Deaf Empowerment Program

student and instructor communicating with sign language

Mohawk College’s free Academic Upgrading Deaf Empowerment Program (AU DEP) offers Deaf(ening/end) adults the opportunity to upgrade their skills in math, reading and writing as well as basic computer and employability skills.


This program is taught in American Sign Language (ASL) for adults who are Deaf, Deafened or Hard-of-Hearing and are looking to gain requirements to apply for college study, or improve skills needed for the workforce.

Ready to Apply?

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Apply online

Meet eligibility? Apply now through our online application form.

Apply now

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Email us

Have questions? We're here to help! Connect with DEP through email.

dep [at] (Email us)

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Call us

Call us for free through Canada VRS to connect with a sign language interpreter.

Program Eligibility

In order to apply to the Deaf Empowerment Program, you must be:

  • Deaf, Deafened, or Hard of Hearing
  • Able to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL)
  • 19 years of age or older
  • A Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person in Canada (with notice of decision)

Did you answer yes to all of the above criteria? Apply now!


Built for student success

The Deaf Empowerment Program was built for deaf(ening/end) people, by deaf(ening/end) people. Classes are taught in American Sign Language (ASL) by qualified professors who are dedicated to student success.

Personalized learning plans

No student is exactly the same as another student. That’s why we provide each student with a personal consultation to develop a learning plan that meets their goals.

Pathway options

Students can choose to focus on employment preparation or college preparation and can earn up to a grade 12 equivalency in English and Mathematics (technical and apprenticeship levels). These credits can be used to apply to most college programs in Ontario!

State-of-the-art technology

 All classroom technology is equipped with the deaf person in mind. Students can also loan out various types of technology through the Mohawk College Library.

Located at Mohawk College

We are committed to ensuring our students are future ready. Each student has access to accommodations they need to succeed in learning, the facilities to grow personally and the community to excel socially. Learn more about the Mohawk College Fennell campus.


This program is funded with provincial and national government support. There is no cost to enroll, and all materials are provided. Do you need support with living accommodations*, transportation, and/or child-care? Let us know when you apply!

* Living accommodations are subject to availability with Mohawk Residence.

Contact Us

Email: dep [at] (subject: Deaf%20Empowerment%20Program%20Inquiry) (dep[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)

Phone: 905-575-2029

Accessible Navigation to Employment (ANTE) Program

The Accessible Navigation to Employment (ANTE) Program is a national training initiative, developed by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and Mohawk College, that is dedicated to improving the foundational and transferable skills of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Canadians.
Accessible Navigation to Employment Program logo

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Academic Upgrading

The Academic Upgrading program is also taught in spoken English. Academic Upgrading is a free, flexible, and individualized program that can help hearing learners achieve their college, apprenticeship, Skilled Trades, and employment goals.

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Honouring Harry

Harry Pollard was a student in the Deaf Empowerment Program (DEP) from 2003 to 2006.  A gentle giant with a great sense of pride, Harry was an avid game player, frequently playing chess, Scrabble, cribbage and card games with staff and other students.

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The EAF Project

The Employment Access Framework (EAF) project was dedicated to identifying employment and training opportunities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and job seekers in Ontario.

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This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.