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Accessibility Training for College and University Educators and Librarians

Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In contrast, the other committee has recommended guidelines for the university and college education system. In this article, we outline the Postsecondary Committee’s recommended accessibility training for college and university educators and librarians.

The committee’s mandate from the Ontario government requires recommendations focused on publicly-funded colleges and universities. However, students and educators with disabilities also face barriers in other education settings, including:

  • Privately-funded colleges and universities
  • Transitional job training programs

Therefore, all these settings should comply with the forthcoming postsecondary education standards.

Accessibility Training for College and University Educators and Librarians

In addition to accessibility training recommended for all college and university employees, the Committee recommends specific training for educators and librarians. Educators are any employees who design, deliver, or instruct courses or programs. For example, educators include:

  • Faculty
  • Teaching assistants
  • Staff
  • Guest presenters

Educators should have training on how to procure accessible equipment, and create or procure accessible course content. For instance, educators should learn about how late textbook selection negatively impacts students with print disabilities. Similarly, training should alert educators to their duty to comply with the Canadian Copyright Act, the Marrakesh VIP Treaty, and other related:

  • Legislation
  • Treaties
  • Agreements
  • Conventions

The government should develop training resources to teach all educators about these laws. Likewise, training should prepare educators to accommodate students as required under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code). Moreover, training should introduce educators to the Committee’s recommended accessibility standards for teaching and learning at college and university.

Finally, this training must be anti-oppressive and intersectional. For example, training should alert educators and librarians that many people with disabilities also have other intersecting identities protected from discrimination under the Code.

Educators and librarians must renew this training every three (3) years.