Established 21 December 2017
Revised: N/A
Mandatory Review Date: December 2020
Class G
Responsible/Originating Department: Human Resources
Executive Contact: Marilyn Thompson, Associate Provost, Human Resources
 

Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures:

Policy 11 – University Risk Management
Policy 17 – Quotations and Tenders
Policy 18 – Staff Employment
Policy 22 – Regulations Governing the Installation of Equipment in University Buildings
Policy 32 – Animals on University Property
Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour
Policy 34 – Health, Safety, and Environment
Policy 46 – Information Management
Policy 60 – University of Waterloo Emergency Response
Policy 65 – Equality in Employment

1. Statement of Commitment

The University of Waterloo is committed to achieving accessibility and its requirements established under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The University is committed to fostering an accessible campus environment for persons with disabilities.

2. Scope

The provisions of this policy apply to all University employees, students, visitors, volunteers, applicants, and clients. It also applies to any other party that provides goods, services, and/or facilities on behalf of the University.

Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted in any way as limiting the rights and privileges conferred under the Memorandum of Agreement between the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo, the University of Waterloo Staff Association and University of Waterloo Memorandum of Agreement, and the Collective Agreement between the University of Waterloo and CUPE Local 793 (collectively the “Agreements”). In case of a conflict, precedence shall be given first to those Agreements, then to University policies, procedures and guidelines.

[See Appendix B.]

3. Legal Framework

The policy will be construed in accordance with applicable law, in particular, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11 (AODA) and its regulations. Other applicable law includes:

  • Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O 1990, c. H.19
  • Building Code Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 23
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c.16
  • Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 4;1
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1.
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31

If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the policy will be interpreted in accordance with the new legal framework.

[See Appendix A.]

4. Purpose

This policy is intended to be read in conjunction with, and support the development of policies, practices and procedures that contribute to accessibility to, and Equal Opportunity for, use of goods, services and facilities within the University community. This policy will function as the principle policy for the requirements under the AODA.

5. Principles

The University demonstrates the concept of accessibility by fostering an environment that treats persons with Disabilities with respect, guided by the following principles:

  • Dignity: providing service in a way that ensures self-respect and the respect of others by maintaining the Independence and free participation of persons with disabilities.
  • Independence: ability to engage with the environment on their own, without unnecessary help or interference from others
  • Integration: providing service or goods in a way that allows the person to fully benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar ways as other persons
  • Equal Opportunity: having the same chances, options, and benefits to achieve the same results as others. In the case of services, it means that the individual has the same opportunity as others to benefit from the services provided, without needing significantly more effort to access or obtain services, nor accept lesser quality.

The University is committed to treating people with Disabilities in a way that allows them to maintain their Dignity, and Independence. The University believes in Integration and is committed to meeting the needs of people with Disabilities in a timely manner, by taking steps to identify, eliminate, minimize or prevent Barriers to accessibility. The University recognizes that Barriers include physical, environmental, attitudinal, communication and technological components that may prevent the full participation of and Equal Opportunity for persons with Disabilities in the University community.

6. Confidentiality and Privacy

The University recognizes that the privacy of the individuals contemplated under the scope in this policy is of the utmost importance. Confidentiality is to be ensured and information is to be managed as prescribed under legislation (see FIPPA and Policy 46).

7. Information and Communication

The University will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their Disability. When asked, information about the University and its services, including public safety information, will be provided in accessible formats or with communication supports.

The University will meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA for all Public Websites, in accordance with AODA. The University recognizes that certain public web content are considered special collections archival materials, and/or educational material that may be exempt from meeting WCAG 2.0 guidelines. In such instances, the University will provide the information in an accessible or Conversion Ready format, upon request.

8. Temporary Service Disruption

The University will disseminate information regarding a temporary disruption in services including building entrances, elevators, washroom facilities, and access to technology. The University will post notices of estimated timelines, reasons for disruption, alternate access, and will make every effort to ensure the University Community and the public is notified in advance if and when feasible.

9. Assistive Devices

The University makes every effort to ensure that persons with disabilities can use their own personal assistive devices to access goods and use services. If the University is unable to accommodate the use of personal assistive devices, the University will work with the person to provide a reasonable solution.

10. Support Persons and Service Animals

The University permits persons with Disabilities to bring a Support Person while accessing goods or services. Individuals who require the presence of a Support Person are asked to identify their need in advance so that notice can be provided ahead of time on what admission, if any, is charged for a Support Person. Where admission fees are charged, the University shall waive all fees for a Support Person of a person with Disabilities.

The University allows persons with Disabilities to be accompanied by their Service Animal in areas that are open to the public, unless the animal is excluded by law. For certain areas in which a Service Animal may be excluded by law, such as food service preparation areas, the University will provide alternate measures that promote access to services by the person with a Disability.  The Service Animal must be with their owner and under full control at all times.  If the Service Animal is not with their owner, the animal ceases to provide “service”, and will be treated as an Animal, and will be subject to the guidelines outlined in Policy 32 – Animals on University Property.

11. Employment

Employees, potential hires, and the public are notified that Accommodations can be made during the recruitment and hiring process, and throughout the full employment life cycle. The University will put in place a process to develop individual Accommodation plans for employees. Where needed, the University will also provide customized emergency information to help an employee with a Disability during an emergency. The University’s performance management, career development and redeployment processes will take into account the accessibility needs of all employees.

The University of Waterloo is committed to equitable employment and encourages applications from all qualified candidates. The University will work with its employee groups to determine the need for additional policies, standards and/or guidelines that address accessibility and accommodation within the workplace.

[See Appendix B.]

12. Education

The University is committed to meeting its requirements for accessible education. The University will create an accessible educational environment where students with disabilities can participate in a way that is appropriate.

13. Training

The University will provide accessibility training to all employees, volunteers, and any individual who provides goods, services, or facilities on behalf of the organization. The University will provide ongoing training to all employees and volunteers on any changes to this policy in a timely manner. The University will provide additional training to employees and volunteers as it relates to their specific role when required.

14. Public Spaces

The University will meet accessibility laws for any newly constructed or redeveloped Public Spaces owned by the University. The University will put procedures in place to prevent service disruptions to our accessible parts of our Public Spaces. The University will consult with the public and persons with Disabilities on matters related to said Public Spaces, and will meet the intent of the Ontario Building Code where applicable.

15. Procurement and Self-Service Kiosks

The University is committed to accessible procurement processes. The University will incorporate accessibility features/ consider accessibility for people with disabilities when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks.

16. Feedback and Complaint Process

The University will facilitate mechanisms for receiving feedback and filing complaints for accessibility related matters on University property and the University website, including use of the Accessibility Committee as a central source for receiving feedback and addressing concerns.

17. Accessibility Committee

In order to demonstrate the University’s ongoing commitment to accessibility for persons with Disabilities, the Accessibility Committee will meet regularly to provide a forum for consultation on accessibility initiatives campus-wide, and advise University leadership on opportunities for accessibility practices for persons with Disabilities. Advisory to the Associate Provost, Human Resources, this Committee's mandate includes developing and maintaining a multi-year accessibility plan and ensuring the University’s ongoing legislative compliance. The committee shall consist of representatives from each of the employee and student groups, as well as University departments identified to have influence and/or involvement with accessibility issues.

Appendix A
Definitions

In this policy, the following terms shall have the following meanings: “Accommodation”, per Ontario Human Rights Commission’s guidelines, means the individualized process whereby the organization will remove Barriers for persons with disabilities to allow for Equal Opportunity in accessing the same level of service, performance, or enjoy the same level of benefits and privileges enjoyed by others. At the University, this applies to all students, employees, and visitors.

“Barrier”, per AODA, 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, architectural, informational or communicative, attitudinal, technological, or through policy or practice. This applies to all goods, services, and facilities provided on behalf of the University that is within the University’s control.

“Conversion Ready”, as per AODA, means an electronic or digital format that facilitates conversion into an accessible format.

“Dignity”, as per Ontario Human Rights Commission’s guidelines, refers to providing service in a way that ensures self-respect and the respect of others by maintaining the Independence and free participation of persons with disabilities.

“Disability”, per OHRC, means one or more of the following:

  • any degree of physical Disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness,
  • a condition of mental impairment or a developmental Disability,
  • a learning Disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  • a mental disorder,
  • 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”)

“Equal Opportunity”, as per Ontario Human Rights Commission’s guidelines, means having the same chances, options, and benefits as others. In the case of services, it means that the individual has the same opportunity as others to benefit from the services provided, without needing significantly more effort to access or obtain services, nor accept lesser quality.

“Independence”, as per Ontario Human Rights Commission’s guidelines, means a person is able to engage with the environment on their own, without unnecessary help or interference from others

“Integration”, as per Ontario Human Rights Commission’s guidelines, means providing service or goods in a way that allows the individual to fully benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar ways as other individuals

“Public Spaces”, as per AODA, include:

  • Recreational trails/beach access routes
  • Outdoor public eating areas
  • Outdoor play spaces
  • Outdoor paths of travel
  • Accessible off-street parking
  • Accessible on-street parking
  • Service-related elements including service counters, fixed queuing lines and waiting areas

“Public Websites” means internet website, as defined by the AODA, that is “accessible to the public”. For the University, this also includes any newly developed website that is accessible to all University students, beyond the definition outlined in the AODA.

“Service Animal”, as defined by the AODA, is an animal that services a person with Disability and can be

  • readily identified as one that is being used by the person for  reasons relating to the person’s Disability, as a result of visual indicators such as the vest or harness worn bythe animal;or
  • the person provides documentation from one of the nine regulated health professionals named within the AODA, confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the Disability.

“Support Person”, per AODA, means, in relation to a person with a Disability, another person who accompanies them in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods, services or facilities.

                                         Appendix B


This policy will be complemented by a separate FS-class policy concerning accessibility for University of Waterloo faculty and staff. When that policy comes into effect, (1) it shall override portions of this policy that concern employment conditions, (2) in the case of any conflict between the new FS policy and Policy 58, the FS policy shall prevail, and (3) this appendix will be removed from Policy 58.