Brenda Moore, Coordinator, AU Access to Students with Disabilities

The accommodation of students with disabilities has become a priority topic of discussion and planning within post-secondary education, nationally and internationally, in recent years. As legislation guides [educators to include] the accommodation requirements of students with disabilities as part of general policy and operations to ensure the opportunity for all students to participate fully; post-secondary institutions, educators, and students are developing a growing awareness of rights and responsibilities. The achievement of an inclusive, accommodating system will demand the awareness and participation of all constituents including administration, faculty, staff, and students.

It is within this context that Access to Students with Disabilities (ASD) is pleased to forward this newsletter article from the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission to announce a new Interpretive Bulletin entitled ‘Duty to Accommodate Students with Disabilities in Post-secondary Education’.

Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission

A new publication from the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission helps students and educators understand how students with disabilities can be included in all aspects of the post-secondary educational environment. Duty to accommodate students with disabilities at post-secondary educational institutions is now available on the Commission’s Web site at http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca in the “Publications and Resources” section. Print copies can also be ordered from the Commission.

The leading method for ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access to post-secondary education is through a process called accommodation. Human rights law requires post-secondary educational institutions to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship, to allow them to participate fully in all aspects of student life, including course and lab work, extracurricular activities, and social life.

The Commission’s new educational resource provides practical advice to both students and educators about how they can arrange effective accommodations. It also outlines the responsibilities of both the student and the educator in the accommodation process.

The publication reflects the Commission’s position on the legal duty to accommodate, based on current human rights legislation and case law. It was developed in consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including students with disabilities; community organizations that serve persons with disabilities; and individuals who work at post-secondary educational institutions throughout Alberta. Stakeholders shared their experiences and their questions related to accommodation.

For more information about the duty to accommodate or to order copies of the publication, call the Commission’s confidential inquiry line at (780) 427-7661 in Edmonton or (403) 297-6571 in Calgary. You can call toll-free from other Alberta locations by first dialing 310-0000. For toll-free TTY service for persons with hearing disabilities, dial 1-800-232-7215.

The Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta with a mandate to foster equality and reduce discrimination. It provides public information and education programs, and helps Albertans resolve human rights complaints.