OCAD U’s vision is that everyone in the community can participate in all our learning & teaching experiences, facilities & spaces, events and professional opportunities. We do not live up to this ideal yet, because there are structural, technological, systemic and cultural barriers that exclude people with disabilities from making their best contribution to OCAD U.
We understand inclusion of staff, instructors and students with disabilities as a matter of human rights and that OCAD U should be structured and designed for inclusiveness, rather than assuming that accessibility is just a matter of special modifications that leave our underlying patterns, spaces, systems and culture unchanged. We recognize that inclusive classrooms and studios support deeper learning, greater learner engagement, richer research, and more powerful artistic expression.
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). These legislation have been implemented to help rebalance a systemically inequitable society wherein some groups of people are excluded from receiving or benefiting from the same opportunities to which many people have access.
Inclusion is a process and an outcome. We recognize that the challenges of accessibility constantly evolve along with technology, scholarship, culture and the socio-economic milieu of which OCAD U is a part.
Learning is a two-way process. We commit to making our own imperfections a constant driver of new insights and innovation. We commit to engaging community members who experience access barriers in creation of solutions.
1. Provide flexible spaces, courses, jobs, projects and other contexts of learning, teaching and working to allow for the many varied and overlapping types of accommodation that our students, staff and faculty require.
2. Adopt principles of inclusive design to enable solutions that suit individual needs/preferences by making flexible, adaptable facilities, resources and tools available to the whole community.
3. Improve the representation of people with disabilities, and knowledge gained through lived experience, amongst staff, faculty and students
The Ontario Human Rights Commission promotes the value of integration in many of their human rights laws and directives, and at OCAD U we are taking an integrative approach to accessibility. Dispersing accessibility throughout the whole OCAD U website may facilitate both a greater consciousness of and a more distributed responsibility for access and building community. This also fosters increased opportunity for real change.