Philosophy and Policy Definition


For the purposes of this section and the operations of Disability Services Offices within the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, "Disability Services" refers to those disabilities as defined within the Human Rights Code, (Revised Statutes of Ontario; 1990, Chapter H.19; April, 1990), as they apply to the college environment. Further, the disabilities require accommodations as the means of compensation and such accommodations are the way the effects of the disability are minimized (CCSN provincial Meeting November 24, 1994).

Note: The specific wording of the following is taken directly from the CCSN Philosophy and Policies document, 1993).

Philosophy Preamble

Since the establishment of the Committee of Presidents Task Force to investigate college services to students with disabilities and the subsequent report, all colleges are responsible for effectively providing services to qualified students. Although the design and delivery of such college services vary from college to college, the existence of a common mission is evident. Disability Services Offices ensure the provision of services for students with disabilities and fulfill the obligations as described in the legislative initiatives to provide "fair and equal access''. The purposes of the services are two-fold:
· To provide supports that improve the educational development of students with disabilities.
· To improve the awareness and support of the college community.

Philosophy Statement

Ontario's College's of Applied Arts and Technology equalize access and opportunities that shape the educational experiences of students with disabilities to learn and demonstrate their competence.

This philosophy and mission must be accomplished through direct assistance to students, encouragement of independence, maintenance of an accessible physical environment and the assurance of a supportive psychological environment so that students may achieve their educational objectives.

Policies Preamble

Legislation clearly indicates the obligations of colleges to ensure the access to programs and services regardless of the nature, degree, or duration of handicap. The Canadian Charger of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code protect citizens from discrimination because of handicap. Consequently, colleges must responsibly advocate the needs of students with disabilities within the college environment.

Organization & Administration:
1. Acceptance of the Philosophy and Policies will be acknowledged by Colleges' Senior Management Groups.

The organization and scope of services for students with disabilities should be determined by the size, nature and values of each institution. Services should be strategically placed within the organization's structure such that opportunities to develop and direct activities are effectively maximized.

Human Resources:

2. Colleges will employ appropriately skilled and knowledgeable professionals who will provide services to students and staff, maintaining objectivity and ethical practices among relationships.

Qualified professional staff are essential to the delivery that address the unique needs of students with disabilities. To be qualified, professional staff should possess a graduate degree in a relevant field of study or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Support staff such as interpreters, readers, aids, scribes, etc. should possess the academic preparation, experience, abilities, professional interest and competencies essential for the efficient operation of services. Adequate training and supervision are essential.

Clerical and support staff should possess special knowledge and training in the use of equipment unique to disabled students and personal traits consistent with the provision of specialized personal services.

Access & Services:

3. Assurance that students with disabilities have equal access to all institutional programs and services.

Persons with disabilities have the right of equality of opportunity to participate in college programs and services to the extent of their individual abilities. Equal treatment means meeting the differentiated needs of persons with handicaps so that they have the same opportunity to achieve results as everyone else. Such treatment takes on various forms and differs from the treatments of non-handicapped persons.

4. Coordinate the actions, policies and procedures by individuals, groups and areas, which affect students with disabilities.

Directed assistance and actions through Disability Services Offices serve to focus activities related to students with disabilities. The services and supports are designed, organized, co-ordinated and implemented from this location. This is a service that differs from all other services and activities offered by other college agents.

The services and consultations work toward a social and psychological environment that encourages rather than discourages the progress of students with disabilities and their interaction with the college community.

Offices should play a major role in seeing that the institution as a whole, is knowledgeable about and in compliance with legal requirements for access under Section 15 of the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms and Section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Formal and informal assessments of the academic, social, physical and psychological components are required accompanied by systematic reviews and appropriate adjustments of accommodations.

5. Provision of direct assistance and adaptations to individuals with disabilities.

A primary activity of the Disability Services Office is the provision of direct support services to individual students with disabilities. These vary based on the individual and on the services available elsewhere within the college and/or in the community.

Accommodations are the adjustments, adaptations, assistive devices and/or technical aids required by a student with disabilities for the entrance and/or the completion of a course or program offered by the college. They extend distinctly beyond a standard level of service or assistance provided for the non-handicapped population; and concurrently, they are those which relate directly to the specific disability to be ameliorated. Further, they are distinct from the rights and obligations of the college's criteria for admission and are distinct from academic support models designed for all students.

Some examples of accommodations available are; note-takers, interpreters, educational attendants, testing aids, adapted schedules, diagnostic assessments and FM systems.


6. Students with disabilities should be responsible for identifying their own needs through a means defined and communicated by the college.

Each student requesting service should have the opportunity of an intake interview that determines the handicap and its effect on academic performance and participation in college life. Appropriate adaptations can then be identified and subsequent planning for provisions can be completed.

Verification of need may be requested only when it is not apparent or if abuse is a problem.

Self-identification is confidential and the release of personal information is subject to Section 39
(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Conditions & Requirements:

7. Where a condition or requirement is imposed in relation to a college program or service, evidence must be provided that the condition or requirement is essential to that program or service.

8. Where a person is unable to meet with conditions or requirements because of handicap, the college must provide reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodations can be made by adapting the conditions or providing alternative ways for individuals to meet the conditions or requirements. Accommodations are reasonable, individual and do not impose undue hardship.
Undue hardship must be demonstrated objectively as outlined in the Guidelines for Assessing Accommodation Requirements for Persons with Disabilities (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 1989). Evidence of financial costs or health and safety risk must be demonstrated objectively.


9. a) Persons with handicaps must meet program eligibility criteria and applicant selection criteria, as they are relevant to the program, provided that reasonable accommodations have been made.

b) No greater onus of proof with respect to capacity or ability should be required from a person with disabilities than is ordinarily required from others.

c) Assessment of an individual must be based on the present functional ability and cannot be influenced by expected deterioration.

Adaptation(s) may be necessary in determining eligibility and may include alternative testing methods and formats.

An applicant is entitled to individualized assessment by the college, with the intent of providing a fair and accurate evaluation of abilities. The college will identify the assessment required for the provision of appropriate accommodations.

10. Probability of success in the occupation cannot be used in determining admission to a program.

Career and program demands analyses aid an individual in selecting a given occupation, however, these tools are not screening devices.

11. There must not be a limit placed on the proportion or number of persons with handicaps admitted to colleges, programs and/or courses, unless undue hardship can be demonstrated as required by the Ontario Human Rights Commission Guidelines for Assessing Accommodation Requirements for Persons with Disabilities (1989).

12. Once admission occurs, students with disabilities are presumed to be capable of fulfilling the essential requirements of the program, with the provision of reasonable accommodation.

13. Targeted programs that are regular programs either targeted specifically to persons with handicaps, or are delivered separately, may be established only if accommodation in regular programs would create undue hardship.

Targeted programs are appropriate when they are established to be the least restrictive for the student, when the results will be equally as effective as or more effective than the regular program, the necessity and effectiveness can be demonstrated and are based on individual assessments. Funding for targeted programs is derived from sources other than those of the Special Needs Allocation,.

14. Special programs that are targeted exclusively to persons with handicaps may be implemented provided they meet "special program" as defined in Section 13 (1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Special programs are a mechanism to offset disadvantages experienced by students with handicaps. They are designed to relieve hardship and to assist in the achievement of equal opportunity. Funding for special programs is derived from sources other than those of the Special Needs Allocation.

Other Supports:

15. Provision of quality individual and group counselling and advising to students with disabilities.

Counselling services should address the unique needs of students with disabilities and particularly focus on the strategies needed to cope with and succeed in the college community.

16. Registered students may be referred to professionals outside of the institution by the Disability Services Office.

Any student being referred outside of the college will be a registered student and will not have access to the same opportunity through another sponsored source.

Diagnostic assessments that are requested through the Disability Services Office, shall be funded through the Special Needs Allocation, Ministry of Education and Training.

17. Statistical reports will be derived from the self-identification process and data collection will be reported for the purposes of information and planning.

18. Dissemination of information to the college community regarding student needs and legal rights of students with disabilities.

Information regarding the availability of services for students with disabilities should be included in all major publications such as calendars, student handbooks, recruitment materials, newsletters and course outlines. All publications should identify a contact point where students with disabilities can obtain accessibility information.

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