Academic Accommodations - Our Legal Responsibility

  • Providing students with disabilities full access to the learning environment is legislated by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
  • Accommodation planning is a collaborative process that is shared amongst the student, Accessible Learning Services (ALS) and you as a faculty member. On a few occasions, further communication with Program Coordinators, Associate Deans and Deans (Humber) or Program Heads (Guelph-Humber) may also be required.
  • The need for accommodation stems from a barrier in the learning environment that the student has encountered or may encounter due to the impact of their disability.
  • When a student has met with ALS and a disability-related need for accommodations has been identified, an Accommodation Letter will be developed and sent your way.
  • In most instances, the Accommodation Letter will be sent by ALS; but, on a few occasions, students may wish to communicate directly with you. This is their choice. 

Three Steps to Take When You Receive an Accommodation Letter

  1. Send an email to the student to acknowledge receipt of the Accommodation Letter.
  2. Carefully review the Accommodation Letter. If you identify an accommodation that you feel may conflict with the essential requirements of your course, contact ALS to discuss.
  3. Advise the student that they are welcome to contact you in person or via email. 

Things to consider:

  • Accommodations are individualized and can change over time based on several factors including but not limited to program demands, the design of the learning environment, the nature of the student’s disability, etc.  Therefore, an Accommodation Letter may be amended and reissued.
  • Students can register with ALS at any point in the academic year. You should expect to receive requests for accommodations throughout the term.
  • Certain accommodations may require significant lead time. To facilitate accommodation planning, course and/or program information may be required prior to the start of term.
  • Students may approach you directly to request a disability-related accommodation without providing an Accommodation Letter and may choose not to register with Accessible Learning Services.
  • You are encouraged to grant the request if you feel it is reasonable and have no concerns with respect to academic integrity; approval from Accessible Learning Services is not mandatory.

It’s better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to disability.

See our Faculty Model for Communication on Accommodation guide to support efforts in being proactive. An accessible version of this guide is also available.