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Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team
PACT

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can access the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT)?

What kinds of questions can I ask the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT)?

How will my question be handled?

Will the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT) render a "second opinion" on accommodations recommended by the disability services office?

Is advice given by PACT binding?

How does PACT handle confidential questions?

If my student/service provider calls for information or help, and gives their consent to contact me, will PACT be telling me what to do?

What happens if the student seeks a consultation with the PACT and there is disagreement with the disability service office?

What if both parties to an accommodation dispute contact PACT independently? How will PACT respond?

How much will PACT get involved with a caller's situation?

Will my institution or I be identified in any of PACT's records or reports?

Is there any cost involved in accessing the resources or services of PACT?

Who are the staff and consulting members of PACT?
Who will I talk to if I call?

Who will review documentation and accommodation requests?

Do I need to get the student's consent to share their documentation with PACT?

Will PACT address questions regarding the Bursary for Students With Disabilities (BSWD)?

What kind of assistance can PACT provide to Equity and Ombuds offices?


Who can access the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT)?

PACT is available for consultation with service providers, students, parents, faculty, and administration as well as being a resource for equity and ombuds offices.

What kinds of questions can I ask the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT)?

PACT will address a wide range of questions - documentation clarification, accommodation ideas, strategies for problem-solving, help sorting out issues/priorities, brainstorming, rights and responsibilities, and researching systemic questions that would be of interest to more than one institution or group.

How will my question be handled?

PACT responds to all questions and inquiries confidentially, individually, without taking sides, promoting communication and problem-solving by the people involved in the question.

Replies may be provided by written correspondence, phone consultation, teleconference, or meeting in person. Some examples include:
Documentation review - correspondence, phone call, memo
Accommodation strategies - phone call, conference call
File review - correspondence, phone call
Problem-solving - phone consultation
Mediation/facilitation - face-to-face meeting/visit
Rights/responsibilities - telephone, correspondence

Will the Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team (PACT) render a "second opinion" on accommodations recommended by the disability services office?

PACT aims to facilitate locally-generated and mutually-agreeable solutions to accommodation questions. Perspectives on common practices in accommodation planning, typical strategies and approaches, and suggestions for problem-solving are offered. "Second opinions" on specific accommodation requests are only provided at the request and with the consent of both parties.

Is advice given by PACT binding?

No. The purpose is to facilitate problem-solving, not to dispense advice or solutions. Strategies discussed with the PACT may or may not be implemented, and serve as suggestions only. Primary recommendations will pertain to how to move the accommodation process forward to a solution that is mutually agreeable to the parties involved.

Information provided by PACT is not intended as legal or medical advice, and is not binding, except to the extent that the parties to a mediation process agree to follow the terms of settlement.

How does PACT handle confidential questions?

Inquiries are kept completely confidential, between the caller and PACT staff. In order to be most helpful, it is often necessary to learn about the different perspectives in a situation, but further information is only pursued with the knowledge and consent of the caller.

If my student/service provider calls for information or help, and gives their consent to contact me, will PACT be telling me what to do?

PACT works to keep people talking and negotiating toward a mutually agreeable solution. Sometimes frustration, misunderstanding, fear or lack of information can stall effective problem-solving. PACT tries to clarify issues, or offer information and strategies that might help people keep communicating toward an effective resolution.

Information specific to each conversation will be kept confidential and not shared, unless it is agreed by the parties involved that this would be helpful. Callers retain control of their information.

What happens if the student seeks a consultation with the PACT and there is disagreement with the disability service office?

Consultations are aimed at helping identify issues, questions, points to clarify, and students will be helped to return to the disability service office to work out a mutually agreeable solution, with more information or better understanding of the issues or a different question to explore. The disability service office may be consulted or invited to participate in the dialogue, with the student's consent, if further information or conversation might be helpful.

What if both parties to an accommodation dispute contact PACT independently? How will PACT respond?

The same basic process is used to explore inquiries, no matter who the caller is. Sorting out the issues and concerns, determining what has already been done or suggested, and roadblocks to progress are identified, and strategies for moving forward are explored. In the event that PACT could help by speaking with both parties, that will be suggested independently to both parties as one option. Information disclosed by one party is never shared without that person's consent.

How much will PACT get involved with a caller's situation?

PACT will only become as involved as a caller wishes. Resources, referrals, and assistance with specialized information are readily provided.

If a caller wants to discuss a situation and explore issues and options in confidence, with no additional follow-up, that is all PACT will do.

As well, if a caller would like a PACT member to meet in person to work out accommodation strategies with a student, service provider, faculty or administrator, that can arranged with mutual consent of the parties involved.

Review of documentation of disability can be arranged, for the purposes of explaining technical language, consideration of recommendations relative to the identified disability, and suggestions of alternative approaches. The student's consent is required for review of confidential medical or psychological information.

Will my institution or I be identified in any of PACT's records or reports?

PACT does not disclose the identity of individuals or institutions that consult PACT. PACT keeps confidential notes and tracks inquiries for two purposes:
1) for ready and accurate recall of pertinent information while dealing with an issue and when following up, and
2) to track numbers and types of issues brought to PACT annually, for planning and development purposes to ensure that PACT continues to meet the actual needs of its client groups.

This information is only released in aggregate and anonymous form, in an annual report to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, much as disability offices report the number of students and types of disabilities served. No individual person or institution is identified.

Is there any cost involved in accessing the resources or services of PACT?

PACT services are free of charge for the first year of the pilot project (2007-2008). A fee structure will be considered at the end of the pilot project, depending on types of costs incurred in providing services requested.

Who are the staff and consulting members of PACT?
Who will I talk to if I call?

For the first year of the pilot project, Barbara Roberts is the consultant with PACT. Barbara has a degree in psychology with an emphasis in reading, and is trained and experienced as an occupational therapist, with extensive background in learning disabilities, psychiatric illness, physical and sensory impairment and over 17 years of experience with accommodation planning and implementation in both academic and employment settings. Barbara is currently a doctoral candidate in education, examining the determination of essential requirements criteria in professional education, and is trained as a mediator.

It is hoped that after the pilot year of the project, additional consultants with training in accommodation planning and mediation will join PACT, throughout the various regions across Ontario.

Who will review documentation and accommodation requests?

PACT will be building a team of experienced accommodation experts, psychologists, and medical and psychiatric practitioners to review documentation of disability and related requests for accommodation when required. The team will develop over time. Currently, members of the RARC Mobile Assessment Team who have been oriented to the ETS review system will be asked to review learning disability, ADHD and brain injury documentation.

Do I need to get the student's consent to share their documentation with PACT?

Consent to release information must be obtained from the student; refer to your own institutional and professional guidelines regarding release of information. Consent is not required to discuss a case anonymously and confidentially.

Will PACT address questions regarding the Bursary for Students With Disabilities (BSWD)?

Eligibility for the BSWD starts with eligibility for OSAP, or CSL. When a student's eligibility for one of these loan programs has been confirmed, questions of qualification for BSWD usually lie with the local disability service office, based on criteria set out by the Student Support Branch of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. However, if a bursary request is in dispute and assistance is desired, PACT would explore the situation with the caller, and if desired could help find a mutually agreeable solution through a mediation process or locate a mediator in the area to assist the parties.

What kind of assistance can PACT provide to Equity and Ombuds offices?

Experience and information specific to the accommodation of disability in the post-secondary sector is the focus of PACT's services, so in situations where additional insight or perspective is needed on these issues, PACT strives to supplement the expertise resident in Equity and Ombuds offices. Participation of people with disabilities in a comprehensive academic experience is the point, and collaboration with resident experts in their institutions can facilitate that goal.


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Phone: (613) 533-6311
Fax: (613) 533-6564

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