University of Toronto Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities
It is the University's goal to create a community that is inclusive of all persons and treats all members of the community in an equitable manner. In creating such a community, the University aims to foster a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of all persons.
In working toward this goal, the University will strive to provide support for, and facilitate the accommodation of individuals with disabilities so that all may share the same level of access to opportunities, participate in the full range of activities that the University offers, and achieve their full potential as members of the University community. The University will work to eliminate or minimize the adverse effects of barriers, including physical, environmental, attitudinal, communication and technological barriers, that may prevent the full participation of individuals with disabilities in the University community. The University will meet the accessibility needs of members of the University community with disabilities in a timely manner. The University will provide the members of its community with opportunities for education and access to information regarding disability and the University's policies on disability.
At the same time, the University will endeavour to protect the individuals' privacy, confidentiality and autonomy.
The University re-affirms that all individuals are expected to satisfy the essential requirements of their program of studies or employment, while recognizing that students and employees with disabilities may require reasonable accommodations to enable them to do so. The University is, as always, committed to preserving academic freedom and its high level of academic standards.
The achievement of the University's goal depends on the participation of each and every member of the University community, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as their respective representative organizations. Each of these parties has a role in creating an equitable and inclusive environment, as well as in the accommodation process and the identification, removal, and/or reduction of barriers. The consultative relationship among the members of the University community is based upon a shared desire for an open, supportive learning and working environment, and a shared respect for individual rights and dignity.
In working toward its goals under this Statement, the University is committed to acting conscientiously and in keeping with its own policies and existing legislation related to disability. These include:
- University of Toronto policy on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
- University of Toronto policy on Employment Equity
- University of Toronto Statement on Human Rights
- University of Toronto Statement of Institutional Purpose
- University of Toronto Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment
- University of Toronto procedural guidelines for the accommodation of students, staff and faculty with disabilities
- Ontario Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- Ontario Human Rights Code
- Policy on Accessible Education for Students with Disabilities
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Note: The Government of Ontario has posted both the AODA Postsecondary Education Standards Development Committee’s Final Recommendations Report and the Education Technical Sub-Committee’s Transition Report online.
The committees were tasked with identifying accessibility barriers in Ontario’s publicly funded postsecondary education sector and provide recommendations on measures to prevent and remove these barriers for students with disabilities through the development of a proposed Education Accessibility Standard. The Ontario government is now carefully reviewing the final recommendations and may accept them in full, in part, or with modification.
Postsecondary Education Final Recommendations Report:
View the Final Report in English
View the Final Report in French
Education Technical Sub-Committee’s Final Transitions Report:
View the Final Report in English
View the Final Report in French
Privacy and Confidentiality
Confidentiality of information is the foundation of an effective service for students with disabilities. As well as a requirement by law, we believe this practice generates a student’s trust and confidence.
Collection of personal information
AccessAbility Services collects, stores and uses personal information and health information as is reasonably required to provide disability-related services under the authority of the University of Toronto, and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection Act (RSO 1990, c.F.31).
- AccessAbility Services collects information from students about their disability, functional limitations stemming from their disability and other disability-related information sufficient to support accommodation planning for the student. We also collect information about the student’s academic studies at the University of Toronto, including academic status, and identifying information such as student number, name, birthdate, contact information and emergency contact information.
- AccessAbility Services collects information primarily through the disability documentation AccessAbility Services requires from students when registering with the service. Information is also collected directly from students through in-person, phone or video meetings, email communications and from their ACORN/ROSI student account.
- Students are required to submit their disability documentation securely to AccessAbility Services via the Student Document Upload Portal.
- Students are advised not to submit their disability documentation to AccessAbility Services using email as this medium does not guarantee secure transmission.
Protection of personal information
AccessAbility Services is committed to maintaining confidentiality to the greatest extent possible when providing academic accommodation and related support services to students with disabilities.
- All University staff receiving information follow University policies and guidelines, the Freedom of Information and Protection Act (RSO 1990, c.F.31) and other legal requirements.
- We take steps to protect your personal information from theft, loss and unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.
- We monitor and manage our privacy compliance to ensure that all staff protect your privacy and only use your personal information for the purposes to which you have consented.
- Student electronic records are kept on an encrypted, secured server maintained by the University of Toronto Information Technology Services. Only AccessAbility Services staff are authorized access to these student records.
- We maintain student records for 10 years after the student’s last contact with the service. After the retention period, the student’s AccessAbilityServices file will be destroyed/deleted.
Use and disclosure of personal information
AccessAbility Services only releases specific information on a limited and ‘as needed’ basis to other parties within the University who are helping us to administer accommodations. For example, the Office of Registrar Accommodated Testing team requires information on specific test/exam accommodations that are in place for a student in order for their staff to facilitate accommodated exams. The Office of the Registar is not told any other information about the student other than test and exam accommodation information (i.e. they are not provided with any information about a diagnosis or particular disability-related concern), just the minimum of what they need to know in order to ensure they can appropriately support the writing of the exam.
If a circumstance were to arise whereby information is being sought by another individual that falls outside a "need to know" the service would not respond to that individual or party without express written consent from the student (e.g. a partner, parent, university staff, etc.)
- We do not share information about a student’s disability diagnosis with anyone internal or external to the University of Toronto without the student’s explicit consent.
- Students are not required (and are advised not to) share details regarding their disability diagnosis with anyone outside of AccessAbility Services for the purposes of obtaining academic accommodations or supports.
- We do not permit indirect collection of personal information without the student’s knowledge. Parents or other family members who submit documentation to AccessAbility Services on behalf of a student must copy the student’s UTOR email address.
Accessing your personal information
Students may access and correct their own personal records by contacting email@example.com (subject to legal exceptions).
Students can request copies of their information from their AccessAbility Services student file even after they have left University of Toronto for a period of up to 10 years following their last contact.
Questions or concerns
Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request an appointment to speak with the Director of AccessAbility Services regarding any questions or concerns they have about how their personal information is collected, used, stored, shared or disclosed.