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Procedures for Accommodating Employees and Job Applicants with Disabilities

Classification number LCG 1103.04
Parent policy Accessibility Policy
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Audit and Finance Committee
Policy owner Chief Transformation and Organization Culture Officer
Approval date November 20, 2019
Review date November 2026
Last updated Editorial Amendment May 30, 2022; Reviewed January 2023


Consistent with the OntarioTech’s Policy on Accessibility and its commitment to creating a University community that is inclusive of all individuals, this document is designed to inform and guide in the provision of reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants with disabilities.


For the purposes of these Procedures the following definitions apply:
“Accommodation” means an adaptation or adjustment made to enable a person with a disability to demonstrate the essential duties of their program/profession or fulfill the essential competencies of a particular course and/or program. The requirement, qualification or factor must be reasonable and bona‐fide in the circumstances. Accommodations are specific to each individual and may include, but are not limited to:
  • Human support services such as sign language interpreters, readers, classroom assistants etc.
  • Assistance obtaining class notes
  • Books and materials in an accessible format
  • Disability related counselling and support
  • Test and exam accommodations (e.g., extra time, technology, software)
  • Access to specialized software, such as text-to-speech or speech-to-text
  • Specialized support from a Learning Strategist and/or Assistive Technologist (i.e. technical aids and assistive devices)
    • Workstation and/or office modifications
    • Job redesign
    • Flexible or alternative work schedules
    • Temporary re‐assignments
“Barrier” means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.
“Communication Supports” may include, but are not limited to, captioning, alternative and augmentative Communication Supports, plain language, sign language and other supports that facilitate effective communications.
“Disability” means:
  1. Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, including diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, and any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or on a wheel chair or other remedial appliance or device;
  2. A condition of mental impairment or developmental disability;
  3. A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. A mental disorder; or
  5. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
“Disability” should be interpreted in broad terms. It includes both present and past conditions, as well as a subjective component, namely, one based on perception of disability.
Disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.
There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, mental health disabilities and addictions, environmental sensitivities, and other conditions.
Disability is an evolving concept; a disability may be the result of combinations of impairments and environmental barriers, such as attitudinal barriers, inaccessible information, an inaccessible built environment or other barriers that affect people’s full participation in society
“Employee” means all paid full and part-time staff, temporary, seasonal, contract, faculty, student Employees at Ontario Tech.
“Essential Duties” means the vital or indispensable aspects of a job.
“Human Resources Leader” means the person below the President, with responsibility for the Human Resources portfolio.
“Manager” means an individual who has full supervisory responsibility for an Employee, or is responsible for making hiring decisions.
“Undue Hardship” as defined in The Ontario Human Rights Code prescribes three considerations in assessing whether an accommodation could cause undue hardship:
Cost; Outside Sources of Funding; and Health and Safety Considerations. Additional information is available on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website (URL:

Scope and authority

These Procedures apply to any University Employee with a Disability (i.e. full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, contract, faculty, student Employees), volunteers and job applicants with disabilities as well as faculty and staff at Ontario Tech who share responsibility for fostering an accessible and inclusive environment, and for identifying, preventing and removing barriers for those mentioned above. . The Human Resources department is additionally responsible for providing support, guidance and education to ensure compliance with these procedures.
The Chief Work Transformation and Organization Culture Officer, Human Resources, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of these Procedures.


  1. Employees seeking Accommodation must make their requests to Human Resources (HR) department in a timely manner, and provide relevant documentation to verify the effect of their Disability and to allow the University to determine appropriate Accommodations.
  2. The University will ensure the dignity and privacy of Employees with disabilities is respected by only requiring documentation relating to functional limitation associated with the disability, rather than the details of the diagnosis.
  3. In cases where the Employee is in the process of obtaining appropriate documentation, the HR department will consider in good faith and on a case-by-case basis whether interim Accommodation measures can be implemented temporarily.
  4. The University will endeavor to respond to all disability-related accommodation requests in a timely manner.
  5. Accommodation decisions will be made in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and associated policies. Accommodations will be provided in a way that respects the dignity of employees, volunteers and job applicants with disabilities and encourages integration and equality of opportunity.


  1. The need for Accommodation is identified by an Employee at the earliest possible opportunity. While a request for Accommodation is generally raised by an Employee, it is also recognized that a Manager, health care provider, union representative, or other source may raise an Accommodation issue.
  2. Ontario Tech is committed to protecting the privacy of Employees with disabilities. At the same time, sufficient information relating to the functional limitation associated with the disability is required to reasonably evaluate and respond to an Employee’s request for accommodation. The Employee with the disability will submit the necessary medical documentation and forms to the University’s Disability management service provider for assessment. The Disability management service provider will review the medical information submitted and communicate to the Human Resources (HR) representative the Employee’s functional limitations associated with the disability. Once the disability-related needs are confirmed with the Disability management service provider, the HR representative will work with the Employee and the Manager to facilitate the Accommodation request.
  3. In order to determine Accommodation needs, the Employee is expected to actively participate in the Disability management process and consultations with both the Manager, HR representative and the Disability management service provider. Active participation includes completion of required Disability management forms and submission of necessary medical documentation. The Employee with the Disability is also expected to assist in securing appropriate Accommodation, accepting an offer of Accommodation that meets their needs, even if it is not their preferred Accommodation option and facilitating the implementation of an Accommodation plan.
  4. The Employee will complete the required forms provided by the Disability management service provider and submit supporting medical documentation as necessary and requested by the Disability management service provider. All medical documentation must be submitted by the Employee directly to Disability management service provider.
  5. The Disability management service provider may request any additional medical documentation to assist in determining the appropriate Accommodation requirements. In such cases, the Employee will sign the necessary consent forms to permit enquiries and release of information. Information obtained will be maintained in accordance with the policy provisions concerning confidentiality. The Disability management service provider will ensure that there is sufficient and appropriate medical information to validate the functional limitations and restrictions to make the appropriate Accommodation assessment.
  6. Under normal circumstances, it will be the responsibility of the HR representative to develop an Accommodation plan for the Employee that satisfies the University’s duty to accommodate. The efforts involved to develop a plan will first focus on the Employee’s existing position; however, where necessary and applicable, the University’s duty to accommodate may involve a vacant or encumbered position elsewhere in the University. In some cases, it will not be possible to accommodate an Employee’s needs because such Accommodation will cause undue hardship to the University. For example, the duty to accommodate does not extend so far as to require employers to create a position for an Employee who is otherwise incapable of performing the Essential Duties of their existing job or of some other existing position; this would amount to Undue Hardship.
  7. The HR representative, will consult with the Employee, the Manager, and Disability management service provider to develop an Accommodation plan, and consider the following questions:
    • What aspects of the job function are impacted by the Employee’s disability?
    • Would removing the function fundamentally change the job?
    • Is the function marginal or incidental to the job purpose?
    • Is the job specialized, so that the person in the job is hired for their expertise to accomplish the function?
    • Is the function actually accomplished by all current incumbents?
    • Does the incumbent spend a substantial amount of time accomplishing the function?
    • Would the consequences be serious if the function was not accomplished?
    • Are there a limited number of Employees available among whom the function can be distributed?
  8. The Accommodation plan will specify the details of the Accommodation including the following:
    • who is responsible;
    • who will be involved (including co-workers, if applicable);
    • the time lines for putting the Accommodation in place;
    • the duration; and
    • the nature of follow-up evaluation.
    • In cases of job duty modification a regular review(s) should be carried out by the Manager and followed up in writing to all appropriate parties.
  9. If applicable, the HR representative will consult with the Health and Safety Officer and/or Campus Safety and Security Services regarding any health and safety issues.
  10. The HR representative will determine whether the support of other resources (i.e. external Disability service providers) is necessary, and facilitate contact with them on specific issues.
  11. The HR representative will consider the Employee’s preferred Accommodation measure. Where multiple Accommodation measures are identified that each meet the Employee’s disability-related Accommodation needs, the manager, in consultation with the HR representative, may select the Accommodation measure that results in the least disruption and/or cost to the employer.
  12. The HR representative will provide a centralized coordinating function in terms of resolving, and monitoring all Employee Accommodation issues within the University.
  13. In the instance that HR representative is unable to resolve an Accommodation issue, or before determining that Accommodation cannot be made because it would constitute an undue hardship, the HR representative will consult with the Office of the University Secretary and General Counsel (USGC).
Job Applicants
  1. The job applicant will notify the HR representative of any disability-related Accommodation needs or requests. The HR representative will be responsible for providing reasonable and appropriate Accommodation. The HR representative will identify whether further consultation is required on a case-by-case basis to ensure an appropriate Accommodation is provided.
  2. If a job applicant indicates the need for Accommodation upon acceptance of a job offer, the steps to be taken for Accommodation will follow the procedures for Employees, as described above.

Monitoring and review

These Procedures will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Chief Work Transformation and Organization Culture Officer, Human Resources, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review these Procedures.

Relevant legislation

Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, O. Reg. 191/11
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter F.31

Related policies, procedures & documents

OntarioTech Feedback Accessibility Form
OntarioTech Accessibility Policy
OntarioTech University Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Procedures