Accommodation is a series of steps taken to ensure that individuals, regardless of physical or mental ability, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, family or marital status, pregnancy, ancestry, place of origin, and citizenship have equal access and opportunity to participate fully in events, services, and employment. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, everyone has the right to request accommodation if he or she is being denied access to services, housing or employment on any protected grounds listed in the Code.
The right to be accommodated, and the corresponding duty of the University to respond quickly and appropriately to requests for accommodation, are now well established in statute and case law. The Ontario Human Rights Code requires an effort to the point of undue hardship to accommodate the needs of persons who are protected by the Code.
Accommodation can only be denied if the University or any of its supervisors can provide quantifiable evidence that the required accommodation would pose significant and irreparable harm to the operation of the University. Some considerations in determining undue hardship include: cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety concerns.
- Persons with disabilities
- Persons with faith/cultural requirements
- Pregnant women
- Persons with family responsibilities
- Persons undergoing sex reassignment
- Persons returning to work or classes after sick leave
Of the individual:
- To communicate, through the appropriate channels and at the earliest possible opportunity, the need for accommodation.
- To provide necessary and appropriate documentation as required
- To co-operate and participate in finding and implementing a solution/plan
- To accept appropriate accommodation
- To identify and communicate any problems with the proposed accommodation
- To perform the essential duties of work or study within the parameters of the plan
Of the employer, supervisor or academic:
- To take prompt action to meet the duty to accommodate
- To communicate with the person requesting accommodation and initiate the accommodation and planning process
- To identify the essential and non-essential duties of the job/course that are required
- To consider the possibility of re-bundling or re-weighting duties of job/course
- To identify and communicate any problems with the accommodation
- To be prepared to resolve any workplace, lab or class resentment that may arise as a result of the accommodation
Of the union:
- To work with all parties to find and implement accommodations
- To make a reasonable effort to be flexible when exceptions to a Collective Agreement will facilitate accommodations
Of the co-worker, lab, or classmate:
- To co-operate and participate, with an open mind, in the accommodation process
Consult the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate, Human Rights at Work, as well as other policies, guidelines, reports and submissions that address disability issues in the areas of education, restaurants, the Building Code, public transit and older persons. These are all available on the OHRC’s website at www.ohrc.on.ca.