Recent Initiatives

Below is a a summary of recent activities and initiatives Dalhousie has undertaken to remove barriers from across the university community (as work continues to progress daily, this may not be a comprehensive list).

Our People

  1. Updated Employee Accommodation Policy under Accessible Employment
  2. Dedicated Accessible Employment Unit within Human Resources and the creation of a dedicated Accessible Advisor position
  3. Formation of the Disability Staff and Faculty Caucus
  4. Changes to degree structure to facilitate part time study
  5. Assistive Technology Lending Library for students
  6. Partnerships with fieldwork and co-op coordinators to ensure accommodation in the field
  7. Security Services, Accessible Employment and the Student Accessibility Centre developed an application process for accessible parking permits for students, staff and faculty. 
  8. Enhancement of Mental Health treatment benefits
  9. Increased Awareness of the Employee and Family Assistance Program 
  10. Educational sessions involving departments regarding the duty to Accommodate, Accessibility principles and the role of the Accessible Employment unit
  11. Introduction of alternate formats to communicate with employees with Accessibility needs (for example, in-person, by phone, virtual follow ups with close captions, emails, and interpreters).
  12. Newly developed remote/flexible work policy
  13. Introduction of additional questions in our “Be Counted” Survey that relates to Equity, Disability, Inclusivity and Accessibility
  14. Introduction of Accessibility door and doorbell for people with hearing impairments for Human Resources main office, located on the 2nd floor of the Henry Hicks (room 150). 
  15. Partnership with the School of OT to provide ergonomic services during the winter semester each year
  16. Creation of a fund of money in Accessible Employment to help offset treatment or assessment costs for employees in extenuating circumstances including functional assessments, IMEs, cognitive assessments, workplace referrals, and diagnostic testing.  
  17. Creation of an EHIT committee (employee health integration team) within the HR team to help bring benefits, Employee Health and Wellness, Accessible Employment, Employee Relations together once a month to discuss initiatives 
  18. Creation of a Healthy Workplace Committee for the purpose of promoting and encouraging employee health and wellness across the institution. 
  19. Creation of a website focused on employee health and wellness as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic – highlighting internal and external services focused on assisting people through the pandemic.


  1. Completed parking lot and accessibility audit
  2. Review of active transportation corridors highlighting deficiencies for future municipal and campus projects

Built Environment

  1. Installed green building signage that speaks to all of the green building features and follows accessibility standards including Braille, colour, height and text considerations.
  2. Installed Braille Signage in Risley Hall, including the cafeteria, a laundry room and kitchenette, and key destination wall signage.
  3. The first in Atlantic Canada, Dalhousie’s Collaborative Health Education Building was awarded the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification Rating in November 2018, exemplifying the commitment to accessible building design. 
  4. Facilities Management has a Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified, Accessibility Planning Specialist on their team who provides support and recommendations at various schematic, design, and implementation phases of projects to identify where accessibility features can be improved. This implemented process supports the prevention of barriers.
  5. Where feasible Facilities Management implements a higher standard of accessibility including CSA B651 Accessible design for the built environment and the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification building features. Facilities Management works to prevent barriers by adopting the CSA B651 standard for classroom and envelope projects to existing buildings. 
  6. When identifying accessibility features for built environment projects, meaningful access is central to the planning process and will continue to be during Accessibility Plan implementation. 
  7. Facilities Management is currently developing a process to track progress of barrier removal using a variety of Maintenance and Asset Management Systems. This is being developed as a continuation of the existing Facilities Management Built Environment Accessibility Audit Tool.
  8. Facilities Management Signage Standards were recently updated to meet current accessibility standards. 
  9. Snow clearing across campuses is prioritized by shoveling and salting accessible ramps, accessible doors and entrances, and parking spaces before non-accessible entrances to a building. This is a key priority for the Facilities Management Grounds Crew. 
  10. Snow removal contractors and Facilities Management Grounds Crew participated in a (dis)Ability simulation organized by Facilities Management’s Accessibility Planning Specialist. The simulation took place on Studley campus where Staff and Contractors used a variety of assistive mobility devices, eye coverings and vision support canes to navigate the exterior environment during the winter season. The purpose of the simulation was to provide a better understanding of the importance for accessible snow clearing priorities for all users. 
  11. Recent built environment projects identified in Table 1 demonstrate, but are not limited to, accessibility improvements across Dalhousie Campuses. The projects listed below are examples of proactive steps taken to improve accessibility where the capacity within existing funding models allowed. The University has yet to determine its funding model for Plan implementation. The University is aware that existing funding streams will not support the entirety of barrier removal and are actively working on models so that accessibility projects can be addressed in the years to come.
Table 1: Recent Facilities Management projects that removed barriers and improved campus accessibility


Building & Location 

Project Description 

Accessibility Features 


Student Union Building 

Basement Level 

Bookstore service desk upgrade 

Accessible service desk with knee clearance, colour contrast, and updated signage. 


Henry Hicks 

Level 1 

Universal washroom and female accessible washroom 

Accessible stall, sinks, toilets, grab bars, colour contrasting, lighting, and power operated doors on universal individual washroom. 


Fitness Centre 

Capital project, new building 

Accessible parking, automatic door entrances, service desk, elevators, universal washrooms and change rooms, adult sized change table, visual fire alarms, signage with braille, and multi-height water fountains. 


LSC Psychology 

Classroom renewal 

Options for accessible entrance into room, variety of accessible barrier free seating, accessible approach to lectern, height adjustable tables, colour contrasting features, upgraded lighting. 


East Cox Institute 

New building 

New building built beyond NS Building Code accessibility requirements. Accessibility features include upgraded elevators, power operated entrances, interior signage with tactile and braille, adjustable lighting in meeting rooms and offices, barrier free classrooms, screen wall entry accessible washrooms and showers, visual fire alarms, accessible laboratory counters, logical building layout, sound dampening wall features, and tactile attention indicators at tops of stairs and ramps. 


MacRae Library 

Level 2

Entire floor renovation 

Accessible washrooms, power operated entrances, visual fire alarms, upgraded signage, accessible service desk, wide corridors, and various types of furniture. 


Trueman Residence 

Main entrance 

North entrance exterior ramp installation 

Accessible ramp, stairs and updated lighting installed to allow accessible entry into residence building.



Wayfinding maps 

Wayfinding maps at main entry points on Sexton campus were installed. Maps have tactile markings, large text size, and strong colour contrast. 


B Building Level 3

Universal washroom and female accessible washroom 

Power operated doors, accessible sinks, toilet stalls, limited mobility stall, upgraded grab bars, emergency call button, accessible lock/unlock mechanisms, and updated accessible signage.


Multiple buildings 

Elevator upgrades 

Elevator upgrades included accessible handrails, lighting, accessible controls, colour contrasting features, rear cab mirror to aid in exit and entry.