Recognition of a disability

Recognition of your disability and its potential impact on your university studies

Major functional disabilities (as recognized by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport)

The administrative category “person with a major functional disability" refers to a person experiencing significant limitations in daily life and in academic and employment contexts, attributable to issues directly related to disability.
If your experience fits this description, it is important to obtain official administrative recognition from the Minister of Education and Sports, MELS Quebec.

The recognition of a major functional disability by MELS entitles you to:

  • Funding from the Quebec Loans and Bursaries Program, even if you are a part-time student. Recognition qualifies you for full loans, rather than for loans, and bursaries.
  • Funds from the Allowance for Particular Needs Program (Aide financière aux études - Québec) for the purchase of adaptive equipment, monies to for necessary physical assistance or other required services needed for access to university studies.
Examples of major functional disabilities:
  • Serious visual impairment refers to a maximum visual acuity of 6/21 in each eye despite correction with appropriate ophthalmic lenses, except for special optical systems and increases of over 4.00 diopters, or when the field of vision of each eye is below 60 degrees in the meridian lines of 180 degrees and 90 degrees and when in either case, the person is unable to read, write or move about in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Serious hearing impairment refers to when the ear with the best hearing capacity is affected by an average conducive hearing loss down to at least 70 decibels for sound frequencies of 500, 1000 or 2000 Hz, based on the 1989 S3.6 Standard of the American National Standard Institute.
  • Mobility impairment refers to problems resulting from deformity or abnormality of the skeletal, muscular or neurological systems responsible for body movement, resulting in significant and persistent limitations in a person's daily life.
  • Organic impairment refers to problems such as those caused by a disorder or abnormality of the internal organs or part of the cardio-respiratory, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems resulting in significant and persistent limitations in a person's daily life.

Other disabilities (as recognized by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport)

If you experience limitations resulting from these ‘Other' disabilities, you will also be recognized by MELS for funding.

Examples of other disabilities recognized by the MELS (Allowance for Particular Needs Program):

  • Language (dysphasia) and speech impairments (i.e. stuttering)
  • Paralysis affecting one limb
  • Paresis affecting one or more limbs
  • Reduced hearing capacity ranging between 25 and 70 decibels
As always, there are individual cases that fall in ‘grey areas', so don't hesitate to meet with an advisor to review your situation; ask questions if you are uncertain about your eligibility for Quebec government financial support and allowances.

Should you experience a temporary disabling event, such as an accident, surgery or illness, which impacts on your participation in academic activities, contact your professor, department or program director, and then visit the disability advisor at your university to discuss possible temporary supports or accommodations.