Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions: A Guide for Disability Service Providers

Ottawa, March 29, 2012

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is proud to announce the availability of a new, comprehensive guide on disability service provision and accommodations at colleges and universities in Canada. This Guide is now available on the NEADS website. It is the product of research conducted by the Government of Canada’s Office for Disability Issues and is a resource designed with direct input from Canadian campus disability service providers and student groups.

“The Enhancing Accessibility Guide is a very well-written and comprehensive document,” said Frank Smith, NEADS’ National Coordinator. “It is a resource that will be used extensively by disability service providers on college and university campuses, but it is also very valuable or students with disabilities as it is a model for optimal services and accommodations.”

Access to post-secondary education (PSE) is an integral component of achieving income security, yet people with disabilities are less likely to attend and complete PSE than those without disabilities. Students with disabilities have the potential to be successful in PSE and the support they receive from their institution can play a large role in this success.

NEADS partnered with the Government of Canada to ensure that the Guide was thoroughly reviewed by university and college disability service providers and student disability groups. NEADS then developed the Guide into a web-based tool, the purpose of which is to build awareness of disability issues within Canadian PSE institutions and to share best practices in accessibility and accommodation practices and procedures.

“The Government of Canada is committed to creating opportunities and ensuring the full participation of all people with disabilities, including students, in society,” said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “We are proud to work with organizations such as NEADS, which has done important work in helping students with disabilities gain access to post-secondary education.”

The Guide contains best practice examples of accessibility policies and programs as well as a variety of resources on topics which include Financial Support, Mental Health, Sports and
Recreation, Transition to Employment, and many others.

We hope all people, whether service provider, student, or staff, will find this tool useful.

You can locate the guide on the NEADS website in English:
http://www.neads.ca/en/norc/eag/

and French: http://www.neads.ca/fr/norc/eag/

For more information, please contact the NEADS office:
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6,
tel. (613) 380-8065, www.neads.ca

Community Update: WorkBC Employment Services Centres

On April 2nd 2012, the Provincial government will launch a new system of employment programs for British Columbians. Under this model, all employment services will be centralized and consolidated into WorkBC Employment Services Centres, which will be operated by various organizations.

People who want help finding employment through WorkBC will need to contact an Employment Services Centre. The model differs from the previous system in that the Centres will provide help to people from all communities including people with disabilities, immigrants, youth, women and people receiving basic social assistance.

Please note no changes have been made to the rules about seeking employment for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit recipients or for people receiving the Persons with Persistent and Multiple Barriers to Employment benefit (PPMB).

About Accessing the Centres
After April 2nd job seekers should go to the WorkBC website http://www.workbc.ca/ or phone toll-free at 1-877-952-6914 between 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm for answers to job, career or labour market questions.

To locate their local WorkBC Employment Services Centre, job seekers can go to this map: http://www.workbc.ca/workbccentres/interactive_map.htm. Please note that the phone numbers of the Centres are currently not provided on the map and need to be accessed from the various Centre’s websites or through the phone directory.

We’d Like your Feedback on the New Service Model
There is concern in the community that people with disabilities will find the new system less accessible and useful because the Service Centres are not specialized but rather provide assistance to all types of job seekers.

We’d like your feedback on how this new system is working. Please share your experience with the new system by emailing feedback@bccpd.bc.ca.

Northern Vancouver Island Communities Receive Emergency Preparedness Training

On March 13th the BCCPD delivered the one-day workshop, Prepare to Survive – Prepare to Help, in Port McNeill. Twenty people from six communities came out in a snow storm to take the workshop. There were representativs from Emergency Social Services, Fire, Ambulance, mental health groups, independent living, First Nations, as well as individuals with disabilities and seniors.

Workshop participants really liked the CMIST (Communications, Medical, Functional Independence, Supervision, and Transportation needs) approach and personal preparedness exercises and handouts.

For more information on the Prepare to Survive training contact Karen Martin, karen@bccpd.bc.ca