Accommodation Definition and Types

Accommodation Definition & Types - Accessibility Services

Learn about accommodations and the different types of accommodations Accessibility Services can serve you.

Accommodations Explained

Academic and Residence accommodations are supports and services that allow students with disabilities to participate in their academic environment by minimizing or removing identified barriers. Accessibility Services works with students collaboratively to evaluate the limitations of their disability and determine appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to post-secondary education. 

We adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Commission's (OHRC) principles of accommodation in developing and implementing appropriate supports for students. All accommodations are individualized to the student's unique needs while respecting their dignity to fully integrate and participate in their learning.

With accommodations, students with disabilities are expected to complete the same institutional and program requirements as other students. Accommodations do not give students an advantage over other students or alter the academic rigour of the course, program and/or institution -  to the contrary, it levels the playing field so students with disabilities can become successful.


We provide accommodations to students who have permanent, temporary, and interim disabilities:

Permanent Accommodations
Services and supports provided to students with permanent disabilities. The Canadian Student Loan program defines permanent disability as "a functional limitation caused by a physical or mental impairment that restricts the ability" of a student "to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in students at a post-secondary level of the labour force and is expected to remain with a student for his/her expected life" (DD.Gov. of Canada, Section 4.5, 2003).
Temporary Accommodations
Services and supports available for a period of time, as established by the anticipated duration of the disability.
Interim Accommodations
Supports and services provided to students who are in the process of being assessed for a disability. These accommodation requests are evaluated individually and students must contact Accessibility Services as early as possible. Interim accommodations are limited and may change depending on the medical assessment.

Key Information

  • New students must register with Accessibility Services at the beginning of the school year, or as early as possible, to access any accommodations.
  • Current students must renew their plan each semester to use approved accommodations.

Accommodation Types

Classroom Accommodations

These are accommodations that enable students with disabilities to access instructional material in the classroom. It includes accommodations such as the use of a note-taker, access to professor's notes/slides, use of a lecture recorder, sign language interpreter, FM systems, etc.

Use of Recorder

  • In Person: Student brings with them.
  • Online: Can be done from home with permission via the recording form or through posted lectures on Moodle.

Volunteer Note-Taker

  • Coordinated by Accessibility Services
  • In Person/Online: Contact Accessibility Services via email to coordinate.

Access to Professor's Notes/Slides (If Available)

In Person/Online: Student can contact Professor directly if material is not already posted on Moodle.

Occasional Missed Classes Without Penalty

  • Absences may be a legitimate result of a disability. For classes missed beyond the approved accommodation, the institution-wide attendance policy will apply.
  • In Person/Online: Student will need to discuss missed material with Professor.

Allow Frequent Breaks

In Person: Student can take breaks as needed but must be mindful of not disrupting lectures/group discussions.

Test and Exam Accommodations

These accommodations enable students with disabilities to demonstrate their learning equally as the rest of their classmates. Common accommodations include the use of a separate or private space, extra time, and use of a computer, amongst many others accommodations.

Extra Time

  • In Person: Written in the Test Centre – contact Accessibility Services at least one week before the test or exam date.
  • Online: Added on Moodle – contact your professor at least one week before the test or exam date.

Use of Computer Applications

  • Microsoft Word, Read&Write (Screen reader, text-to-speech and speech-to-text), ZoomText, Dragon Natural Speaking.
  • In Person: Written Test Centre – contact Accessibility Services at least one week before the test or exam date.
  • Online: On student’s computer.

Exams Not To Be Written On Consecutive Days

  • One exam per day
  • Specific start time for exam
  • In Person/Online: Contact Accessibility Services at least one week before the exam date.
  • Final exam deadlines will be earlier – contact Accessibility Services for more information.

Allow The Use of Earplugs, The Use of Headphones With White Noise on MP3

In Person: Provided by the student.

Use of a Memory Aid

In Person/Online: Student must email aid to professor one week before the test or exam and request approval for the memory aid. The memory aid must be attached to that email.

Assignment Accommodations

Students with disabilities may require accommodations in order to complete assignments and projects. These may include approved extensions, managing the workflow of larger assignments amongst other supports.

Extensions on Assignments/Flexible Deadlines

Assignments can only be extended for up to a maximum of 2-weeks from the original due date. All extensions are negotiated and approved by the professor no later than 7 days in advance of the original due date.

In Person/Online: Students must contact the Professor via email at least one week before the original deadline and request the extension.

Environmental Accommodations

These accommodation allow students with disabilities to participate in their academic environment. Accommodations may consist of the use of a service animal, a designated seat, residence accommodations, etc.

All approved accommodations are stated on the student's Letter of Accommodation (LoA) - this serves as a formal document and will be sent as an email to students' professors on their behalf. These letters are confidential and will not include any disability related information. They are communicated only to those who are working directly with the student, given their consent.

Other Accommodations

Textbooks in Alternate Format

In Person/Online: Contact Accessibility Services with the textbook list (Book title and ISBN number) and provide a copy of the purchase receipt (proof of purchase).