Quick reference for Policy A101

Accommodation of Applicants and Students With Disabilities

Fanshawe College, as a direct provider of post-secondary educational programs and services, has the legal responsibility under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to accommodate persons with disabilities.

Policy A101 was updated in 2015 to reflect guidelines on accessibility in education published by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and is based on these guiding principles:

  • The College will focus on the removal of barriers to education and services for qualified applicants and students with disabilities by designing facilities, systems, services and curricula in such a way that accessibility is enhanced and the need for individual accommodation is minimized.

    Examples include automatic door openers, the opportunity for part-time registration, clear and high-contrast signage, providing course notes online, use of plain language in department forms.
  • Individualized assessment of accommodation options will be explored with respect to any remaining disability-related needs, to the point of undue hardship.

    Staff in Accessibility Services meet with students who identify a disability and request assistance. Accommodation needs are communicated to College staff as required. Undue hardship relates to cost, availability of outside sources of funding, and health and safety requirements.
  • Accommodation will be provided in such a way that integration and full participation of persons with disabilities is encouraged.

    Students with disabilities take part in courses with classmates, acquire the same knowledge and skills, but may require individualized approaches to learn and demonstrate knowledge.
  • The needs of the applicant or student will be accommodated in a manner that respects his/her dignity.

    Students with disabilities are treated with respect, are not centred out unnecessarily or subjected to standards or expectations beyond that required of other students.
  • Willingness to explore solutions is key to treating applicants and students with respect and dignity.

    Unique solutions are best determined through a collaborative approach, with a focus on maintaining academic standards while considering flexible approaches. Students with disabilities should be expected to meet essential learning outcomes, but the methods of achieving those outcomes may vary.
  • As each person has unique needs, accommodation options are explored in an individualized manner.

    It is not helpful to apply blanket approaches to accommodation, where all students with a certain type of disability are assigned the same solution; at the same time some accommodations, such as extended time to complete evaluations, can be an appropriate strategy to meet the needs of many different students.
  • The accommodation process is a shared responsibility among the person with a disability and College staff including professors, Accessibility Services staff, and administrators.

    Policy A101 describes the responsibilities of the student or applicant, the College and the Accessibility Services personnel.
  • Once accommodation is provided, students are expected to meet the published learning outcomes and essential requirements of their academic programs.

    Having been accommodated to the point of undue hardship, it is possible that a student with a disability would not be able to meet essential requirements of a course or program because of the nature of the disability. Alternatives are then explored. Where unresolved disputes occur regarding whether a student may be accommodated, College Policy provides for a structured hearing through a Committee of Review. 

The details of Policy A101 on the Accommodation of Applicants and Students With Disabilities should be reviewed when dealing with individual cases. Through an annual Accessibility Plan, Fanshawe College makes available to the public a formal report describing how any barriers to accessible education are being identified and addressed.