OCUFA response to the initial recommendations for the development of proposed postsecondary accessibility standards

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Summary of recommendations OCUFA recommends that the committee:

  • Emphasize the need for adequate and stable government funding of postsecondary education as a requirement for the implementation of new accessibility standards under AODA regulations.
  • Highlight the need for smaller class sizes to facilitate meeting the accommodation needs of students.
  • Recognize that the expedited implementation timelines in the report will require adequate government funding and resources to ensure the successful rollout of the various initiatives. Without appropriate funding, this work will be downloaded, and faculty will take away from other student-centred work.
  • Require the inclusion of student and labour union representatives in the development of resources, tools, criteria and plans at the institutional and governmental levels.
  • Acknowledge the challenges facing contract faculty and academic librarians and emphasize the need for adequate public funding to address precarious academic labour on campus as a first step towards improving accessibility at Ontario’s campuses.
  • Recognize that the work of creating accessible new courses, or “retrofitting” existing courses is very time consuming if done properly. All faculty, including contract faculty and academic librarians, must be appropriately compensated for this work. Without appropriate funding for universities, this work will be downloaded onto faculty and will take away from other student-centred work.
  • Recommend the development of adequate accountability measures for evaluating an institution’s compliance with accessibility standards. Compliance must not rely on student evaluations which are informative but were never intended for the purpose of evaluating compliance with accessibility standards.
  • Recommend that the regulations provide guidelines with accountability measures, not templates, for accessible course and program design that would permit institutions to adapt them to their unique course needs.
  • Recommend that the training modules be regularly updated to reflect best practices and provide compensation for the trainings particularly for groups such as contract faculty and academic librarians who do not get paid for their service or required training.
  • Recognize and account for additional supports for faculty and staff at postsecondary institutions who face accessibility challenges themselves.
  • Emphasize mental health disabilities and accommodations in the report and recommendations.
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