The University of Western Ontario’s


Accessibility Plan




September 2007 to August 2008


Prepared in accordance with the Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2001







30 September 2007




Table of Contents



Introduction....................................................................................................................... 3


Objectives.......................................................................................................................... 3


Western’s Commitment to Accessibility Planning..................................................... 3


Barrier-Removal Initiatives in 2006/2007..................................................................... 4


Plan for Removal of Barriers 2007/2008…….………………………………………..9


Review and Monitoring Process................................................................................. 11


Appendices .................................................................................................................... 12

            Appendix A               Members of WODAC




The University of Western Ontario’s Annual Accessibility Plan

September 30, 2007





In December 2001, Ontario passed the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (the “Act”).  The purpose of the Act is to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities and to provide for their involvement in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to their full participation in the life of the province. To this end, the Act mandates that every university, including The University of Western Ontario (“Western”), prepare an annual accessibility plan.


Despite the passage of the Accessibilities for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the requirements under the former Act, specifically in reference to the preparation of this report, remain in force.


This is the fifth such plan to be prepared on behalf of Western.





The purpose of an accessibility plan is to document barriers to accessibility that have been removed to date and identify those barriers that will be removed in the coming year.  A plan must also identify how the barriers will be removed and present a plan for identifying and removing barriers in the future, and preventing the development of new barriers.   Plans must be made public and accessible to allow for input from the broader community.


The purpose of this plan is to update the last report, prepared in September 2006 (available at



 Western’s Commitment to Accessibility Planning


As is stated in Engaging the Future, the University’s Strategic Plan:


Diversity: as part of our commitment to excellence, we seek to recognize and remove the obstacles faced by traditionally under-represented groups in order to facilitate their access to and advancement at Western. We respect and celebrate the diversity of people who make up our community.


The University of Western Ontario has been committed to accessibility planning for some time now and has recommitted itself to such planning under the Act.  Through the formation of Western’s Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (“WODAC”), Western has committed itself to meeting its obligations under the Act, as well as to achieving the following goals:


·         The continual improvement of access to University premises, facilities and services for all persons with disabilities;

·         The participation of persons with disabilities in the development and review of its annual access plans; and

·         The provision of quality services to persons with disabilities.


Barrier-Removal Initiatives in 2006-2007


1.   Physical and Architectural Barriers


At Western, a number of departments and/or groups are committed to the removal of physical and architectural barriers: 


·         The student-funded Campus Accessibility Review and Enhancement Committee  (“CARE”) continued efforts to address barriers on campus that have been identified by students.  While the accessibility enhancements are focused on improving student experience, there is a beneficial impact for all members of the university community and for visitors to campus.  


·         The Department of Physical Plant plays a large role in addressing physical barriers identified on campus and has also displayed a strong commitment to addressing physical barriers that are brought to its attention and to maintaining accessibility-related improvements such as door openers.   In addition to addressing issues as they arise, Physical Plant continues to make available the amount of $50,000.00 per year in its budget to direct toward projects to increase accessibility on campus.  It should be noted as well that additional sums are committed by other departments on campus.  


·         All plans for new buildings and major renovations to existing buildings on campus are reviewed to ensure that barriers are addressed at the planning and design stage, and that no new barriers are created.  Accessibility standards set by the University often go beyond the standards found in the Ontario Building Code (which are acknowledged as a base only) and it is an expectation that contractors bidding on and completing work at the University will meet these higher standards. The Barrier-Free Access and Safety Committee (the “BFASC”) was established at Western in order to ensure the accessibility of new and renovated buildings. 


·         Training on the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) continues for university members.  Although the focus of the training is preventing crime on campus, participants are also trained in accessibility considerations.  When participants conduct CPTED audits of various campus buildings, they will also make accessibility recommendations, as appropriate. 


Initiatives to remove physical and architectural barriers across campus in the past year include:








2.  Information and Communications Barriers


Initiatives to remove information and communication barriers across campus in the past year include:


·         Services for Students with Disabilities coordinated convocation assistance for graduating students who have disabilities.


·         Services for Students with Disabilities facilitated the transition to university for many students by:


o        Providing a summer transition program for students with learning disabilities who were about to enter university from high school.

o        Working with many students prior to their arrival at Western in order to ensure that accommodation and other supports were in place at the beginning of the term.  This work was especially important for the students who would be living in residence.

o       Assisting Admissions at Western with their review of applications from individuals who requested special considerations because of health or disability-related issues.


·         Services for Students with Disabilities provided services for 944 students with disabilities in 2006-2007.  These services included the following:

o       The arrangement of academic accommodation;

o       The provision of alternative format text (e.g. electronic, Braille);

o       Training in the use of adaptive technology and adaptive facilities on campus in which students may work and receive assistance with trouble shooting, etc.;

o       Training in learning strategies and skills, e.g. the allocation of OSAP’s Bursary for Students with Disabilities to students who used it for a variety of items and services that were required because of a combination of their disabilities and their academic programs; and,

o       Assessment and referral services that facilitate students’ understanding of their abilities and allow them to engage in effective educational, psychological, and medical interventions.


·         Services for Students with Disabilities worked with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to host and participate in a regional meeting regarding the transition from post-secondary education to work for individuals who have disabilities.


·         A staff member from Services for Students with Disabilities gave a presentation entitled, “Teaching Diverse Learners” during the Fall Perspectives on Teaching Conference at Western.  This conference is intended for faculty and teaching assistants who wish to improve their classroom skills.


·         Western Libraries continued its attention to web accessibility as outlined in the report found at:


·         The availability of enhanced library services available for students with disabilities are now more prominently featured on Western Libraries’ website.


3.  Attitudinal Barriers


This type of barrier is the most difficult of the barriers to identify and address. Western is fortunate to have a large number of interested and concerned individuals in its community who regularly take on the task of educating others about the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in our community, both formally in the work that they do and informally. 


Some initiatives completed in the past year to move forward in addressing these barriers include:




4.      Technological Barriers


Efforts to remove technological barriers on campus are on-going.  Initiatives from the past year include:







5.       Barriers Created by Policies or Practices


With an organization the size of Western, there are a great number of policies and practices, both formal and informal, which require review.   By promoting Western’s obligations pursuant to the Act, it is anticipated that many of these will be reviewed by the appropriate departments, and barriers will be identified and brought forward, either by those departments or by individuals impacted.   Resources such as Staff Relations, Rehabilitation Services, Services for Students with Disabilities and Equity & Human Rights Services are available to receive concerns and provide advice.  These resources also continue to review policies and practices as part of their work on campus.


Some specific initiatives in the past year undertaken to address policy or practice barriers included:


·         Services for Students with Disabilities worked with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost to develop and formalize procedures by which graduate students may access funding to support additional years of study in cases in which they require the additional year(s) to complete their degrees because of their disabilities.


·         Human Resources partnered with contact groups in the community which serve persons with disabilities.  Some of the agencies that Western has connected with are Leads Employment Services Inc., ATN and Goodwill.


·         Rehabilitation Services continues to be a resource/consultant for Faculty/Staff to provide help with illness/injury.



Plan for Removal of Barriers in 2007-2008


What follows is a list of recommended actions to be undertaken in the upcoming year to identify, remove and prevent barriers at Western.


1.  Physical and Architectural Barriers









2.  Information and Communications Barriers








3.  Attitudinal Barriers


·         Continue to improve understanding and awareness of mental health and mental illness across campus, especially among managers and supervisors, through further education and training initiatives.  A pilot workshop on Mental Health Issues has been conducted for Leaders and Managers (in September 2007) and it is expected that a learning program will commence in early 2008.


·         Bring learning opportunities to campus which bring together persons with disabilities from across the Western community, their supporters and administrators to discuss accessibility issues, highlight existing barriers and brainstorm ways to remove and prevent further barriers.


·         Completion of the employment equity guide for use by those responsible for staff hiring and promotion, which would include considerations for hiring and promoting persons with disabilities.


·         Continue to develop and present various educational programs across campus (for example, a duty to accommodate workshop for staff, faculty and students). 


4.  Technological Barriers


·         Continue to respond on an as-needed basis to requests for adaptive technology to assist members of the community.


·         Continue to monitor and ensure all official Western websites are accessible according to standards approved by ITS.


·         Creation of mp3 versions of library help guides currently accessible through the library website.


5.  Barriers Created by Policies or Practices


·         Consider a review of the existing policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.


·         Consider collaboration with the City of London’s Accessibility Committee.


·         Communicate about the new Ontario legislation when it is passed and Western becomes aware of its roles and responsibilities arising under that legislation.


·         Human Resources will continue its e-recruitment and outreach efforts to recruit persons with disabilities to Western’s workforce. 




Review and Monitoring Process


WODAC continues to take an active role in identifying and addressing barriers.  This identification of short term and long term goals will be reflective of the obligations that are anticipated under the forthcoming Ontario legislation.  We look forward to the upcoming year. 



Appendix A


Members of WODAC


The following members of the University community served as members of WODAC between September 2006 and August 2007:


Functional/Administrative Group Members (one representative each):



Committee Member

Contact Information

Equity & Human Rights Services

Larissa Bartlett (Chair)

Terri Tomchick

(519) 661-2111 x83334

(519) 661-2111 x81428

Housing & Ancillary Services

Ruta Lawrence

(519) 661-2111 x85978

Human Resources

Jane O’Brien

Veronika Elsie

(519) 661-2111 x84261

(519) 661-2111 x85580

Information & Technology Services

Merran Neville

(519) 661-3976 x83976

Office of the Ombudsperson

Adrienne Clarke

(519) 661-2111 x83573

Physical Plant Department

Flemming Galberg

(519) 661-2111 x88880

Rehabilitation Services

Barbara Froats

(519) 661-2111 x81398

Services for Students with Disabilities

Deborah Stuart

(519) 661-2111 x82147

Western Libraries

Jennifer Robinson

(519) 661-2111 x82229

Western Faculty

Lisa Klinger

(519) 661-2111 x88963

King’s University College

Joan Aldis

(519) 433-3491 x4316

Brescia University College



Huron University College



(The functional/administrative group member shall represent and take the necessary action in accordance with his or her university role or position.  The functional/administrative member may be, from time to time, required to research, consult with University leadership or administration, and take immediate or intermediary action in order to respond to issues raised at the committee meetings by the stakeholder/expert group members or other Western members).


Stakeholder/Expert Group Members:



Committee Member

Contact Information

Society for Graduate Students (SOGS)

Brent Sherar


University Students’ Council

Pedro Lopes


Student Member-at-large

Lorin MacDonald (until March 2007)


Student Member-at-large

Jeff Preston


Staff/Faculty Member-at-large

Cheryl Jamieson


Staff/Faculty Member-at-large