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Residence & Campus Accessibility

Residence and Campus Accessibility

Campus residences, student buildings, and local transit services all strive to meet the accessibility needs of individuals. In the past years, schools and cities have adopted Universal Design, meaning that new buildings and services are being designed to be accessible from the start, with as few barriers as possible, such as: steps in front of buildings, heavy doors, or narrow hallways. Newer buildings on school campuses will generally have accessibility features built into their design so that all individuals can use the same entrances, washrooms, and seating areas. 

Many older buildings will have been retro-fitted with accessibility features that may be more cumbersome for students to use.  These may include ramps, elevators, or accessible washrooms that are in inconvenient locations or awkward classroom or building layouts. 

Regardless of whether a building was built with Universal Design, or has been retro-fitted with accessible features, colleges and universities work hard to meet the accessibility needs of their students. 

Residence Accessibility

Most residence buildings offer accommodations to students with disabilities or other special needs.  During the residence application process, there is often a Special Needs Form that students can complete and submit with their residence application. Residence accommodations may include:

  • Wheelchair accessible room and bathroom
  • Visual fire alarms
  • Carpet-free rooms
  • Extra-long beds
  • Single rooms
  • Rooms on a quiet floor

Universities and colleges will generally do their best to accommodate for the needs of students with disabilities or other special needs. However, it is important to note that residences are high-density living environments, and it can be difficult to accommodate for all special needs, particularly for students with environmental health concerns.

For specific information about accommodations in residence, students should contact the housing department at their college or university.

Campus Accessibility

Student buildings on campus are required to have accessible entrances, washrooms, and parking available.  Some schools and campuses provide detailed information online about building accessibility or on their campus maps.  Other schools may not have this information available online, and students and visitors will need to contact their school directly for accessibility information.

Depending on their questions and needs, for specific and up-to-date information regarding campus accessibility, students should contact either the main information line or Accessibility Services office at their school. 

Transit Services

Most schools either provide full-time students with a transit pass through fees included in tuition, or allow students to purchase reduced fare transit passes with their student card.  Tuition passes and fares for part-time students vary amongst schools and cities. 

Transit accessibility varies from city to city.  Most larger cities offer accessible buses on most of their regular routes. Those cities that do not are often working towards increased accessibility of their transit system and may offer other options for riders with additional needs.   

Accessible transit features may include:

  • Low floor buses with ramps
  • Automated announcements and visual display of route, destination, or transit stops
  • Priority seating
  • Secured wheelchair and scooter positions
  • Elevators and escalators in transit stations

Most cities also offer para-transport services for riders whose needs are not able to be met by their transit system.  The range of services offered varies greatly between cities, from scheduled to on-demand pick-ups and drop-offs, individual or communal vehicles, and the degree to which the transport driver can aid the rider to and from the vehicle.  Eligibility for para-transport services also varies from city to city and in relation to the accessibility of the regular transit system.