Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

PDAD&C # 18, 2014-15

From:      Jill Matus, Vice-Provost, Students & First-Entry Divisions
Date:  September 16, 2014 
Re:  Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities 

I am writing to remind you of the University’s policies and obligations regarding the provision of academic accommodations for students with disabilities. The University is committed to developing an accessible learning environment that provides reasonable accommodations to enable students with disabilities to meet the essential academic requirements of the University's courses and programs.

Academic accommodations for students with disabilities are provided in accordance with the statutory duty arising from the Ontario Human Rights Code.  Some reasonable accommodations are outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Guidelines on Accessible Education

The University's Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities provides that “the University will strive to provide support for, and facilitate the accommodation of individuals with disabilities so that all may share the same level of access to opportunities, participate in the full range of activities that the University offers, and achieve their full potential as members of the University community.”

The University of Toronto has an accessibility services office on each campus to assist students and faculty with academic accommodations. The role of these offices is to:

• Receive and review the student’s medical documentation on a confidential basis;
• Verify the student’s disability on behalf of the University;
• Determine, with the student, based on the documentation provided whether accommodations are required and, if so, what accommodations would be effective;
• Adjust accommodations as needed;
• Act as a resource for faculty in assisting with the implementation of accommodations in the classroom, for practicums, labs, graduate programs, and with respect to multiple forms of assessment.

If applicable, the accessibility office will provide the student with a Letter of Academic Accommodation, to be presented to the faculty member.  This letter verifies that the accessibility office has received and reviewed documentation of a bona fide disability and provides details on the proposed accommodation. Letters of Academic Accommodation may be issued at any time during the year. 

If a faculty member has a concern regarding the proposed accommodation, he/she should contact the student’s disability counselor/advisor listed on the Letter of Academic Accommodation.  

Verification of Absence for Disability-Related reasons versus Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form

If a student is absent for disability-related reasons or if a disability compounds the impact of an illness or life circumstance, the disability counselor/advisor will assess the impact on the student’s inability to complete assignments and will provide written recommendations.

Please note the distinction between such written recommendations and the Verification of Student Illness or Injury form which is presented to faculty when a student is seeking an exception due to a short-term illness or injury, not a disability.  This form replaced the previous “Student Medical Certificate” in 2013.

Students who present the Verification of Illness form and are seeking long-term or permanent accommodation should be directed to their accessibility services office. 

Further information is available at

For assistance in implementing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, please contact the relevant accessibility office on your campus:

Tina Doyle, Director
UTSC, AccessAbility Services (416) 287 7553

Tanya Lewis, Director
St. George Accessibility Services, (416) 978 6268

Elizabeth Martin, Director
UTM AccessAbility Resource Centre (905) 828 5406