Skip to main content
University of Ontario Institute of Technology logo

Procedures for Academic Accommodation for Students with DIsabilities

Classification number LCG 1103.01
Parent policy Accessibility Policy
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Audit and Finance Committee
Policy owner Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Approval date March 16, 2010
Review date November 2022
Last updated September 2016; Minor Amendment, s. 7.3; November 20, 2019


Consistent with the OntarioTech’s Policy on Accessibility and its commitment to creating a campus community that is inclusive of all individuals, this document is designed to inform and guide in the provision of reasonable academic Accommodations for qualified students with disabilities in light of the essential requirements of the University’s courses and programs.


For the purposes of this Policy the following definitions apply:
“Accessible Formats” may include, but are not limited to, large print, recorded audio and electronic formats, braille and other formats usable by persons with disabilities.
“Accommodation” means an adaptation or adjustment made to enable a person with a disability to demonstrate the essential competencies of their program/profession or fulfill the essential requirements of a particular course and/or program. The requirement, qualification or factor must be reasonable and bona‐fide in the circumstances. Accommodations are specific to each individual and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Human support services such as sign language interpreters, readers, classroom assistants etc.
  • Assistance obtaining class notes
  • Books and materials in an accessible format
  • Disability related counselling and support
  • Test and exam accommodations (e.g., extra time, technology, software)
  • Access to specialized software, such as text-to-speech or speech-to-text
  • Specialized support from a Learning Strategist and/or Assistive Technologist (i.e. technical aids and assistive devices)
    • Workstation and/or office modifications
    • Job redesign
    • Flexible or alternative work schedules
    • Temporary re‐assignments
“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.
“Communication Supports” may include, but are not limited to, captioning, alternative and augmentative Communication Supports, plain language, sign language and other supports that facilitate effective communications.
“Disability” means:
  1. 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, including diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, and any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or on a wheel chair or other remedial appliance or device;
  2. A condition of mental impairment or developmental disability;
  3. A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. A mental disorder; or
  5. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
Disability should be interpreted in broad terms. It includes both present and past conditions, as well as a subjective component, namely, one based on perception of disability.
Disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.
There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, mental health disabilities and addictions, environmental sensitivities, and other conditions.
Disability is an evolving concept; a disability may be the result of combinations of impairments and environmental barriers, such as attitudinal barriers, inaccessible information, an inaccessible built environment or other barriers that affect people’s full participation in society.
“Essential Competencies” means the knowledge, skills, judgement, values, beliefs etc. that are essential to the course/program/degree/profession that a student must be able to demonstrate.
“Essential Requirements” means the knowledge and skills that must be acquired or demonstrated in order for a student to successfully meet the learning objectives of a particular course and/or program.
“Undue Hardship” as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code prescribes three considerations in assessing whether an Accommodation could cause undue hardship: Cost; Outside Sources of Funding; and Health and Safety Considerations. Additional information is available on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website (

Scope and authority

These Procedures apply to students, faculty and staff at OntarioTech who share responsibility for fostering an accessible and inclusive environment, and for identifying, preventing and removing barriers to students with disabilities enrolled in academic courses and programs. Student Accessibility Services is additionally responsible for providing support, guidance and education to ensure compliance with these procedures.

The Provost and Vice-President Academic, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of these Procedures.

The Provost and Vice-President Academic, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of these Procedures.


General Regulations

  1. Students with disabilities may request to be considered for formal academic Accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Students seeking Accommodation must make their requests through the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office in a timely manner, and provide relevant documentation to verify the effect of their Disability and to allow the University to determine appropriate Accommodations.

  2. Accommodation decisions will be made in accordance with the OHRC and associated policies as well as AODA Act. Accommodations will be consistent with and supportive of the Essential Competencies and academic integrity of courses and programs, and provided in a way that respects the dignity of students with disabilities and encourages integration and equality of opportunity. Reasonable academic Accommodation may require instructors to exercise creativity and flexibility in responding to the needs of students.

  3. Academic Accommodations may include adjustments to the way information is presented in a specific course or the manner in which student knowledge is evaluated. Academic accommodations are meant to provide an equitable academic experience for students with disabilities and enable them to have the opportunity to learn and demonstrate their knowledge.

Students requiring academic accommodation

  1. Students with disabilities who require Accommodations shall, in a timely manner in relation to their Disability needs, provide the appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation concerning the status and effect of their Disability as required by OntarioTech’s SAS Office. Documentation that is not provided in a timely fashion or in the required form may delay or prevent the implementation of an academic Accommodation for a particular course. In cases where student is in the process of obtaining appropriate documentation, SAS will consider in good faith and on a case-by-case basis whether interim Accommodation measures can be implemented temporarily. For specific information regarding the timelines and registration procedures please visit the Student Accessibility Services website at

Academic accommodation plans

  1. SAS will work in cooperation with students and their instructors to identify the Essential Competencies of the courses, and to determine reasonable and suitable Accommodation measures to allow students an equal opportunity to meet those requirements while maintaining the academic integrity of a course or program.

  2. SAS will prepare a notice of Accommodation for the student that verifies that the student is registered with SAS and is entitled to Accommodation, and outlines the proposed Accommodation plan. SAS will rely on the support of various faculty/staff members to coordinate and successfully implement the student’s plan. Possible supports that may be recommended by SAS include but are not limited to: testing Accommodations, assistance in obtaining class notes, course material in alternative formats, disability-specific academic strategies, classroom assistance and Disability advocacy support.

  3. Students should meet with their Student Accessibility Counsellor prior to the start of the term to have their notice of Accommodation sent to their instructors to ensure that they have the best possible opportunity for academic success. Counsellors, students and instructors all have an obligation to participate in a meaningful dialogue in the search for and implementation of measures that are demonstrably required to accommodate the disability-related needs of students.

Protection of privacy

  1. OntarioTech is concerned with protecting the privacy of students with disabilities. At the same time, the University needs sufficient information to reasonably evaluate and respond to a student’s request for Accommodation. For this reason, students are required to provide to Student Accessibility Services information concerning the nature of their disability-related needs.

  2. At times the Accommodation process may require that a student disclose such information to staff and faculty outside of Student Accessibility Services on the basis that they “need-to-know” this information to perform their duties under the policies and procedures at the University. All personal information disclosed to such staff or faculty will be governed by the OntarioTech guidelines on the protection of privacy.

Resolution of academic accommodation plans

  1. In cases where there is disagreement between the instructor and the student on the Accommodation plan and/or its implementation, the instructor will contact the student’s counsellor from Student Accessibility Services to explore alternative forms of academic Accommodation as appropriate to the objectives and requirements of the course. If issues remain unresolved, the issue will be escalated to the Dean of the Faculty.
  2. The Dean will consult with SAS before rendering a decision. Any decision to deny a request for Accommodation or that otherwise has a potential of creating a legal risk to the university must be referred to the Office of the University Secretary and General Counsel prior to being implemented.

Monitoring and review

These Procedures will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Provost and Vice-President Academic, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review these Procedures.

Relevant legislation

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005
Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, O. Reg. 191/11
Ontario Human Rights Commission Policy on Guidelines on accessible education (2004)
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter F.31

Related policies, procedures & documents

OntarioTech Feedback Accessibility Form
OntarioTech University Procedures for Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities
OntarioTech Accessibility Policy
Academic Regulations, Undergraduate Academic Calendar