The Alternate Format Materials Program (Alt Format Program) assists students with  perceptual disabilities in obtaining books in alternate formats, primarily in PDF format. For the purpose of this program, and in accordance with Canadian Copyright Law, Section 32, students with perceptual disabilities include those who have:

  • Severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes,
  • The inability to hold or manipulate a book, or
  • A reading impairment relating to comprehension

Requesting alternate format materials

  1. Make sure you are registered with DSS
  2. Make a requests for alternate format materials by logging into PAWS and navigating to the Alternate Format Channel located within the DSS menu.

In order for DSS to process a request for alternate format, you must purchase a print version of the textbook, and provide DSS with proof of purchase (a receipt), which is in accordance with most book publisher regulations.

Receipts are required for ALL textbook requests and can be submitted the following ways:

If you submit a request without a receipt, the request will NOT be processed until the receipt is received.

Textbooks not available in the Bookstore

If the Bookstore does not have books listed for your class/section, contact the instructor and ask for details about the textbooks that will be required. If you cannot find the instructor’s contact information, get in touch with the instructor’s departmental office. If there is no instructor yet assigned to the class/section you are enrolled in, ask for the department’s undergraduate chairperson, and explain your situation to that person.

It is important to start this process prior to the first day of classes, so that you can get your texts early in the term -- It can take 4-6 weeks for an alternate format textbook to arrive.

Accessing funding for alternate format materials

In the event that DSS cannot provide a pdf copy of your textbook, you may take it to Printing Service to be scanned into pdf format. You will be responsible for the costs associated with this, but you may be eligible to apply for reimbursement through the Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities.

Other places to search for electronic texts

It is unlikely that you will find university textbooks at these sites, but they may have other books of personal interest to you: