Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Procedure Number: 
001
Policy Number: 
3209
Responsibility: 
Vice-President, Academic
Approved: 
Vice President, Academic
Effective: 
November 22, 2012
Last Amended: 
February 26, 2014
Review: 
February 26, 2016
Procedure Statement: 

Context and Purpose

These procedures set out the process for making and dealing with a request for accommodation under the Justice Institute of British Columbia (“JIBC” or the “Institute”) Accommodation of Students with Disabilities Policy (the “Policy”). The Definitions set out in the Policy apply to these procedures.

Scope

  1. These procedures apply to registered students and persons who have submitted an application to enrol in a course or program at JIBC. 
  2. Certain programs and courses may have practicums, placements or experiential elements that are subject to requirements established by third parties which are outside of the control of JIBC.  Students involved in an approved practicum, placement, or experimental exercise, seeking an exception to such third party requirements must make their request directly with the third party involved.  The Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies and/or the Program Manager (or other relevant faculty member) may be available to the student to provide advice and consultation.

Registering with Disability Services

  1. A student with a disability is not required to disclose their disability to the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies, unless the student wishes to receive accommodation from JIBC.
  2. Students who disclose their disability to other employees of the Institute (e.g., instructor, program manager) are to be referred to the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies.
  3. A student may self-identify as a student with disability to the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies without requesting an accommodation.  Any information provided would be stored on the student’s behalf should they request an accommodation at a future time.
  4. A student who wishes to request accommodation for a disability should make the request by using the following process:
    • Contacting the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies to arrange an initial intake appointment;
    • Providing a signed Student Information Sheet;
    • Providing current, appropriate, and sufficiently detailed documentation in support of the request (see below);
    • Providing a signed Consent for Release and Exchange of Confidential Information form; and
    • Meeting with the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies after the documentation has been evaluated, to discuss and review appropriate accommodation.
  5. To allow sufficient time for assessment of a student’s accommodation request, and for arranging or implementing any required accommodation(s), a request for accommodatn should be made as early as possible, and at least six (6) weeks before the commencement of a course or program for which an accommodation is sought, where possible.
  6. If the accommodation could potentially require significant physical alteration of the campus environment or the acquisition of specialized services not regularly available at the Institute (e.g., sign language interpretation, adaptive technology), the request should be made at least four (4) months before the commencement of a course or program, where possible. Where a disability that requires accommodation arises during the term of a course or program in which the student is already enrolled, a request for accommodation should be made as soon as possible.
  7. Every reasonable effort will be made to respond to an accommodation request even after courses have started.  However, delays in notifying the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies of a request for accommodation could result in a request not being assessed or implemented in time for the course or program and may impact the timely availability of certain supports (e.g., alternative format texts, sign language interpreting). Accommodation cannot be granted retroactively, i.e.; a student cannot request an accommodation for an exam or test that the student completed prior to the disclosure of a disability. 

Documentation to Support a Request for an Accommodation

  1. The student requesting an accommodation is expected to provide appropriate, current and sufficiently detailed documentation to support their request.
  2. The student is responsible for any costs associated with testing and/or providing appropriate medical or other documentation in support of an accommodation request.  Students may request information about federal and provincial financial aid, grants, or other funding, which may be available to offset some of their costs.
  3. Appropriate documentation to support a request for an accommodation generally includes the following:
    • Documentation is current, meaning it has been issued within the last five (5) years or less;
    • Documentation is relevant to the disability and provided by qualified health care professional with appropriate training, experience, expertise and licensing in the area in which they are providing a professional assessment;
    • Documentation covers the nature, severity, prognosis and functional impact of the disability on the student in terms of their ability to complete the Essential Requirements of their course of study at JIBC. It must outline the specific accommodation(s) which are required because of the student’s disability.
    • Documentation may be provided by the health care professional in the form of a report or formal assessment, a written letter on official letterhead, or the student may use the JIBC Medical Form.  The documentation must contain the date(s) on which the assessment was conducted and the name, profession, registration or license number, contact information, or other information to confirm the qualifications of the document provider.
  4. The Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies may request further information from the document provider if needed to determine appropriate accommodation. Consent to the exchange of information between JIBC and the document author will be sought from the student. Refusal to grant consent or provide further information may jeopardize the proper and full assessment of the documentation and its recommendations, up to and including the potential to deny a request for accommodation. 
  5. Medical reports and other documentation supporting a request for accommodation will be treated as strictly confidential, and will only be shared on a need-to-know basis, with the student’s consent.

Implementation of Approved Accommodations

  1. The Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies will make an initial assessment based on the documentation supplied by the student, the student’s request and the nature of the course or program.  Upon completion of the assessment, if it is determined that the request for accommodation is supported, the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies will prepare an individual Accommodation Agreement specifying the recommended accommodations and any other relevant information. If the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies determines that a duty to accommodate does not exist, or where the request for accommodation causes undue hardship for JIBC, he or she will advise the student in writing and provide reasons for this determination.
  2. The Accommodation Agreement(s) will be given to the student, the relevant Program Manager (or other faculty member) and shared with the Instructor, for the purpose of implementation of the approved accommodation.
  3. Students may be expected to inform Instructors or Program Managers of their approved accommodations when the accommodation affects the classroom environment, teaching, or learning resources (e.g., extra time on tests, taping lectures). Where this is not possible or there is a disagreement, the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies may meet with either or both of the student and the Instructor or Program Manager as needed to resolve the concerns.
  4. If a student’s needs or condition change during the course of a program where an accommodation is in place, the student is expected to notify the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies as soon as possible, with appropriate medical documentation. The Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies will then review the information to determine whether the existing accommodation should be modified, discontinued or replaced.

If a Student Disagrees with a Decision Regarding a Requested Accommodation

The following section details an appeal procedure regarding academic accommodation.  If students do not feel comfortable engaging in the appeal process on their own, they are welcome to engage an advocate or support network they deem helpful.  In keeping with our strategic vision and indigenization commitment, aboriginal learners are welcome to engage the support of an elder or a cultural advocate.

  1. Students are encouraged to informally resolve any concerns they may have directly with the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies before proceeding with a formal appeal. 
  2. Students have the ability to appeal the decision of the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies regarding a requested accommodation. If a student is appealing a decision by a third party in relation to a practicum or placement, they must make their appeal directly to the third party.
  3. If a student disagrees with a decision regarding a requested accommodation, they may appeal in writing to the Director of Student Affairs and Registrar (the “Director”) within fifteen (15) business days of the decision. Extensions to the deadline may be granted by the Director at their sole discretion upon written request from the student.
  4. The Director may take the steps he or she considers appropriate to resolve the disagreement, including but not limited to:
    • Meeting with the student to discuss the student’s concerns;
    • Reviewing all files, records, and documents related to the accommodation decision;
    • Consulting with the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies, faculty, or others with information relevant to the appeal; and/or
    • Requesting new documentation or supporting evidence from either party.
  5. After consideration of the evidence, the Director may
    • Confirm the original decision;
    • Modify the original decision including changing approved accommodations or their limitations;
    • Grant a new accommodation;
    • Revoke an accommodation; and/or
    • Take any other steps that the Director considers reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.

If a Faculty, Administrator, or Staff Person Disagrees with a Decision Regarding a Requested Accommodation

  1. If a faculty or staff person disagrees with an accommodation, they should first consult with the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies and attempt an informal resolution.
  2. Confidential student information (e.g., medical information) may only be released with the written consent of the student. The student may deny such consent without penalty.
  3. If the disagreement is not resolved, the faculty or staff member may bring their concern to the attention of both the relevant Academic Dean and the Director of Student Affairs and Registrar (the “Director”) in a timely manner, usually within fifteen (15) business days of first becoming aware of the accommodation or its impact on the academic environment.
  4. The Director and/or Academic Dean may meet with the complainant, the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies, the student, legal counsel, or any other persons with information relevant to the appeal.
  5. If the Academic Dean and the Director agree to a resolution of the concern, they may enact it as they see fit. Where the Academic Dean and Director disagree as to the resolution, the matter is to be brought to the attention of the VP Academic.
  6. The Dean or Director will inform the student of the decision.  If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, they can appeal through the formal process outlined below. 

Formal Appeal Process

  1. The student may appeal the decision of the Dean or Director of Student Affairs and Registrar.
  2. The student may make their appeal in writing to the VP Academic within fifteen (15) business days of the decision. Reasonable requests for extensions, where required due to the student’s medical condition, will be considered on a case-by-case basis upon written request from the student.
  3. The VP Academic will consider the merit of the appeal and if he or she considers that there is sufficient merit to the appeal, will proceed to convene an Appeal Committee consisting of the VP Academic (or designate), a Dean who has not been involved with the particular student, one other administrator who has not been involved in the student file and a Student Representative (or designate).  The VP Academic (or designate) will chair the Appeal Hearing.
  4. The structure, timing, and format of the Appeal Hearing will be determined by the Appeal Committee, in accordance with principles of procedural fairness which include, but are not limited to, giving the student the opportunity to present the appeal in person to the Appeal Committee.
  5. After deliberation, the Appeal Committee may:
    • that the original appeal process was procedurally fair and that no significant new information was provided that would alter the original decision, in which case the original decision stands; or
    • Determine that the original decision-making process was not procedurally fair and/or did not consider all of the relevant information, in which case it may refer the matter back to the Academic Dean and Director for reconsideration, or impose its own determination and resolution to the matter.
  6. The Appeal Committee’s decision is to be communicated in writing to the student by the Chair of the Appeal Committee. The Appeal Committee’s decision is considered final.

Confidentiality

  1. All files and information related to a student’s (or prospective student’s) registration with Disability Services are strictly confidential.
  2. Only the minimum information needed to implement an approved accommodation is shared with faculty or staff under the Consent for Release and Exchange of Confidential Information form for the purposes of arranging accommodation.  If the student chooses to restrict consent to certain individuals or departments, or otherwise constrain or limit the typical exchange of information needed to arrange accommodation, they will be informed of the potential impact such limitations may have on the Institute’s ability to effectively consider a student’s request for accommodation, up to and including the inability to implement an accommodation.
  3. Detailed documentation, or information contained in supporting documentation, including diagnosis, prognoses, or medical history and other information not related to the accommodation are never shared with faculty or third parties without the student’s express consent.  Such requests from staff and faculty are atypical and normally denied by Disability Services and any exception requires justification on the part of the faculty or staff. The student may refuse to consent to such disclosure without penalty, hardship, or academic consequence.
  4. Normally, the student’s written consent is required to release confidential information, including medical information. In certain situations, due to urgency, major inconvenience (e.g., remote campus), or other relevant circumstance, verbal consent may substitute for written consent. Verbal consent must be documented in the student’s disability file and include the specifics of what was consented to.
  5. Consent (written or verbal) can be revoked at any time by the student by making their request in writing to the Manager, Student Advising and Learning Strategies. Where information has already been shared, revoking consent only affects future exchange of information. Students should be informed of the impact of revoking consent on their accommodation, if any.
  6. There are limits to all confidentiality (e.g., risk of imminent serious bodily harm to self or others, disclosure required by law, etc.), and such limits are outlined in the Student Information Sheet.

Record Keeping

  1. All disability files and records are kept separate from educational and other files of the Institute.
  2. Disability and medical information, other than that which is voluntarily disclosed by the student on their application, registration or admissions forms, is not posted or stored on the student information system.
  3. All disability files related to a student are destroyed after seven (7) years of the date of last registration date.
  4. Students have the option to the view the content of their file and make a copy. They may make such requests through the Institute’s Privacy Officer (under FOIPPA). 

Last updated August 6, 2015