of multiple COVID-19 variants that affected much of the world. With remote work and learning still leading the better part of 2021, the institution kept utilizing new tools and strategies to prepare for a fall term of employees and students returning to our campuses. So too did our work on the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) throughout the year at the University. A key highlight of this year includes improved customer service communications for planned service disruptions due to a self-subscribe list that provides emailed updates on a variety of service interruption notifications, including location and service type. Additionally, in March 2021, the University successfully launched its Accessibility Advisory Panel (AAP) to represent the disability community within the institution and as a resource on issues related to accessibility. Our websites have begun their upgrades and migration to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines under the AODA to support more accessible communication. Our Visitors Centre began to provide tours with adaptive technology to provide accessible tours of the campus for prospective students and their families. We have also begun to generate a tangible design framework for the University to adopt within our physical space design projects.

2021 was another disruptive year due to the pandemic and areas of previous progress have been delayed, such as the changes to Policy 57 on Employment accommodations. Remote work and concerns over health have slowed down the consultation process. It is our hope, with the prevalence of Coronavirus vaccinations, the return of many of our students and employees for in-person experiences and returning to our offices, that we can refocus and rethink how we connect for consultations and how different parts of the Waterloo workforce and student population can participate now that that we finally see progress on these areas on the horizon.

Sincerely, Marilyn Thompson, Associate Provost, Human Resources, University of Waterloo

About this report

This summary report highlights examples of progress towards each of the seven themes that were identified in Waterloo’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) 2018-2022. The report describes relevant projects and initiatives that have occurred at Waterloo up to and including December 2021. The report also includes an assessment of the status of each objective, to give the community a snapshot of Waterloo’s progress. This is a non-exhaustive list of work that Waterloo has undertaken. Many departments and individuals have engaged in accessibility initiatives and activities to create an inclusive environment at Waterloo. Only objectives that were highlighted within the MYAP have been specifically noted and assessed using the “progress assessment” model.

Acknowledgement: The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.