Today marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an annual observance created to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
According to Statistics Canada, over 6 million (22%) of Canadians have a disability.1 As individuals can experience various forms of disabilities (physical or mental, health-related or congenital, short-term or long-term), it’s important to proactively remove barriers and provide accessible content and experiences wherever possible. As outlined in the Commitment to Accessibility Statement as well as the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan: Our Time, U of G strives to create an accessible campus and foster learning, working and living environments where all University community members experience an authentic sense of inclusion and belonging.
This year’s theme is “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with and by persons with disabilities.” It reminds us of the importance of learning from folks with lived experiences and applying an accessibility lens as we build a strong future for everyone. Join us in celebrating the contributions of persons with disabilities to our campus community, learning about the resources available to support persons with disabilities at U of G and how you can help us create an inclusive and barrier-free environment.
Disabled in the Field: Navigating Nature and Academia as a Disabled Scientist
Dec. 4, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Summerlee Science Complex Atrium
Hear from Dr. Kelsey Byers, group leader at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, as she discusses her experience as a disabled scientist as part of the College of Biological Sciences Community Seminar Series. Byers is an evolutionary chemical ecologist and a vocal advocate for inclusion of scientists with disabilities.
Learn more about Disabled in the Field.
Launch of Engendering Disability-Inclusive Development website
The Live Work Well Research Centre‘s partnership Engendering Disability-Inclusive Development– Genre, handicap et développement inclusif (EDID-GHDI) is launching its accessible, bilingual website edid-ghdi.ca on December 3 as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
This website will be an important resource for both research collaboration and knowledge mobilization, not only for the Partnership but also for others outside EDID-GHDI. Visit and explore the website to learn more about the important research being conducted on the struggles of diverse women and girls with disabilities for, and progress towards, disability-inclusive development.
Supports for students with disabilities
Student Accessibility Services
At U of G, Student Accessibility Services (SAS) in Student Wellness Services is the hub where students with disabilities can get support. Read more about how SAS is recognizing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Students can work individually with an SAS advisor to determine what academic accommodations they need to remove structural barriers.
In addition, SAS provides programs to support students, including one-on-one coaching on learning strategies and support with disability-related problem solving.
Library Accessibility Services
Students registered with SAS can access adaptive software and technology supports to help with reading, writing, note-taking and studying through Library Accessibility Services.
Experiential Learning Hub
As students with disabilities enter the workforce, they might have questions related to their disability around when to disclose their disability, what accommodations might be available, how to approach interviews, and more. The Experiential Learning Hub has resources to help students navigate the workplace, as well as one-on-one appointments with Career Advisors to discuss strategies for success.
Supports for faculty and staff with disabilities
Occupational Health and Wellness
Within Human Resources, Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW) is the main source of support for staff and faculty with disabilities. OHW supports workplace accommodations and return to work planning as well as short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) leaves.
If you need assistance during an emergency, reach out to your manager to have an individualized emergency response plan created. Be informed about how to be prepared during emergencies.
Employee and Family Assistance Plan
The Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP) is available for staff, faculty and their families when they need professional counselling support. Through EFAP, access to counselling is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week through the Homewood Behavioural Health Corporation.
Resources to improve your accessibility practices
As a faculty or staff member, you play an important role in making the U of G campus accessible. Take some time to review the resources available to help you make your work fully accessible.
Learning and Development Workshops
Learning and Development offers several workshops to help staff develop the skills and knowledge they need to ensure accessibility. Here are some upcoming sessions:
- Accessibility Our Responsibility – Accessible Web Content, Jan. 4, 2024
- Accessibility Our Responsibility – Accessible Social Media, Feb. 1, 2024
See the full Learning and Development calendar.
Accessibility (AODA) Resources: Courses and Teaching Resource
The Accessibility (AODA) Resources: Courses and Teaching Resource provides tips in line with research and best practices in accessible teaching and learning, including: developing course; writing a syllabus; accessible lectures; and student evaluation.
Accessibility for Instructors
From Accessibility Services, a series of educational accessibility videos for instructors that provide overviews of key topics, including accommodations, concussions, captioning, mental health, online quizzes, structuring courses and more.
Open Learning and Educational Support
Open Learning is a multi-faceted support department that is committed to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning on campus. Visit OpenEd for resources on Universal Instructional Design, Accessibility and Course Materials, and Universal Design – Best Practices for Online Learning.
Digital Accessibility Resource Centre (DARC)
The Digital Accessibility Resource Centre (DARC) is made up of accessibility experts who provide campus support for digital content creation. DARC provides U of G digital content creators with education, tools, training and support to ensure that their content is accessible for all. View the DARC resources for creating accessible documents, social media, multimedia, and more.
Web Accessibility Resources
The Web Accessibility Resources provides AODA, WCAG and Web Accessibility Resources and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), including guides for content editors and web developers.
The Communications – Guiding Principles and Resources provides principles and resources for ensuring that communications are accessible and welcoming.
Diversity & Human Rights
Learn more about U of G’s plan to increase accessibility through our Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and Progress Reports. The Accessible Service Provision Module and the Making Education Accessible Module provide participants with the tools and skills needed to create accessible learning and working experiences and a university community where everyone belongs.
If you have questions about accessibility, inclusion or human rights at U of G, contact us at email@example.com.