Accessibility at Laurier
As a provider of higher education, Laurier plays a crucial role in ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to education and the opportunities it provides. As an employer, it is important that Laurier strives to provide an accessible and barrier-free workplace. Laurier is currently working with persons with disabilities through the many activities underway on campus.
The Laurier Accessibility Committee was established by the Board of Governors in June 2002 in response to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), 2001. The Committe is responsible for developing annual accessibility plans for the university that addresses accessibility issues on campus. This complies with the ODA and the recent Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
"The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 received Royal Assent on June 13, 2005. There will be a transition period during which government and parts of the broader public sector will continue to have planning and other obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 until they are repealed. The planning requirements of the ODA, 2001 will not be repealed until they have been replaced by standards under the new act. More information about the implementation of the new act will be available as soon as details are finalized.
Ontario's colleges and universities are required by law to prepare annual accessibility plans under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). The first of these plans is due by September 30, 2003.
These organizations are required to consult with people with disabilities when preparing their annual plans. Like other organizations with legal obligations under the ODA, colleges and universities must prepare accessibility plans that address a broad range of accessibility issues, taking into account the full definition of disability under the ODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code."
-Ministry of Community and Social Services
The Committee builds on relationships and practices that currently exist by preparing the annual accessibility plans through consultation with students, faculty and staff in the preparation of the plans. The purpose is to help the university to think strategically about barrier removal and prevention.
The accessibility plans must address the “…identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the organization’s by-laws, if any, and in its policies, programs, practices and services.” Failure to prepare an accessibility plan or to make it available to the public by September 30 of each year, may result in a penalty of up to $50,000.
The continuing role of the Laurier Accessibility Committee is to work collaboratively with all constituents to assist in the implementation of each recommendation, monitor and evaluate the progress and continue to make public an annual plan.