Provision of University Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities

Policy Category: 
Approved By: 
Priorities and Planning Group
Effective Date: 
January 5, 2010 [Revised 31 October 2012]


1.  Our Mission Statement

Lakehead University, as a comprehensive university, is committed to excellence and innovation in undergraduate and graduate teaching, service, research and other scholarly activity. As part of this commitment, Lakehead University is dedicated to a student-centered learning environment. Lakehead University values its people and the diversity of their ideas, contributions and achievements. Lakehead University is dedicated to working with Aboriginal peoples in furthering their educational aspirations. Building on its accomplishments and partnerships and recognizing its role in Northwestern Ontario and Central Ontario, Lakehead University reaches out regionally, nationally and internationally.

Lakehead University is committed to educating students who will be recognized for leadership and independent critical thinking and who are aware of social and environmental responsibilities.

2.  Our Commitment

In fulfilling our mission, Lakehead University strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to providing people with disabilities the same opportunity to access the University's goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in a similar way as others unless alternate measures are necessary, whether temporarily or on a more long-term basis. Moreover, Lakehead University is committed to meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner.

Lakehead University is committed to meeting its obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the associated Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) as well as the Integrated Accessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation 191/11).

3.  Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all employees, volunteers and contractors who provide goods and services on behalf of the University.

4.  Exceptions to Policy


5.  Related Documents and Cross-References

Lakehead University – Accessibility @ Lakehead University

Lakehead University – Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Lakehead University – Procedures Associated with Policy on Academic Accommodations for                                                           Students with Disabilities

Lakehead University – Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)

Accessibility Standard for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07

Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA)

Ontario Human Rights Code


Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities

Lakehead University is committed to excellence in serving all individuals, including people with disabilities and we will carry out our responsibilities and functions in the following areas:

6.  Communication

Communication occurs in a variety of ways: in person, by phone, in writing and online.  Lakehead University will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that will take into account their disability.

In order to achieve this goal, all those who work with the public, including University staff, volunteers and third parties, will be trained on how to effectively interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

7.  Use of Assistive Devices

Persons with disabilities are welcome to use personal assistive devices to access goods or services offered by Lakehead University with a few exceptions, for example: devices that have an audible output cannot be used in ‘silent’ study areas, and some devices may be restricted when there are other policy considerations such as operator safety, privacy or conflict of interest issues.

An assistive device is any device that is used, designed, made or adapted to assist a person in performing a particular task.  Assistive devices enable persons with disabilities to do everyday tasks such as moving, communicating, reading or lifting.

Examples of assistive devices include, but are not limited to:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Canes
  • Walkers
  • Assistive listening devices (FM systems)
  • Laptops with screen-reading software or communicating capabilities
  • Smart phones or tablets (i.e. wireless handheld devices)
  • Hearing aids
  • Global positioning system (GPS) devices
  • Digital audio players
  • Teletypewriters (TTY)
  • Portable oxygen tanks
  • Personal digital assistants
  • Communication devices, such as voice-output systems or pictures/symbols

For a list of assistive devices which may be available, please contact the University's Student Accessibility Services or check the website at

8.  Use of Service Animals

A service animal is defined by the Regulation as an "animal for a person with a disability" if a) it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or b) the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.  The animal may wear specialized equipment such as a backpack, harness, or special collar, but this is not a legal requirement.

Lakehead University is committed to welcoming persons with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of its premises that are open to the public and other third parties.  These areas include:  classrooms, lecture and examination halls, libraries, campus restaurants, bars and eating areas. 

Partners of service animals will be permitted to keep the animal with them except where excluded by law. In such cases, the University will look to alternate available measures to enable the person to obtain, use or benefit from the University's goods and services.  


A service animal may be excluded when any one of the four following conditions exists:

1.  The service animal is disruptive and the partner is not effectively controlling the animal (once the animal's behaviour is under control, the partner must be allowed to participate in the activity once again);

2.  The presence of the service animal would fundamentally change the nature of the job, program, service or activity;

3.  The service animal's presence, behaviour or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property or the health or safety of others.  Risk may not be remote or speculative; such as thinking an animal might bite or would annoy others.  Allergies or a fear of animals are generally not sufficient grounds to exclude a service animal.  In rare cases, however, another person's allergy or phobia may be so severe that the presence of the service animal prevents participation.  In those situations, the affected person may also request an accommodation, such as keeping the service animal and the affected person separate as much as possible.   In such situations, another reasonable accommodation must be provided so as to allow the partner of the service animal to participate in an activity or receive services without the service animal being present.

4.  When another law specifically states that animals must be excluded or the animal is excluded by operation of another law.  (Example:  Ontario Regulation 562 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act states that animals are not allowed in places where food is manufactured, prepared, processed, handled, service, displayed, stored, sold or offered for sale.)   

Staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public will be properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.

9.  Use of Support Persons

Lakehead University is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person may access University owned or operated premises that are open to the public or other third parties.  At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on University premises.

Where a University department or area charges an admission or participant fee, the department or area will ensure that notice is given in advance about the amount, if any, payable in respect of the support person.

The University may require a person with a disability to be accompanied by a support person when on University premises, but only if a support person is required to protect the health and safety of the person with the disability or the health and safety of others on University premises.  

10.                Notice of Temporary Disruption

When there is a disruption to facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities – whether planned or unplanned - the University, through the responsible department, will conspicuously post a "Notice of Temporary Disruption" which shall include: 

  • The reason for the disruption; e.g. scheduled maintenance of an elevator
  • The anticipated duration of the disruption or the date of anticipated resumption of service
  • Information identifying alternative facilities or services, if any, that may be available

These service disruptions include, but are not limited to:  elevators, building access, and obstruction to pathways. 

Where temporary disruptions of service can be planned in advance, the University will make its best efforts, using an appropriate combination of communication methods, to reach those individuals with disabilities likely to be negatively affected by a planned and/or unplanned disruption.  Methods of communication may include:

  • Communications Bulletin
  • Conspicuously posted "Notice of Temporary Disruption" signs (accompanied by the information above)
  • Website
  • Electronic bulletin boards
  • Targeted outreach through Student Accessibility Services

A template form for "Notice of Temporary Disruption" is available on the website.

11.                Customer Service Training for Staff

Lakehead University will provide training to all employees, volunteers, and other people who may reasonably be expected to interact with the public or other third parties on behalf of the University; and those who develop and approve policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods and services to members of the public or other third parties.

Training will include a review of the purposes of the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the requirements of the associated Standards and, as appropriate to the role, will include instruction on the following:

  • How to interact and communicate with persons with various types of disabilities.
  • How to interact with persons with disabilities who use an assistive device or are accompanied by a service animal or support person
  • How to use the equipment and/or assistive devices available on the University premises or otherwise provided by the University
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing University goods or services

Training may be offered in a variety of formats including on-line training modules, handouts or fact sheets at orientation sessions, in a classroom setting, or some other format.

Training modules will be made available to all applicable University employees, volunteers and third parties. New employees to the University will be required to complete the training at the time of orientation. Volunteers will be required to complete training during orientation and before they are to begin their duties.

Records of training will be kept in the University's Human Resources department.

12.                Feedback Process

The University's ultimate goal is to see that students with disabilities successfully complete their university education and that their accomplishment in doing so is made more memorable because of faculty and staff's dedication to promoting a supportive, inclusive and barrier free environment.  It is also the goal of the University that its faculty, staff and volunteers with disabilities also experience the same type of environment in which to work and contribute to the University's mission and goals.

The ultimate goal of Lakehead University is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving persons with disabilities. Comments on the University's services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcomed and appreciated.

Feedback regarding the way the University provides goods and services to people with disabilities may be provided by email, by telephone, in writing, or verbally.  The University will endeavour to communicate its actions to rectify verifiable standard gaps in its services, programs and facilities upon receipt of written complaints.

For students of the University: feedback, suggestions or concerns can be directed to:

Vice-Provost (Student Affairs)

University Centre, UC 1002

Lakehead University

955 Oliver Road

Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1




For non-students (faculty, staff, volunteers, members of the public): feedback, suggestions or concerns can be directed to:


            Human Resources Officer, Health & Safety

            University Centre, UC0003F

            Lakehead University

            955 Oliver Road

            Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1


Normally, individuals can expect a response back to the feedback within three business days. Some feedback, however, may require more effort to address and may need to be reviewed before an action can be taken or a response provided. Any complaints received will be addressed through the normal channels already established by the University.

13.                Availability and Format of Documents (Alternative Formats)

All policies, practices and procedures required under the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service are available upon request, subject to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act ("FIPPA").  This includes this policy document (“Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities") containing information on communication, the use of assistive devices, the use of support persons, the use of service animals, notices of temporary disruptions, information on customer service training, and information on a feedback process to receive and respond to comments about the University's services to persons with disabilities. 

Notice of the availability of documents required by the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service will be posted on the University’s Accessibility webpage.  

When providing any documents to a person with a disability, the University will provide the document, or the information contained in the document, in a timely fashion and in a format that takes the person's disability into account.

 14.                Review Process for the Policy

The policy will be reviewed every five years through the Office of the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs).  Under the following circumstances, the policy will be reviewed before the five-year term:

  • Changes in legislation that affect the policy
  • A specific incident that triggers a review of the policy

 15.                Questions about this policy

This policy exists in order for Lakehead University to achieve excellence in service to persons with disabilities when accessing the goods and services we provide. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, please refer the question to Lakehead University's Accessibility Committee via the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) or the Office of Human Resources.