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Trent University Posts Annual Accessibility Plan

Trent University is committed to providing full access to its living and learning environment for the entire University community. To that end, a plan that identifies barriers and addresses their removal has been drafted under the guidelines presented by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA). This legislation, passed in December 2001, was designed to improve full participation of persons with disabilities in all facets of life in Ontario through the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to access. No additional funding was provided to universities to facilitate implementation of the plan.

Under the ODA, provincial and municipal governments as well as key broader public sector organizations are required to review their policies, practices, programs and services through the development of annual accessibility plans.

During the past academic year, Trent’s ODA Access Committee has been working to plan for the review of the University’s policies, procedures, facilities and services from the perspective of their impact on persons with disabilities. The committee, which included representatives of faculty, staff and students, has developed a five-year plan for addressing accessibility.

Barriers were identified through letters and questionnaires sent to all academic, administrative and student government leaders, an examination of progress to-date on a Barrier-Free Audit conducted in the mid-90s, and brainstorming sessions. These barriers were prioritized and set on a timeline.

The accessibility plan, available at, identifies and addresses the removal of barriers in 2003/04 in areas such as publications, information resources, access to instruction, adaptive technologies, academic services and policies, human resources, physical facilities and non-academic services.

Addressing the removal of these identified barriers is a global initiative for which the community will share the responsibility, says Eunice Lund-Lucas, of Trent’s Disabilities Services (Special Needs) Office.

Identified in the accessibility plan is a way to report barriers to accessibility. The process will see Trent personnel respond to the individual raising the concern within 10 working days and if need be, provide a timeline in which the concern will be addressed.

Trent’s ODA Access Committee will continue to advise the president’s office and the President’s Executive Group (PEG) on its work and accessibility at Trent, as it is furthered by the University community. The Board of Governors was advised at its September 26, 2003 meeting that the University has met its legal requirements with the adoption of the policy, which outlines terminology, mandate as well as the aforementioned reporting process.

In response to the barriers identified, Trent will work toward greater accessibility to electronic information and information resources, improved academic access supports as well as access to the campus. Improved access to non-academic supports through awareness training and improved access to instruction will also be priorities in 2003/04.

Posted September 30, 2003

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