OCAD University provides equal opportunity for all of our community to participate, learn, and work – on campus, online and anywhere else that OCAD U conducts its work. Accessibility is broadly defined to refer to the degree to which something is made available for use or understanding by as many people as possible. The work of advancing equity and accessibility relies on it being well integrated into all aspects of community life. This is the rationale that has determined that each department is responsible for addressing accessibility.
The University complies with human right laws that mandate accessibility, including Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This legislation has been implemented to help rebalance a systemically inequitable society wherein some groups of people are excluded from receiving or benefiting from the same opportunities that many people have access to.
Movement towards equity requires a collective shift in how the people of a community think, because the degree to which a community is accessible and inclusive is largely determined by the will and leadership of the community. There are no authorities, experts, or departments that hold all the knowledge about equity, accessibility, or disability. Knowledge that is gained through many diverse bodies, minds, and experiences is robust. It is important that these topics are approached collectively and with broad participation from everyone in our OCAD U community.
Some of the many other reasons for OCAD U to practise inclusivity and accessibility include the following:
- To reflect the diverse range of people already in the OCAD U community
- To enhance the potential to attract diverse new talent and retain those we have hired
- To promote mutual respect and collaborative approaches
- To contribute to an environment of diverse bodies and ideas that potentiate innovation