The duty to accommodate students with disabilities arises from the Ontario Human Rights Code. The University of Toronto has a legal obligation to comply with the Code, and while the duty rests with the University as a whole, the central office charged with compliance on behalf of the University in respect of students on the Scarborough Campus is AccessAbility Services. The purpose of the following information is to help instructors understand their role, as well as the limits of their role, in arranging accommodations for their students with disabilities.
AccessAbility Services acts as a resource for all Academic and Administrative Departments on campus for their students with disabilities. It is in the best interest of the student experience when our office works in partnership with the student and their instructors in order to provide a collaborative and integrated approach when providing accommodations.
AccessAbility Services encourages students to be self advocates and to disclose that they have disability-related needs to their instructors and discuss plans for accommodations. If a student chooses to disclose a disability to an educational instructor, the instructor is required to take care to avoid asking a student about his/her disability. Further, the instructor must take care to avoid speaking about a student’s disability in front of their class or other students, avoid disclosing a student’s personal disability information without the student’s permission to other faculty, avoid leaving written information regarding a student’s disability in a public place or in plain view, and avoid using a student’s name when discussing general disability issues.
In an ideal world, all students, including students with disabilities, would be comfortable discussing all aspects of their personal identities in an open manner without fear of discrimination and / or harassment. In reality, however, some students may be reluctant to disclose their disabilities, particularly at the post-secondary level, for fear of being stigmatized, denied opportunities, or arousing unwanted curiosity and unnecessary concern from others. Some will have had bad experiences in the past that may have included being on the receiving end of intolerant attitudes and other forms of discriminatory treatment.
There are many students on campus who choose not to disclose their disability. Further, they choose not to register with AccessAbility Services, or, if newly diagnosed, they register when they are well into their academic program.
Any student requesting accommodations from the AccessAbility Services must provide medical documentation from an appropriate health care professional indicating the limitations and restrictions that arise from the disability. This documentation is the basis of determining whether or not measures of accommodation are required, and if so, what measure(s) would be appropriate to accommodate the student’s particular limitations and restrictions. All confidential disability related medical documentation and information is safeguarded by the AccessAbility Services, separate from the student’s academic record in order to protect the students’ right to privacy.
Disclosure of a disability does not occur outside of the Service without student consent..