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Increasing Accessibility at Humber:
AODA Compliance Implications
October 8, 2014
Rachel Gorman, Assistant Professor
Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
York University
What is access? How will we know when we have it?
For staff?
For students?
For faculty?
For the public?
Understanding Access in a Rights Framework
Ontario Human Rights Code (1962)
Canadian Human Rights Act (1977)
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005)
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities (2006)
Human Rights Principles and the UNCRPD
Participation, Inclusion, and Accessibility
Non-discrimination and Equality
Respect for Difference
Accessibility Standards in the Context of Rights
• In the long struggle to adopt the AODA and to
develop its standards, disability rights activists and
allies have consistently raised concerns about the
need for compliance mechanisms
• However, the Act provides guidelines in the context
of international, national, and provincial rights; the
standards on their own may not be adequate to
ensuring that human rights standards are met
Small Group Discussion—UNCRPD
• With your group, discuss this narrative in relation to
the five UNCRPD principles. What are some examples
of violations of these principles?
– Dignity
– Autonomy
– Participation, Inclusion, and Accessibility
– Non-discrimination and Equality
– Respect for Difference
Small Group Discussion—OHRC
• The OHRC focuses on “effect not intent.”
• Using your experience as post-secondary
administrators and teachers, look for examples in
this narrative where institutional legal and/or policy
barriers created the effect of a violation, regardless
of intent
AODA and the Integrated Access Standards (2011)
• The AODA outlines five specific policy domains
– Customer service
– Employment
– Information & Communication
– Transportation
– Built environment
• Recall or imagine a situation in which existing
institutional and social barriers limit your ability to
create a more accessible environment
• What were the external barriers?
• What are some contradictions within institutional
compliance that limit your ability to increase
The work of access
• Inaccessibility can be mitigated or exacerbated by
other aspects of social privilege or oppression
• Ideas of what is accessible are organized through
dominant ideologies of class, gender, race, culture,
and sexual identity/orientation
• The post-secondary environment often creates
barriers that students were not aware of before
attending, and could not have anticipated
• Post-secondary environments and the “climate of
Small Group Exercise—The work of accommodation
• In your group, map out a student’s process of
seeking accommodation—what are the steps?
Estimate the number of hours it takes for a student
to complete the accommodations process. Factor in
time for other accessibility issues the student may
face, e.g. transportation, cost
• Bonus: map out an employee’s process of seeking
Small Group Discussion—The work of accommodation
• Looking at the map of the accommodations process,
indicate points which raise a flag for you regarding
one or more of the five human rights principles of
the UNCRPD, which are:
– Dignity
– Autonomy
– Participation, Inclusion, and Accessibility
– Non-discrimination and Equality
– Respect for Difference
AODA and the Integrated Access Standards (2011)
• The Integrated Access Standards include the first
four: customer service, employment, Information &
Communication and Transportation
• Section 16 outlines Training for Educators
• Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity &
Diversity has created an excellent Accessibility
Awareness Training for Educators power point tool
AODA Training for Educators
• Shifts the focus from understanding disability as an
individual issue (accommodations) to understanding
accessibility in the context of the social model of
disability (universal design).
• Brainstorm: what are some concrete examples of
universal design you have heard about or used?
Emerging Recommendations
• What are some key institutional barriers you have
identified in your group discussions?
• What are some policy recommendations you would
suggest pursuing?
• What institutional pathways are available for
developing these recommendations?

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