Under Human Rights law, students, staff and faculty must accommodate the needs of individuals and groups where those needs arise out of a protected human rights ground such as religion, disability, race, ethnic origin, marital status, or family status.
Accommodation is often defined as the provision of services, adaptations or adjustments which enable persons who require accommodation to participate, contribute and succeed in an academic, employment or service environment while still meeting their reasonable requirements arising out of their disability, religious beliefs, family obligations, etc. It is an ongoing process of identifying and removing or minimizing the adverse effects of barriers in the environment, its systems, policies and procedures which prevent otherwise qualified persons covered by the Code from participating successfully. The process of accommodation involves consultation with the person seeking accommodation and results in specific adaptations and/or modifications in policies and/or practices.
Accommodation is understood as any temporary or permanent measure used to remove a barrier which prevents an otherwise qualified individual from performing or fulfilling the essential duties of a job or academic pursuit or enjoying a service;
Accommodation is based on individual circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
- Communication such as producing documents in other languages or alternative media formats
- Technical aids such as software or hardware
- Policy and practice modification such as modifying training policy so people with child or elder care obligations can attend courses during work hours if they make up the time
- Job or course redesign which is defined as restructuring the job by re-allocating or redistributing nonessential functions
- Human supports such as sign language interpreters, job coaches to help in the initial training and integration of persons with psychiatric or developmental disabilities
- Workstation or building modification such as ramps for access to buildings
- Revised scheduling so that individuals may participate in the rites associated with their religious faith
Rules and Guidelines
- The focus of all efforts to accommodate must be on collaboration (involving the person seeking accommodation in the decision-making process) and dignity (ensuring that the accommodation provided allows the person to maintain their dignity).
- The person seeking accommodation must be reasonable in the mode of accommodation which he or she will accept — a person is not entitled to an ideal accommodation when another type of accommodation (that might be cheaper, easier, less intrusive) will achieve the same goals with no loss of dignity on the part of the person.
- The organization is required to accommodate a person’s disability to the point of undue hardship, meaning that the cost of the accommodation will irrevocably damage the organization.
- An organization is not required to accommodate a person, however, where the person is incapable of fulfilling the bona fide occupational or academic requirements of the job or course, even when appropriate accommodation is provided.
- An organization is not required to accommodate a person where, even with the accommodation, the person’s presence would create a health or safety risk to him- or herself or to others.