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Post-secondary Accessibility Consulting Team
PACT

PACT Mission:

The Post-secondary Accommodation Consulting Team (PACT) is an information resource for parents, students, educators, administrators and disability service providers in educational settings. PACT strives to prevent, minimize and resolve conflict between students with disabilities seeking accommodation in the post-secondary environment, and those members of staff, faculty or administration responsible for providing accommodation.

Based on principles and ethics of ombudspeople and mediators, the PACT values neutrality, confidentiality, and accessibility in consulting on documentation of disability and accommodation planning, and implements an interest-based, informal dispute resolution process upon request.

Ethical Principles:

Independence
PACT is a project of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, housed and administered by the Regional Assessment and Resource Centre at Queen's University. PACT functions independently from any disability services office, or student or professional interest group.

Neutrality and impartiality
PACT strives to be impartial, and does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest. PACT advocates for fair and equitably administered processes and does not advocate on behalf of any individual within their organization, recognizing the legitimate concerns and interests of all individuals involved.

Confidentiality
PACT holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm or as mandated by law.

Informality
PACT, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to its attention. PACT functions on an informal basis by listening, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, developing a range of responsible options, and where requested and appropriate, engaging in informal third-party intervention. PACT works to help people develop new ways to solve problems themselves.

Accessibility
PACT supports a commitment to accessibility both in terms of easy and prompt access to service by phone, email or appointment, and in terms of physical accessibility of space, activities, information and resources. All PACT material resources are made available in alternate formats. Sign language interpretation is provided for scheduled appointments, and appointments by videophone/relay are welcome.

A note on mediation -

PACT uses principles of mediation as described by Erwin Katz:

"Mediation is a process whereby a neutral and impartial third person acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute without prescribing what it should be. It is an informal and non-adversarial process intended to help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

The role of the mediator is to reduce obstacles to communication, assist in the identification of issues and exploration of alternatives, and otherwise facilitate voluntary agreements resolving the dispute... The ultimate decision-making authority, however, rests solely with the parties.

Mediation is based on concepts of communication, negotiation, facilitation, and problem-solving that emphasize self determination, the needs and interests of the parties, fairness, procedural flexibility, confidentiality; and full disclosure."
Katz (2007)

Bibliography:

International Ombudsman Association (2007) Code of ethics http://www.ombudsassociation.org/standards/Code_Ethics_1-07.pdf Retrieved October 25, 2007

International Ombudsman Association (2007) Standards of practice http://www.ombudsassociation.org/standards/Stds_Practice_1-07.pdf Retrieved October 25, 2007

Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons http://www.uwo.ca/ombuds/accuoeng/frames.htm

Katz, E.I. (2007) Guiding principals of mediation ethics Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association http://www.erwinkatz.com/documents/GPME.htm
Retrieved October 25, 2007


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Mackintosh-Corry Hall, B100
68 University Avenue
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Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-6311
Fax: (613) 533-6564

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