Accessibility Hub launches
The University of Manitoba has created an online Accessibility Hub, a website that gathers information and resources related to accessibility at the university in one easy-to-navigate place.
“We are really thrilled about this new, integrated, central resource,” says Jackie Gruber, human rights and conflict management office, who is one of the hub’s coordinators. “The Accessibility Hub provides support and solicits feedback, while promoting the importance and visibility of accessibility at the university. It is intended to serve the community and anyone seeking information about accessibility and accessibility resources available at the U of M.”
The newly-created hub is part of the U of M’s evolving Accessibility Plan to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility as required under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, which passed into law in December 2013. A first version of the U of M’s plan was released in December 2016.
Besides the Accessibility Plan, the site includes a feedback mechanism and links to U of M accessibility policies and accommodations and other resources. You can also find more information about the U of M’s Accessibility Steering Committee, which ensures that the university meets the requirements of the Act in creating an inclusive campus for all.
The plan supports the U of M’s commitment, as outlined in Taking Our Place: University of Manitoba Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020, to increasing student, staff, faculty and leadership diversity with respect to the inclusion of women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, gender and sexual minorities, and racialized minorities.
Over time, mandatory accessibility standards will address barriers to accessibility with respect to five areas, including customer service, information and communication, built environment, employment, and transportation. The university has two years to become compliant with each standard; the first standard, customer service, came into effect on November 1, 2015.
The university is working with identified stakeholders to address the customer service standard through broad-based education and training to the community. The Act also requires the U of M, along with all organizations across the province, to update their accessibility plans every two years.
More resources will be added to the Accessibility Hub as they are developed, and as the U of M’s Accessibility Plan is updated. Service Disruptions will constitute another section of the site; the Accessibility Steering Committee is working on a notification system for service disruptions that affect accessibility.
“Accessibility is an integral part of an outstanding work and learning experience for our students, faculty and staff,” says Greg Juliano, associate vice-president (human resources).
“The Accessibility Hub is one more way to promote inclusion and diversity and achieve higher levels of accessibility at the University of Manitoba. Whether you are a visitor to U of M, a student, or someone working as support staff or faculty, we want to ensure that our campuses are open and welcoming to all and that information and resources are easy to find.”
The U of M’s Accessibility Hub can be found at: http://umanitoba.ca/accessibility/. Visit the site for continually updated accessibility news, information and resources.