We are pleased to share the 2022 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Report, which showcases the University of Toronto’s ongoing efforts to create accessible and inclusive working and learning environments. This report highlights our commitment to addressing systemic barriers and supporting our community.
The report features projects and initiatives across the tri-campus that exemplify our dedication to accessibly and universal design.
Here are some of the key highlights:
Building our community’s understanding of Universal Design
The University is committed to incorporate universal design principles in all aspects of learning, teaching, and working. The University’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office, in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy at UTM, developed the new training “Universal Design 101” to assist staff, librarians, and faculty in understanding universal design and how to embed it into their own work and, in turn, the policies, processes, and services at our institution. The AODA Office delivered a version of this workshop focusing on the universal design of administration to new and ongoing academic administrators in June 2022
Last year at U of T Mississauga, a three-day Summer Camp for Instructors was organized in collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Collaboration (TLC). This camp, facilitated by members of the Educational Development team, focused on universal design principles, inclusive pedagogy, and shared valuable resources.
U of T Scarborough educators deepened their understanding of Universal Design through the UTSC Teaching and Learning Resource Hub. This platform introduced a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) module, providing strategies for designing UDL-based curriculum. Faculty seeking personalized assistance on designing accessible learning opportunities were also able to request individual consultations.
St. George campus’s THE500 Teaching in Higher Education course, offered by Woodsworth College, emphasized UDL. Accessibility Services guest speakers were invited to complement discussions on UDL principles.
Embracing new standards and best practices
As for upgrading our physical spaces, in partnership with the AODA Office, Facilities & Services, St. George, a tri-campus Technical Working Group worked diligently to finalize Facility Accessible Design Standards (FADS) for U of T’s built environments. These comprehensive standards will apply to all future capital projects, ensuring accessibility is seamlessly integrated into new buildings and the renovation of existing structures.
Creating accessible physical spaces and structures.
The Project Management Group within Facilities & Services successfully completed two capital projects on the St. George campus last year to create more accessible physical spaces and structures. The first was the addition of an accessible entrance to the Wallberg Building, which was previously only accessible by ramp from the adjoining Pratt Building. The second focused on creating an accessible entrance and washroom for the Centre for Industrial Relations, further expanding accessibility options.
Centring lived experience of disability
Lastly, in recognition of National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) in June 2022, the University organized a virtual event titled “Disability, Race, Gender, and Diverse Intersecting Communities: Pathways towards Social Justice.” The event, hosted by the AODA Office in partnership with Student Life and AccessAbility Services at UTSC, provided a platform for experts from U of T, peer institutions, and community organizations to engage in meaningful discussions and raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by individuals with intersecting forms of discrimination, including lived experience of disability.
Read the report and give your feedback!
The AODA Report demonstrates the University’s unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive environment that fosters equal opportunities for all members of the community. By incorporating Universal Design principles, embracing new standards and best practices, creating accessible physical spaces, and centering the lived experience of disability, U of T continues to lead the way in accessibility initiatives.
For more details on the projects and initiatives highlighted, please see the 2022 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Annual Report and feel free to send any feedback you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.