Authorization and Approval
Responsibility: Vice Provost Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: December 14, 2021
This policy replaced "Students with Disabilities: Academic Accommodation and Access" policy originally approved March 1, 1997, amended Setpember 1, 2011.
The University of Saskatchewan is committed to establishing and maintaining a learning environment that fosters equitable opportunities for academic success and personal development without discrimination or harassment.
The University is committed to the provision of reasonable accommodation for students that experience barriers to their education on the basis of a prohibited ground(s). Prohibited grounds are identified by the Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code (hereafter referred to as the “Code”. The duty to accommodate students who require accommodation under the Code is a legal requirement at all post-secondary institutions.
The institution’s duty to accommodate, up to the point of undue hardship, is legislated by the Code and failure to provide reasonable accommodation under the Code can be considered discriminatory. The process for determining reasonable accommodation is a collaborative process whereby the student and the institution must both engage in the accommodation process.
The University of Saskatchewan is committed to respecting diversity and inclusiveness, and understanding the important and evolving role that accommodations have, based on all prohibited grounds, have on students’ experiences.
The University of Saskatchewan is committed to meeting the duty to accommodate by establishing registration and documentation processes for all prohibited grounds under the Code, while maintaining the bona fide academic requirements and standards of its programs.
The University of Saskatchewan recognizes that reasonable accommodation within services or programs may be required so that all students have equal access to the programs and services offered by the institution. No such adaptations or accommodations will eliminate the need of the student to meet the essential skills or bona fide academic requirements of a program. The University will provide justification for any essential skill or bona fide academic requirement in question.
The request for reasonable accommodation is a collaborative process between the student and the institution. All parties have a responsibility to engage in thoughtful, open minded and respectful dialogue while determining reasonable accommodation. Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated from any party.
Scope of this Policy
This policy applies to all undergraduate, graduate and non-degree students regardless of their full- or part-time status or student type while enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan and applies to academic and non-academic accommodations such as athletics or residence. Implementation is the responsibility of all members of the University community, including students, support staff, faculty, instructional staff, preceptors, supervisors, clinical instructors, cooperating teachers, facilitators, course coordinators, and senior administrators. The University is ultimately responsible for and committed to enforcing the requirements of this policy.
The University of Saskatchewan will take all measures, short of undue hardship, to ensure that students who request accommodation on the basis of a prohibited ground(s) have access and opportunity to succeed in their programs of study. Reasonable academic, non-academic and placement accommodations are fundamental to supporting students, but when provided, these accommodations will not compromise the University’s academic requirements and standards.
Confidentiality of Students’ Personal Information
Confidentiality of all students’ personal information will be respected at all times.
In accordance with the University’s policy respecting the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy and The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, all personal information relating to the accommodation of students who request accommodation on the basis of a prohibited ground(s) is to remain confidential. Information about a student’s accommodation needs will only be shared with those directly responsible for the provision and implementation of the accommodation and as outlined in College specific procedures.
Personal information about a student will not be disclosed to anyone without the express written consent of the student, except when permitted by The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, The Health Information Protection Act or required by law.
Meeting the legal requirements of the duty to accommodate as outlined in the Code is the responsibility of all members of the University community. Details regarding how to meet these responsibilities can be found in the companion procedural document: Duty to Accommodate Procedures
If there are any questions or concerns about an accommodation decision made through the AES process, these should be addressed first to AES staff for informal resolution.
If informal resolution cannot be reached, the Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (VPTLSE) may be asked to review the accommodation decision, provided that the review request is made in a timely manner. The VPTLSE will seek appropriate legal advice from the Legal Office prior to rendering their decision. The decision of the VPTLSE on the review is final.
If you have questions about this policy please contact:
Contact Person: Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (VPTLSE)
Appendix A Definitions:
Access and Equity Services (AES)
Access and Equity Services, formerly Disability Services for Students (DSS), assists students who are experiencing academic barriers on the basis of a prohibited ground(s) under Saskatchewan Human Rights legislation. Access and Equity Services works to ensure that the University of Saskatchewan is meeting the duty to accommodate by aiding in the provision of accommodations up to the point of undue hardship.
Accommodation Planning Committee (APC)
An Accommodation Planning Committee is convened when an academic program involves a clinical or field placement component for which an accommodation based on a prohibited ground(s) has been requested by the student. An APC may also be struck for academic programs that do not require clinical or field placements, such as programs in the College of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies or non-clinical academic components the College of Medicine. Membership of the APC will be comprised of: a representative from AES, a representative from the College of the program the student is enrolled in, the AES student and any other professionals or faculty that are deemed applicable for the particular APC meeting.
Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
Duty to Inquire
When a member of the University community becomes aware that there may be a relationship between a student’s performance and a possible disability or other factor under a prohibited ground(s), the University community has a duty to inquire with the student about this possible need for accommodation.
The duty to inquire may conclude that the duty to accommodate has been triggered. This is determined by the establishment that a barrier is being experienced due to a prohibited ground(s) and interfering with the students’ ability to meet an academic obligation. If the duty to accommodate is triggered, the University will engage in the collaborative process with the student to identify plausible accommodations.
The duty to inquire should be conducted without breaching student confidentiality as much as possible and support from Access and Equity Services should be sought to ensure that privacy requirements are met.Prohibited Ground(s)
As per the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, the following grounds are prohibited against discrimination:
(a) religion; (b) creed; (c) marital status; (d) family status; (e) sex; (f) sexual orientation; (g) disability; (h) age; (i) colour; (j) ancestry; (k) nationality; (l) place of origin; (m) race or perceived race; (n) receipt of public assistance; (o) gender identity;
In accordance with the Code, reasonable accommodation must be provided to students who are requesting accommodation due to a characteristic prohibited under Saskatchewan Human Rights legislation, up to the point of undue hardship. The duty to accommodate is a shared duty, requiring cooperation, engagement, and consultation from both the student and the University.
The University will make efforts to reasonably accommodate a student from a prohibited ground(s) when a barrier impairs the student’s ability to fulfill the essential requirements of a course/program.
The determination of what constitutes a reasonable accommodation may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Factors to be considered include but are not limited to:
- available resources;
- health and safety of the campus environment;
- disruption to the learning environment;
- competing accommodation needs of other students, staff, and faculty;
- precedent established at other post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Consultation with Legal Services and Saskatchewan Human Rights may be undertaken in novel accommodation request situations.
The essential requirements of a course/program are the knowledge and skills which must be acquired or demonstrated in order for a student to successfully meet the learning objectives of the course/program.
In the absence of college-level accommodation documentation that outlines essential skills and requirements, determinations of reasonable accommodations in courses and programs must be made in concert with Access and Equity Services.
A person cannot be presumed incapable of performing the essential requirements of a course/program unless an effort has been made to canvas all reasonable options for accommodation.
In some circumstances, the nature and degree of an accommodation request may mean that no reasonable accommodation would enable an individual to perform the essential requirements of a course/program. Where no reasonable accommodation can be provided, the University may refuse admission or accommodations in order to preserve the academic integrity (meaning the essential requirements) of a course/program. The University should consult with Legal Services before making the determination that no reasonable accommodation can be provided.
For the purpose of this policy, “placement” will refer to any learning experience where the student will be placed outside of the academic classroom for the purpose of learning and assessment. Examples may include clinical rotations and practicum placements.
The Duty to Accommodate
Students requesting accommodation on the basis of a prohibited ground have a shared duty to cooperate with the University in an attempt to find a reasonable – as opposed to a perfect - accommodation plan for their request and to consider other possible options for accommodation.
The accommodation plan is ultimately at the discretion of the University. It is recognized that the failure to provide reasonable accommodation may open the University up to a charge of Discrimination under the Code. For details on the shared duty to accommodate, see section on student responsibility in the Duty to Accommodate procedural document.
Accommodations will be provided up to the point of undue hardship to the University. A number of factors are weighed when assessing whether or not the hardship associated with an accommodation is undue, including:
- the nature of the requested or required accommodation;
- the financial cost of the accommodation;
- the ability of the student receiving the accommodation to meet admission or program requirements;
- the degree to which the accommodation might impact on or interfere with other students or faculty;
- whether health or safety concerns would arise as a result of the accommodation; and
- the reasonableness or cooperativeness of the student seeking accommodation.
These factors are not listed in order of priority. The weight that will be given to these factors or any other relevant considerations will depend on the circumstances.
Questions pertaining to the scope of undue hardship should be brought forward to Access and Equity Services. Please contact the AES office at (306) 966-7273; firstname.lastname@example.org or https://students.usask.ca/health/centres/access-equity-services.php/.
Academic Courses Policy on Class Delivery, Examinations, and Assessment of Student Learning