Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Seeking Input on Postsecondary Accessibility Standards under AODA
Date: July 7, 2021
In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), new accessibility standards are developed through Standards Development Committees. The initial recommendations of the Postsecondary Education Standards Development Committee for the development of postsecondary accessibility standards under the AODA were published on June 25, 2021.
The Committee is seeking input from the public on these recommendations by September 29, 2021. The initial recommendations report contains 179 recommendations across nine broad themes. These themes are highlighted in more detail below:
- General overarching barriers. Recommendations which are intended to ensure the success and a collaborative approach of the Postsecondary Education Accessibility Standards.
- Attitudes, behaviours, perceptions and assumptions. Recommendations which deal with the following five areas: transformational leadership, accountability, metrics and performance measures, research and scholarship, awareness, and language.
- Awareness and training. Recommendations which focus on the requirements of the information and communication standards.
- Assessment, curriculum and instruction. Recommendations which deal with the following six areas: pedagogy/andragogy, accessible format educational materials, institutional responsibility, quality assurance, diversity of learning environments, and proposals.
- Digital learning and technology. Recommendations which deal with the following six areas: accessible technology, accessibility plans, accessible procurement support, accessibility training/practice, accessible and inclusive pedagogy/andragogy, and accessible content.
- Organizational barriers. Recommendations which deal with the following six areas: admission and accommodation process, accessibility lens in institutional policies, handling of accommodation requests, inclusive teaching and learning environments, service animals, and business continuity plans.
- Social realms. Recommendations which deal with the following three areas: accessibility supports, leadership, and social belonging.
- Physical and architectural barriers. Recommendations which deal with the following five areas: technical requirements, scope, maintenance and upkeep, planning, operations, decision-making and oversight, and awareness, user experience and transparency.
- Financial barriers. Recommendations which deal with the following four areas: cost differentials, transparency, graduate student funding, and intersectionality.
An Education Technical Sub-Committee, comprised of members of Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) and postsecondary committees, was also formed with a focus on transition planning. This sub-committee developed a report, which provided 75 recommendations in the following areas:
- transitions to and within K-12 education
- transitions from K-12 to postsecondary education
- transitions for Indigenous students with disabilities
- transitions from secondary school to the workplace and community
- alternative transition programs/pathways.
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