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Disability Employment Awareness Month 2023

As a part of the university’s core values to foster inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA), we proudly celebrate our first Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) at Ontario Tech University. DEAM takes place nationwide every October to promote and celebrate the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and to recognize all individuals who live with a disability, whether visible or invisible.

During DEAM, all faculty are asked to complete a refresher on the Accessible Instruction for Educators module that has been recently updated. Below you will find links to the updated module as well as policies and procedures, and resources available within our university community. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments by using the Accessibility Feedback Form or contacting

  • Mandatory Training for Faculty Members

    Updated Accessible Instruction Training for Educators

    Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (IASR), all Ontario Tech University faculty members MUST complete the university’s updated mandatory accessibility training modules available on the Canvas Learning Management System.

    This training reinforces an understanding of accessible instruction, using proven learning principles and practical strategies. The training aligns with the Ontario Government's implementation of the AODA. Explore the crucial components of accessible instruction and the tools necessary to create inclusive learning environments.

    The University is committed to cultivating a workplace and learning community that prioritizes reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion and provides services, supports and spaces that are accessible for persons of all abilities.

    On or before October 31, 2023:

    • All faculty members (including Full-Time, Limited-Term Teaching Faculty, Sessional Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Postdoctoral Fellows) must complete the Accessible (AODA) Instruction Training for Educators modules.
    • Deans and supervisors must reinforce this message and ensure all current faculty have completed the updated mandatory training on or before October 31, 2023. All faculty hired on a go-forward must complete the training within their first four weeks of hire. 
    • Completion of the modules will be tracked and recorded in Canvas.
    • Tips for successful completion of the training - Tip Sheet Word and PDF Format.


As we celebrate and bring awareness to Disability Employment Awareness Month at Ontario Tech here are some fun activities you can participate in throughout the month of October.

  • Spot the Difference Activity

    It’s Disability Employment Awareness Month and we want to shine a spotlight on the importance of continuous accessibility and inclusivity in the workplace. We thought we’d play 'Spot the Difference' to highlight the features that make a space accessible and the barriers that can impact employment opportunities. Every change in accessibility matters because it directly affects the employment prospects of individuals with disabilities. Join us in fostering a more inclusive world!

    On October 2nd, we posted the following Spot the Difference activity on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Image Description: Photo 1 - In a dimly lit room, three people are around a table. One person is using a wheelchair and cannot pull up fully to the table. There are cords across the floor without a safety guard on top of them and the outlet box in the floor wide open. There is a chair partially blocking the doorway and a garbage can placed against the power-assisted door button. A bag is partially blocking the screen and plugs, and a flower is placed on the table, obstructing the view for people around it.

    Image Description: Photo 2 - Three people are seated around a table in a brightly lit room. The table legs have been moved around so the person in a wheelchair can be comfortably seated. The doors, screens and power-assisted door button are all free from obstructions and the people around the table can see each other easily. The cords on the floor are closer to the table and not creating a barrier for anyone around them.

    Here are the differences between the first photo and why the second photo supports accessibility:

    1. The doorway entrance is not obstructed. Clearances are required at entrances to allow adequate maneuverability for persons with mobility aids.
    2. Accessible push button not obstructed.
    3. Interview panelists are seated in positions that allow for unobstructed and engaging dialogue. 
    4. Wheelchair is positioned close to table and legs of table are not causing an obstruction. The candidate is in a comfortable position and is better able to be an active and engaged participant.
    5. The extra chair available and near the table has wheels and can be easily relocated if necessary and if/when a support person is present.
    6. Lighting is adequate as opposed to having some lights not on at all and/or dim.
    7. The power outlet under the wall monitor is not covered and is accessible to those wishing to use the outlet or seek assistance in using. There is an adequate amount of space between the wall monitor and the table if someone should wish to access the wall outlet.
    8. The power outlet on the floor is away from the seating area and does not present a trip hazard.
    9. Flowers are not present on the table and this eliminates an obstruction between candidate and interview panel as well as the potential of causing an issue for someone with a scent sensitivity.
    10. There is a clear path to the table from the entrance door and a mobility aid can easily approach the table and be positioned so that candidate can fully participate. 

    Special thanks to Deanna Young, Keeshia Barksdale, Darren Grant, Marie Harvey & Hannah Walker.

  • October 3 - CNIB Come to Work Program

    Phone it Forward Program

    Canadians with sight loss have an unemployment rate that is three times the national average. Recent studies show that only 28 percent of Canadians with sight loss have full-time jobs. High unemployment rates make it very difficult for Canadians with sight loss to afford and access a smartphone.

    Ontario Tech is proud to participate in the CNIB Foundation program, Phone it Forward.

    Come to Work Program

    Ontario Tech University supports the CNIB Come to Work program which aims to introduce employers to an innovative Talent Pool of individuals with sight loss. The next networking session is scheduled for October 3rd and members of Human Resources as well as  Diversity, Inclusivity and Belonging teams will be in attendance and look forward to:

    • Seeking out Talent across Canada
    • Having a discussion, facilitated by CNIB, with the Talent
    • Allowing the Talent to participate and engage
    • Speaking to the Talent about Ontario Tech University, sharing professional experiences, and discussing the attributes and skills desired in an employee.

    Please click the link and complete the form - Come to Work Oct 2023 Partner Registration

  • Phone it Forward – Donate today!

    Phone It Forward Program

    Phone it Forward is a new CNIB Foundation program that provides smartphones to Canadians with sight loss. Donations of modern smartphones are used to fuel this transformational program.

    Canadians with sight loss have an unemployment rate that is three times the national average. Recent studies show that only 28% of Canadians with sight loss have a full-time job. High unemployment rates make it very difficult for Canadians with sight loss to afford and access a smartphone.

    Since November 2022, approximately 20 phones have been donated by members from the University community.

    Please visit the Phone It Forward website for further details.

    Lisa Pritchard and Rebecca Regehr are employees who are both displaying phones that have been donated through the Phone It Forward Program. 

    Location: Circulation Desk at the Ontario Tech University's North Library   


  • October 19 - Show Your Purple and Blue Colours

    As we proudly celebrate our first Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) at Ontario Tech University, let’s show our support and strengthen awareness by wearing purple and blue on October 19. 

    How did the DEAM initiative begin? Originally started from an initiative called Light It Up! For NDEAM in 2020 by the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). Light It Up! For National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) became nationwide in 2021, showcased through many buildings, landmarks and signs. If organizations were unable to participate by lighting a building, individuals would wear purple and blue. 

    Why purple and blue? Purple symbolizes creativity, harmony and cooperation. Many organizations have a common goal of increasing employment opportunities for people who have a disability, with the spirit of cooperation in mind. Blue represents trust, dignity, authority, professionalism, intelligence and loyalty. Blue is a colour used by many businesses for their corporate identities and speaks to business. 

    We ask that individuals who would like to participate in a group photo shoot on October 19, with purple and blue gear meet us at the Shawenjigewining Hall Building, Tribute Communities Lobby at 1 p.m. If you are unable to meet us but would like to still participate, please feel free to take a photo and send it to inbox. 

    • Who: All individuals can participate
    • What: Wear purple and blue in support of DEAM
    • When: October 19, 2023 at 1 pm
    • Where: Shawenjigewining Hall Building - Tribute Communities Lobby
  • Representation through Media & Art

    Awareness and conversations to encourage an environment for individuals with disabilities in the workplace will always continue outside the month of October. We should never forget to integrate accessibility when creating or starting any project, course, event, document, etc. As members of the university, we will always keep the university’s core values of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) in all our work. 

    Outside work and school, we appreciate the representation of accessibility and disability through media and art. Books, articles, movies, podcasts and more, there are amazing content and resources that discuss the topic of accessibility and disability. Our Ontario Tech Campus Library team has put together some of our accessibility and disability content and resources into collections linked below which you can add to your watch, listen or read list. We encourage you to visit our Campus Library to see all the resources we have. Enjoy!

    Special thank you to Catherine Davidson, Chelsie Lalonde & Cathie Griffin.

  • DEAM Bulletin

Ontario Tech Accessibility Resources