The University of Western Ontario’s


Accessibility Plan




September 2004 to August 2005


Prepared in accordance with the Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2001







30 September 2004




Table of Contents



Introduction......................................................................................................................... 3


Objectives........................................................................................................................... 3


Western’s Commitment to Accessibility Planning......................................................... 3


Barrier-Removal Initiatives in 2003-2004....................................................................... 4


Plan for Removal of Barriers 2004–2005....................................................................... 8


Review and Monitoring Process................................................................................... 10


Appendices .................................................................................................................... 12

            Appendix A – Members of WODAC

            Appendix B – Report on the Status of the Accessibility Audit

            Appendix C – King’s University College Accessibility Plan


The University of Western Ontario’s Annual Accessibility Plan

September 30, 2004





In December 2001, Ontario passed the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (the “Act”).  The purpose of the Act is to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities and to provide for their involvement in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to their full participation in the life of the province. To this end, the Act mandates that every university, including The University of Western Ontario (“Western”), prepare an annual accessibility plan.


This is the second such plan to be prepared on behalf of Western.





The purpose of an accessibility plan is to document barriers to accessibility that have been removed to date and identify those barriers that will be removed in the coming year.  A plan must also identify how the barriers will be removed and present a plan for identifying and removing barriers in the future, and preventing the development of new barriers.   Plans must be made public and accessible to allow for input from the broader community.


The purpose of this plan is to update the original report, prepared in September 2003, and available at



 Western’s Commitment to Accessibility Planning


As is stated in Making Choices, the University’s current Strategic Plan,


Western is also committed to increasing its representation of First Nations, visible minorities and persons with disabilities. In the current environment, excellence requires that Western be an attractive destination for the full diversity of young faculty, including those from all the groups identified under the Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program, to which the University is a signatory.


With regard to its administrative staff, Western also establishes the following commitment in Making Choices: to “Ensure that our hiring is supportive of applicants from diverse backgrounds, including the designated groups identified under the Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program”.


The University of Western Ontario has been committed to accessibility planning for some time now and has recommitted itself to such planning under the Act.  With the formation of Western’s Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (“WODAC”), Western has committed itself to meeting its obligations under the Act, as well as to achieving the following goals:


·        The continual improvement of access to University premises, facilities and services for all persons with disabilities;

·        The participation of persons with disabilities in the development and review of its annual access plans; and

·        The provision of quality services to persons with disabilities.



Barrier-Removal Initiatives in 2003-2004


1.   Physical and Architectural Barriers


During the past year, the student-funded Accessibility Development Committee (“ADC”) continued its work to address barriers on campus that have been identified by undergraduate students. While these barriers have been identified by students and addressed with funds provided by students, there is a beneficial impact for all members of the community. These improvements include:



The Department of Physical Plant, which plays a large role in addressing physical barriers identified on campus, has also displayed a strong commitment to addressing physical barriers that are brought to its attention and to maintaining accessibility-related improvements such as door openers.   In addition to addressing issues as they arise, Physical Plant continues to make available the amount of $50,000.00 per year in its budget to direct toward projects to increase accessibility on campus.  It should be noted as well that additional sums are committed by other departments on campus, and that making accessibility an integral part of all budgeting processes is to be encouraged. 


Initiatives from Physical Plant this year included:



The Barrier Free Access and Safety Committee (the “BFASC”) continues to be involved in the review of plans for all new buildings and all major renovations to existing buildings on campus to ensure that barriers are addressed at the planning and design stage, and that no new barriers are created.  Accessibility standards set by the University often go beyond the standards found in the Ontario Building Code (which are acknowledged as a base only) and it is an expectation that contractors bidding on and completing work at the University will meet these higher standards.  It should also be noted that Physical Plant regularly engages the services of Designable Environments (Consultants in Accessibility and Future Care Planning) to review these projects.  Work done by the BFASC in the past year included reviews of the following projects:




Further design initiatives:



One of the major commitments in last year’s report was to begin to conduct a campus accessibility audit to create an authoritative list of physical barriers that currently exist across campus.   This is a significant undertaking on a campus the size of Western.   To date, 31 buildings have been assessed using the University Campus Accessibility Measure.   A preliminary report has been completed, summarizing findings for Chemistry, Biological and Geological Sciences, Stevenson-Lawson, University College and Western Science Centre buildings.   This report includes specific recommendations.   The goal at present is to have a final report, based on the data gathered over the past two summers, completed by September 2005.   There are some key, global recommendations which can be made at this point, and which are outlined below in the section on barriers to be addressed in the upcoming year.   A copy of the report on the status of the project is included in the Appendix.



2.  Information and Communications Barriers


Initiatives to remove information and communication barriers across campus in the past year include:




3.  Attitudinal Barriers


As stated in the previous report, this type of barrier is the most difficult of the barriers to identify and address. Western is fortunate to have a large number of interested and concerned individuals in its community who regularly take on the task of educating others about the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in our community, both formally in the work that they do and informally.


Although identified in last year’s report, and initially planned for October 2003, the Barrier Busters Forum was not held as planned.   The Forum is being proposed for the 2004-2005 academic year and is discussed further below.


Some initiatives completed in the past year to move forward in addressing these barriers include:




4.      Technological Barriers


Efforts to remove technological barriers on campus are on-going.   Various departments continue to take steps to acquire adaptive technology on an as-needed basis.  Support for these initiatives is given to departments and individual employees by Rehabilitation Services.


In addition, however, several initiatives of the ADC in the past year addressed the following technological barriers for students on campus:



Information Technology Services (“ITS”), specifically through the Senate Subcommittee on Information Technology (“SUIT”), continues its efforts to ensure all Western's official departmental websites meet barrier-free web accessibility standards, as set out by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Access Initiative (WAI).



5.       Barriers Created by Policies or Practices


With an organization the size of Western, there are a great number of policies and practices, both formal and informal, which require review.   By promoting Western’s obligations pursuant to the Act, it is anticipated that many of these will be reviewed by the appropriate departments, and barriers will be identified and brought forward, either by those departments or by individuals impacted.   Resources such as Staff Relations, Rehabilitation Services, Services for Students with Disabilities and Equity Services are available to receive concerns.   These resources also continue to review policies and practices as part of their work on campus.


Some specific initiatives in the past year undertaken to address policy or practice barriers include:








Plan for Removal of Barriers in 2004-2005


What follows is a list of recommended actions to be undertaken in the upcoming year to identify, remove and prevent barriers at Western.



1.  Physical and Architectural Barriers













2.  Information and Communications Barriers






3.  Attitudinal Barriers


·        Improve understanding and awareness of mental health and mental illness across campus, especially among managers and supervisors, through further education and training initiatives.


·        Present a “Barrier Busters Forum” on campus to bring together persons with disabilities from across the Western community, their supporters and administrators to discuss accessibility issues, highlight existing barriers and brainstorm ways to remove and prevent further barriers.


·        Develop an employment equity guide for use by those responsible for staff hiring and promotion, which would include considerations for hiring and promoting persons with disabilities.


·        Continue to develop and present various educational programs across campus.



4.  Technological Barriers


·        Continue to respond on an as-needed basis to requests for adaptive technology to assist members of the community.


·        Continue to monitor and ensure all official Western websites are accessible according to standards approved by ITS.


·        Consider the purchase of additional assistive technology devices to be loaned out on a temporary basis through Services for Students with Disabilities.






5.  Barriers Created by Policies or Practices


·        Explore options and costs for accessible on-campus transportation in response to concerns and limitations raised by members of the community.


·        Consider a review of the existing policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.



Review and Monitoring Process


During the past year, Western’s Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee continued to be in place, but did not meet on a monthly basis as proposed in last year’s report.   Also contained in last year’s report was a recommendation by the Committee that its mandate be clearly established, which has not yet taken place.


One of the challenges faced by Western, and by other universities, in preparing an annual accessibility plan is the deadline mandated by the Act.   Annual Accessibility Plans are to be made available to the public by September 30th each year.   This does not fit with the fiscal year of universities and makes it difficult to commit to projects for the upcoming year.   It is likely that this will be raised as an issue with the Accessibility Directorate in the near future.  However, in an attempt to address this challenge, it is proposed that this plan be considered a work in progress that will continue to be updated as the year progresses.


Furthermore, it is apparent that work needs to be done to develop a clear review and monitoring process, and that the role of the Committee needs to be more clearly defined.  There are a number of departments, groups and individuals on campus who share in the responsibilities outlined by the Act.   A coordinated approach to identifying, removing and preventing barriers is preferable.   It is proposed that in the upcoming year, the Committee discuss a more formalized annual review process which would include a clearer identification of accountabilities and timelines for work to be done.










Appendix A


Members of WODAC


The following members of the University community served as members of WODAC from September 2003 (or earlier) to the date of this report:


Committee Member


Contact Information

Joan Aldis

King’s University College

433-3491 x4316

Farid Arbi

Professional and Managerial Association

661-2111 x85735

Frances Bauer



Brian Borowski

Information Technology Services

661-2111 x86033

Claire Callaghan

Western Libraries

661-2111 x84772

Francis Chan

Medicine & Dentistry

661-2111 x86803

William Cliff

Huron University College

438-7224 x294

Wendy Dickinson

Services for Students with Disabilities, SDC

661-3031 x88616

Veronika Elsie

HR, Staff Relations

661-3783 x85580

David Empey/Brenda Davis

Staff Association

661-2111 x83028

Flemming Galberg

Physical Plant and Capital Planning

661-2111 x88880

Gail Hutchinson

Student Development Centre

661-2111 x85946

Lisa Klinger

Occupational Therapy

661-2111 x88963

Ruta Lawrence

Housing and Ancillary Services

661-2111 x85978

Bruce Morgan

Brescia University College

432-8353 x28289

Adrienne Kennedy/Eric Johanssen

University Students’ Council

661-3574 x83574

Merran Neville

Information Technology Services

661-3976 x83976

Jeff Preston/Kathryn Esaw

University Students’ Council


Valerie Smith

HR, Occupational Health and Safety

661-2111 x84742

Deborah Stuart

Services for Students with Disabilities, SDC

661-2147 x82147

Jennifer Schroeder

Equity Services


Jane O’Brien (Chair)

Associate Vice-President (Human Resources) and for much of the year Acting Vice-President (Administration)





Appendix B


Report on the Status of

The Evaluation of Physical Accessibility at The University of Western Ontario

September 24, 2004

Lisa Klinger, MSc, OT Reg (Ont); Dr. Linda Miller, PhD


Since receiving initial funding from the Vice President‑Administration in May, 2003, 31 buildings on campus have been assessed using the University Campus Accessibility Measure (UCAM). A list of the buildings assessed/not yet assessed is attached. The list shows that the following buildings have yet to be assessed: the Law Building (due to major construction begun this summer); two "buildings" which we were unable to locate; five buildings for which no floor plans were available; seven residences; and eight additional buildings listed under "What's Left?".

Evaluation of accessibility has been done in detail, as per the UCAM enclosed. The raw data is being stored in two locked filing cabinets in Elborn College, and we would be happy to share this data. We have also been in the process of entering the data into an electronic database, and our target is to have all data available in SPSS format by the end of September. We would be happy to share the electronic data as well, if that is useful.

A map of accessible exterior routes was provided to the Division of Physical Plant and Capital Planning Services in September, 2003. Our understanding is that this is being used to create an updated map of campus that will be available on the University's web‑site. We believe that a fair amount of work has been done on this project, but that Physical Plant did not have sufficient resources to be able to get the map ready for posting to the web‑site by September, 2004, our original target date.

This past summer, we were also able to gather data on wheelchair accessible interior routes, including tunnels, and estimated times from building to building in a motorized wheelchair.

A preliminary report has been completed, summarizing findings from the Chemistry, Biological and Geological Sciences, Steven Lawson, University College, and Western Science Centre buildings, and providing specific recommendations. A copy of that report is enclosed. We recognize that the existing format of this report may have some limitations, and we would appreciate receiving feedback regarding the University's needs, in order to determine the most appropriate format for a final report.

It is our goal to have a final report, based on the rest of the data gathered over the past two summers, completed by September 30, 2005. We would also appreciate receiving feedback as to whether there is, or is not, merit in assessing the left over buildings during summer 2005.

At this point in time, we also feel comfortable providing some key, global recommendations to enhance safety and accessibility. Overall, accessible classrooms are available, and while not all classrooms are accessible, we did not identify this as a major problem. The key issues appear to be accessible washrooms, movement through the buildings, and safety issues. Accessibility on campus would be much improved by attention to the following:

1) Signage in the form of the International Symbol of Accessibility needs to be installed to mark all accessible entrances, elevators, washrooms, and routes through all buildings.

2) There should be at least two fully accessible washrooms in each building.

3) There should be at least two accessible entrances for each building.

4) All clutter and obstacles such as showcases, vending machines, etc. should be removed when they render passageways narrower than 1800 mm (roughly 6 ft), to enhance accessibility and safety.

5) An evacuation plan should be in place for every building whenever someone with a mobility, visual, or hearing impairment is in the building.

6) The University should continue to diligently maintain the condition of external routes (curb cuts, condition of sidewalks, and snow clearance), to facilitate safe access.


For more specific recommendations, we refer to the existing report. We await your feedback, in order to proceed with a final report.

Status of Building Reviews


Finished Buildings


3M Centre


Alumni Hall


  Biological & Geological Sciences


Collip Building


Chemistry Building


Cronyn Observatory


Dental Sciences Building


Elborn College


Health Sciences Addition


Althouse Faculty of Education Building


Thompson Recreation and Athletics Centre


John Labatt Visual Arts Centre


Kresge Building


Middlesex College


Music Building


Molecular Biology Laboratory


National Centre for Management Research and Development


 Natural Sciences Centre


 Physics & Astronomy Building


 Richard Ivey School of Business


 Social Sciences Centre


 Somerville House


 Spencer Engineering Building


 Stevenson Lawson Building


 Talbot College

Thames Hall


The Allyn and Betty Taylor Library


The Laurene O. Paterson Building, Western Science Centre


Thompson Engineering Building


University College


University Community Centre


Weldon Library



What Remains


Bio‑Engineering Building


Biological &  Geological Greenhouses


Boiler House


Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel


Central Food Commissary


Josephine Spencer Niblett Law Building


McIntosh Gallery


Medical Sciences Building


North Campus Building


Services Building


South Valley Building


TD Waterhouse Stadium


Siebens-Drake Research Institute


Spencer Hall


Staging Building






Alumni House Residence


Delaware Hall Residence


Elgin Hall Residence


Essex Hall Residence


Medway Hall Residence


Perth Hall


Syndenham Hall Residence


Saugeen-Maitland Hall Residence


Westminster College



Off-Campus Housing


Ausable Hall (Glenmore)


Bayfield Hall (Glenmore)


Beaver Hall (Glenmore)


Lambton Hall


Platt’s Lane Estates





Brescia University College


Huron University College (complete)


King’s University College





Annual Accessibility Plan- King’s University College

September 2004-August 2005




Submitted to:                 Western’s Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

                                    The University of Western Ontario


Submitted by:                Mary Carol Watters - Dean of Students

                                    Joan Aldis - Coordinator of Counselling & Student Development and Services for Students with Disabilities


Date:                            September 30, 2004



This report addresses:


1.       measures taken to remove barriers on the campus of King’s University College


2.       measures to be taken in the current year to identify, remove and prevent barriers to persons with disabilities including faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the public.



Barrier- Removal Initiatives in 2003-2004


Ø       The Computer Access Room in the Cardinal Carter Library was installed.  This state- of-the-art computer station is equipped with an electric height adjustable table and an ergonomic chair, a Pentium IV 2.6G Computer & 19” Flat Screen Monitor, Speech Recognition Software (Dragon Naturally Speaking), Text-to-Voice Software (Kurzweil 3000, TextHelp, Ruby, and JAWS), print magnification software (ZoomText), learning strategy software (Inspiration) and an HP 8200 Scanner.


Ø       Two (2) Obus Low Back Rests were purchased to be used by Services for Students with Disabilities.


Ø       One (1) AMG Airgo Lightweight Transport Chair (wheelchair) was purchased and is available for use by students, faculty, staff and community members when visiting King’s University College.


Ø       Alternative Format Textbooks

o        Eight (8) 4 track tape recorders were purchased for audiotaping course materials for students with disabilities.



Ø       A Website was launched that highlights information and services that are available for persons with disabilities at King’s University College, the University of Western Ontario, and the London community.   Areas included in the Website are:


o        Academic Accommodation

o        Exam Accommodations

o        Alternative to Print Materials

o        Assistive Technologies

o        Transportation and Parking

o        Interpreters or Computerized Notetakers

o        Financial Assistance

o        Publications, Policies

o        Disability News



Ø       A major renovation to the Lecture Theatre Building and Dante Lenardon Hall was completed during the summer of 2004. The two buildings were joined by a link and significant renovations were made to Offices of The Academic Dean.  One of the key areas addressed in the design process was the removal of barriers for persons with disabilities and to increase accessibility.  These changes include:


o        Installation of a new elevator in the Lecture Theatre Building.

o        Installation of a new lift in the Link between Dante Lenardon Hall and the Lecture Theatre Building.


Ø       Automatic door openers were installed for the men’s and women’s accessible washrooms in Bessie Labatt Hall.


Ø       A ramp was installed at the rear exit of Bessie Labatt Hall.  There are now two accessible entrances to this building.


Ø       Braille signage was installed for all offices in the Monsignor Wemple Building and Dante Lenardon Hall.


Ø       The Centre for Social Concern and the Office of the Dean of Students provided financial and administrative support for a forum organized by The Ontarians With Disabilities Act (ODA) Committee, London Region held at King’s University College on September 11, 2004.   While the building met code, slight improvements were made to enhance accessibility.


Ø       The Office of the Dean of Students and the Academic Dean’s Office attended a professional development session on the diagnosis of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.




Plan for Removal of Barriers in 2004-2005


Ø       As part of the University of Western Ontario’s Accessibility Plan, King’s University College is to be assessed using the University Campus Accessibility Measure.


Ø       Continue to ensure that barriers are identified and removed (per original report 2003-2004 and annual institutional priorities) and that accommodations, where required, are arranged in a timely manner.