Accessibility Icons in order from left to right: Auditory, Physical, Visual, Invisible
At Renison University College, we are eager to provide an environment that is safe and accessible to everyone who lives, works, studies, or visits here. As the name of our working group - Accessibility Matters at Renison - implies, we seek to identify real and potential barriers to accessibility and promote universal design principles across the college. We welcome your suggestions and your participation in this important endeavour.
Judi Jewinski, Administrative Dean, Renison University College
United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 3, 2016, marks the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To honour the occasion, we helped sponsor a special lunch at the Tannery, hosted by the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region. Catered by Bingeman’s , the event featured a presentation by Dr. Jay Dolmage, a passionate speaker and campus champion of accessibility and universal design. It was an inspiring talk—and the audience was captivated by Jay`s stories, especially the reference to Greek mythology!
To recognize the International Day of Persona with Disabilities on campus, the Daily Bulletin released the last of the five videos produced by the Imprint to raise awareness of invisible disabilities. We are pleased to feature all five of these short vignettes here:
(October 16, 2016) Invisible Disabilities Week - October 16-22
Hand in hand with AccessAbility Services on campus, our Accessibility Matters at Renison Working Group is getting ready to observe Invisible Disabilities Week from October 16 to October 22.
The goal is to raise awareness across campus of the incredible number of conditions, ailments, and injuries that are not physically obvious—the Invisible Disabilities Association tells us that symptoms include “debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, learning differences and mental disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.”
Our message is that there is support on campus for anyone living with a disability, visible or invisible. IDW offers us the opportunity to raise awareness and promote understanding.
With the expert skills of staff from Imprint, we have created five short video clips to dispel some of the myths surrounding invisible disabilities. We’ll be launching one of these each day from Oct. 17 to 21. Plan to watch each one! Then share the link with your colleagues, your family, and your friends.
Some disabilities may be invisible, but they are very real and very common. Monday’s clip looks at the myths, realities, challenges, and experiences of living with an invisible disability.
Students with invisible disabilities may qualify for academic accommodations. Tuesday’s clip describes the help and support that students can receive when registered with AccessAbility Services.
Your medical information is private and should be protected. Wednesday’s clip explains your rights and responsibilities as they relate to medical documentation pertaining to an invisible disability.
When unexpected challenges arise, there is always hope and help. Thursday’s clip explores the options available to students when life does not go according to plan.
The University of Waterloo is a community packed with resources and support. Friday’s clip discusses how the University gives students more than an education. It is a community rich with on-campus support services that are eager to help students not only get by, but thrive.
The more people who get the message about invisible disabilities, the better!
(June 23, 2016) Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Canadians who are visually impaired or print disabled will have better access to books and other copyrighted materials. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced that the Act to Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) has received royal assent.
The amendments to the Copyright Act enable Canada to be among the first countries in the world to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.
By bringing the country's copyright law in line with the Treaty, Canada has shown leadership in ensuring a wider availability of books and other materials for Canadians with visual impairments and print disabilities. Legislation will improve access to copyrighted materials for visually impaired and print-disabled Canadians
(June 16, 2016) Two visible projects will start tomorrow which are expected to take two weeks to complete; they are: reworking the entrances to the men’s and women’s washrooms on either side of the Great Hall and reconfiguring the entrances to the washrooms on the first and second floor of the Academic Centre. The purpose of these projects is to enhance barrier free access. Accessibility projects underway
(May 19, 2016) Thanks to Waterloo`s Federation of Students Student Life Endowment Fund, Renison will soon feature two new accessible water fountains with bottle filling stations! Renison Academic Student Council (RASC) president Kayla Wright applied for the funds last winter to replace the outdated fountain next to Renison`s Welcome Centre and supply one to Renison`s newest academic building. The cost of installation will be covered by RASC and the Renisix Residence Council.
The mandate of the Feds` Student Life Endowment Fund is to help students who want to improve lounges, student space, and accessibility on campus. RASC secures funding from FEDS to install two accessible water fountains
Accomplishments - 2015-2016
Conducted thorough Accessibility Audit in spring 2016 – identified issues, as well as immediate vs. long-term solutions
- Implemented accessibility changes to our facility that could be made right away
- Launched Accessibility Matters website
- Sought Accessibility Champions within the Renison community – faculty and staff who are implementing accessible solutions and universal design practices in their classes, work and life at Renison
- Hosted Low Vision Clinic on Friday April 1st, for Renison faculty, staff and community
- Accessible water stations installed summer 2016
- Hosted a Global Accessibility Awareness Day event on May 19th
Goals - 2016-2017
- Continue to carry out accessibility updates to our facility following the Accessibility Audit in spring 2016
- Promote Invisible Disabilities Week (October 16-22) through various channels across campus to raise awareness about invisible disabilities and services available
- Promote Mental Health Awareness Day (October 26) at Renison through our classes, in our residence, academic departments, and social media
- Post news pieces featuring each of our Accessibility Champions
- Promote International Day for People with Disabilities (December 3) within the Renison community
- Continue to build the Accessibility Matters website, adding useful features, links, and updates
- Host the second Global Accessibility Awareness Day event in May 2017
Terms of Reference
Reporting to Renison University College’s Executive Council, Accessibility Matters at Renison is an advisory body established to promote accessibility on the Renison campus. Its responsibilities include:
- Serving as a resource to the university college community on issues related to accessibility
- Educating the Renison community on real and potential barriers to accessibility including sharing best practices for addressing issues and eliminating barriers
- Serving as the Renison campus contact point for all accessibility concerns
- Providing, when needed, liaison with services on campus at the University of Waterloo to ensure that everyone’s needs are met
This Terms of Reference applies definitions from the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA):
“barrier” means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice; (“obstacle”)
(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 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, or
(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; (“handicap”)
Members - Accessibility Matters Working Group
- Jason Angel, graduate student
- Justin Doyle, undergraduate student
- Sarah Ireland, undergraduate student
- Sandy Jardine, School of Social Work
- Judi Jewinski, Administrative Dean
- Jeff Newell, Director of Student Engagement and Housing
- Jim Robson, Manager of Plant Operations and Facility
- Nathan Tasker, undergraduate student
- Tanya Young, Student Services Social Worker