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UVic's compliance with the Accessible British Columbia Act

April 24, 2023 (last updated June 2, 2023)

In 2022, the BC Government released the Accessible British Columbia Act, which requires all publicly funded universities to develop, by September 1, 2023:

  • an accessibility committee;
  • an accessibility plan; and
  • a tool (e.g., an online form or email) to receive feedback on accessibility.

This project page provides information on UVic's progress towards implementing the provincial requirements.

Accessibility Committee

As per Accessible BC Act, at least half the institution’s Accessibility Committee members must be people with disabilities or representatives of disability-serving organizations, and include at least one member who identifies as Indigenous. UVic's Accessibility Committee formed in fall 2022 and includes faculty, staff and student representatives. Efforts were made to ensure appropriate and inclusive representation from across campus, as accessibility is all of our responsibilities and ensuring alignment across functional areas is essential.

As the committee’s scope covers all areas of campus, the committee is co-chaired by the Deputy Provost (in the Vice-President Academic and Provost portfolio) and the Executive Director, Facilities Management (in the Vice-President Finance and Operations portfolio) with representation from the following areas and groups:

  • Deputy Provost - VPAC (co-chair)
  • Executive Director, Facilities Management - VPFO (co-chair)
  • Equity and Human Rights
  • Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation
  • Office of the Vice-President Indigenous
  • UVic Libraries
  • Human Resources
  • University Systems
  • Centre for Accessible Learning
  • Faculty Association
  • PEA
  • CUPE
  • Undergraduate Student Society (UVSS)
  • Graduate Student Society (GSS)
  • Society for Students with a Disability
  • Three additional students: undergraduate, graduate and non-degree

The Accessibility Committee provides a forum for consultation and collaboration on UVic initiatives relative to improving accessibility for persons with disabilities, both visible and invisible. Compliance with the Accessible BC Act is a foundational focus for the Accessibility Committee and, where possible, members consider inclusive practices that extend beyond a state of Act compliance.

Accessibility Plan development

While the BC Government is not prescriptive about who should lead the development and oversight of the Accessibility Plan, it recommends a project sponsor from senior leadership who understands the sense of urgency and gravity required.

The Vice-President Academic and Provost and Vice-President Finance and Operations are co-sponsors of the plan, with Executive Council to approve the plan. UVic has chosen to maximize the involvement of the Accessibility Committee early in the plan’s development, and to align this work as a positive and meaningful complement to our existing plans and values, particularly our Equity Action Plan.

Principles and resources

As per Accessible BC Act, the plan will describe to the public UVic’s efforts to identify barriers to accessibility and how we plan to reduce and remove those barriers. As per the Act, the plan must incorporate principles of:

  • Inclusion
  • Adaptability
  • Diversity
  • Collaboration
  • Self-determination
  • Universal design

The plan will also reflect UVic’s values, principles and aspirations as outlined in our Strategic Plan, Equity Action Plan and Indigenous Plan. Other internal resources include Aspiration 2030, our Campus Plan, Policy AC1205, Policy on Human Rights, Equity and Fairness (GV0200), and collective agreements with employee groups. External resources include the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights, the Accessible Canada Act, and the BC Human Rights Code.

Project timeline and consultations

Initial consultations have been conducted from November 2022 to April 2023 through a combination of meetings, emails and online surveys with leaders, experts, staff and students. We are also engaging Senate and the Board of Governors on academic governance and institutional accountability aspects.

The draft plan, including draft priorities and areas of focus for the next three years, is available to the campus community as an accessible web page as of June 2, 2023. All members of the campus community are invited to review the draft plan and provide feedback by July 16, 2023 for consideration before launch.

The finalized plan and feedback mechanism will be posted online by September 1, 2023, which is the deadline set by the BC Government.

Both the committee and the plan will evolve over time and be more responsive to the accessibility needs of everyone. UVic commits to reviewing the plan at least once every three years. As this is an iterative plan, feedback will be welcomed at any time, including after the initial July 16 deadline.