Accommodation in Employment

Policy

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Accommodation in Employment
Division: Administrative Services
Policy Number: CA.52.01.151
Effective Date: October 31, 2016

POLICY STATEMENT

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to creating a workplace that is inclusive of all persons and treats all members of the workplace in an equitable manner.

In working toward this goal, WDGPH will strive to provide support and facilitate the accommodation process of employees as per the Ontario Human Rights Code so that all may share the same level of access to opportunities, participate in the full range of activities that WDGPH offers, and achieve their full potential.

As an organization that values individual differences, respects individual needs, and supports accessibility, the goal of WDGPH is to establish and maintain an inclusive workplace and to provide workplace accommodation as required under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). WDGPH recognizes its duty to accommodate our employees up to the point of undue hardship. Undue hardship means that an accommodation must be provided unless there would be a very serious hardship on the employer.  Generally, undue hardship refers to health, safety and cost considerations of an accommodation solution. Other factors that contribute to undue hardship include: substantial disruption of operations and changes to terms of employment set out in either a collective agreement or employment contract. Undue hardship may vary with individual circumstances.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees currently employed and paid by WDGPH.

GENERAL

WDGPH values the fundamental principles of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the AODA which underlie this policy including:

  • Shared accountability and responsibility, including a partnership between the individual requiring accommodation, Managers and Senior Management of WDGPH;
  • Respect for the dignity of the individual by ensuring that accommodation is provided in a manner that meets specific circumstances, while at the same time working to ensure general accessibility for all employees in terms of spatial and physical requirements;
  • The understanding that accommodation plans will be developed at the request of an employee with a temporary or permanent disability;
  • The understanding that if an immediate Manager notices that an employee could be helped by an accommodation, the immediate Manager may meet with the employee and discuss whether the employee requires any accommodation;
  • Inclusion by ensuring that the person to be accommodated is involved in the process and plan design;
  • Respect for confidentiality, such that only relevant stakeholders are involved in the process of consultation and development of the accommodation plan;
  • Assurance that, should an employee require an individualized accommodation plan, it will include (if needed) an individual emergency response (evacuation) plan; and
  • The development of a return-to-work accommodation plan meeting the employee’s accommodation needs and the Agency’s essential job requirements. 

It is important for WDGPH employees to be aware that all employment accommodations at WDGPH are based on objective criteria. Requests are assessed on an individual basis for persons who make their needs known. All parties (front line employees, management, union representatives, etc.) involved in an accommodation process are expected to participate in good faith, to be reasonable and flexible in considering options that respect an individual’s right to dignity and privacy.

The health unit is obligated to fully explore accommodation within an employee’s own job. Accommodation outside of the employee’s position (e.g. reassignment to a vacant position) may be considered; for example, when the employee cannot perform the essential duties of the position and accommodation in the current position would create undue hardship. However, this does not mean that a new job must be created for an employee, nor does the application of this policy constitute a guarantee of continued employment.

DEFINITIONS

Disability – the term as defined in by the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code refers to:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defects or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or advice;
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  • A learning disability, or dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  • A mental disorder; or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Accommodation – 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. WDGPH will attempt to accommodate the employment needs of a job applicant and employees who are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code up to the point of undue hardship.

Undue Hardship – 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. Information on the concept of undue hardship can be accessed on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website.

Barriers – Individuals can experience discrimination as a result of physical (building design), attitudinal (stereotypes or prejudices) or systemic barriers. Systemic barriers in the workplace are formal or informal policies, practices or rules which, when applied in the same way to everyone, may have the effect of unfairly excluding or restricting the participation of some individuals, e.g., a work schedule that conflicts with religious observance days.

Legal Obligations and Limits – Employment accommodation is a legal obligation for all employers under the Ontario Human Rights Code and related jurisprudence; failure to accommodate on any of the Code’s protected grounds may constitute discrimination and noncompliance with the Code. 

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure:  CA.52.02.151 Accommodation in Employment
Human Resources Forms:
CA.30.01.143  Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of Potential Barriers
CA.30.01.146  Individual Accommodation Plan Form
CA.30.01.147  Functional Capacity Assessment Form
CA.30.01.161  Return to Work Plan Form

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Human Resources 

APPROVED BY

Director, Administrative Services 


Procedure

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Accommodation in Employment
Division: Human Resources and Corporate Services
Procedure Number: CA.52.02.151
Effective Date: November 1, 2015

PROCEDURE

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to providing equal access to all aspects of employment for all employees in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005 and the Ontario Human Rights CodeWDGPH will ensure that individual accommodation plans are in place that take into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities. WDGPH is required to accommodate employees with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship, taking into consideration costs, sources of outside funding, and health and safety requirements.

When WDGPH is aware of the need for an accommodation and/or when necessary, we will work with employees with a disability to develop an individualized emergency response plan.

REQUIREMENT OVERVIEW

Table 1

Legal Requirement

When Required?

What generally is used to assess need?

What generally is used to assess need?

Why required?

Individual Accommodation Plan

Medical need due to a disability.

- Documentation from healthcare provider.
- Individual capacity assessment form (if required)

CA.30.01.146
Individual Accommodation Plan Form

- AODA requirement.

Emergency Response (Evacuation) Plan

When known by the agency that a potential - need may exist. 

CA.30.01.143
Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of potential barriers  

CA.30.01.146
Individual Accommodation Plan Form

- AODA requirement.

Return to Work (RTW) Plan

- No WSIB RTW plan.
- No short-term disability (STD) RTW plan
- No long-term disability RTW plan

- Documentation from healthcare provider.
- Individual capacity assessment form (if required)

CA.30.01.161
Return to Work Plan Form

- AODA requirement.

Pre-Employment Accommodation (i.e. interviewing, testing, etc.)

- When known by the agency that a potential need may exist. 

- Documentation from healthcare provider.

- Requirement(s) incorporated into recruiting and selection process(es).

- AODA requirement.
|- Human Rights Code.

New Hire Accommodation

- Offer of employment.

- Documentation from healthcare provider.

CA.30.01.146
Individual Accommodation Plan Form

- AODA requirement.
- Human Rights Code.

PROCESS

Accommodation process with an employee and short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

  • WDGPH will work with the employee and our external providers or WSIB to develop appropriate return-to-work and/or accommodation plans.
  • Where accommodations due to a workplace emergency may be required, the direct Manager and employee will assess the emergency response accommodation requirements by completing the CA.30.01.143 Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of Potential Barriers.
  • Where accommodation is required as a result of the above assessment, the Manager, with consultation with Human Resources and the employee, will develop an individual accommodation plan as outlined below. 
  • Individuals should also refer to the policy CA.52.01.115 Short Term Disability Claims for additional information about the STD and LTD process. 

Accommodation Process with an employee for an emergency response (evacuation) need

  • Where accommodations due to a workplace emergency may be required as self-identified by the employee, the direct Manager and employee will assess the emergency response accommodation requirements by the CA.30.01.143 Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of Potential Barriers.
  • If accommodation is required as a result of the above assessment, the Manager, with support from Human Resources, and the employee will develop an individual accommodation plan as outlined below.  

RESPONSIBILITIES

Management:
  • Accept requests for accommodation in good faith and monitor employees to determine if an accommodation may be helpful; 
  • Actively participate in the identification of suitable modified work, canvass various forms of possible accommodation and attempt to modify such work within the employee’s functional abilities where appropriate;
  • Develop appropriate plans, in consultation with Human Resources and the medical needs of the employee; and
  • Actively participate in work reintegration meetings with employees and schedule regular follow-up meetings to review progress as required.
Employees:
  • Make accommodation needs known to their immediate Manager and Human Resources, preferably in writing, so that appropriate modified work and accommodations may be implemented, as medically required;
  • Provide necessary medical documentation in a timely manner to support their accommodation requests and answer questions regarding relevant restrictions or limitations, including information from health care providers, where appropriate and as needed;
  • Maintain regular contact with their immediate Manager throughout the accommodation process;
  • Actively participate in discussions for the identification of suitable modified work and attempt to perform such work in good faith within their functional abilities;
  • Communicate any difficulties with the modified work, emergency response (evacuation plan), accommodation plan or return to work plan to their supervisor and Human Resources;
  • Meet agreed-upon performance and job standards once accommodation is provided; and
  • Work within the prescribed recommended capabilities and precautions.
Human Resources:
  • Provide support to Manager in exploring alternative work arrangements in collaboration and consultation with employees;
  • Liaise with ONA when necessary;
  • Collaborate with the third party providers to monitor the employee’s return to work progress and ensure all legal obligations are met; and
  • Assist the supervisor in ensuring that the employee’s modified or suitable alternate work remains within the employee’s functional abilities as directed by the employee’s health care provider to prevent further injury or injury to others.
Individual Accommodation Plan Development Process

Step 1:  Recognize the Need for Accommodation.

The need for accommodation can be:

  • Requested by the employee through their Manager or through Human Resources; or
  • Identified by the employee’s Manager.

Step 2:  Gather Relevant Information and Assess Needs.

The employee is an active participant in this step:

  • WDGPH does not require details on the nature of the employee’s disability to provide an accommodation; it needs to know only about the employee’s functional abilities.
  • The Agency will ask for a completed CA.30.01.147 Functional Capacity Assessment Form from the employee’s healthcare provider. 
    • In the event that the employee’s healthcare provider charges a fee to complete the form, the employee is required to obtain a receipt with appropriate information in order for the employee to be reimbursed by the Agency.
    • In the event that the cost to complete this form exceeds $25, the employee is required to contact Human Resources before having the form completed. 
  • The employee and their Manager, with the support of Human Resources, evaluate potential options to find the most appropriate measure(s).
  • An external expert selected by the Agency may be involved, at the Agency’s expense.
  • A unionized employee can request the participation of a representative from ONA (as appropriate) or, if there if a non-bargaining unit employee, they may request a co-worker as representative.

Step 3:  Review and assess an employee’s emergency response (evacuation) accommodation requirements.

  • The employee is an active participant in this step:
  • The employee, with the involvement of their Manager, complete the CA.30.01.143 Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of Potential Barriers to identify potential needs.
  • Based on the results of the form, there may be emergency response need(s) requiring accommodation.
  • If accommodations due to a disability are required, this information will be recorded on the individual accommodation plan.
    • With the employee’s consent, additional information will be shared with individuals designated to assist them in an emergency. 

Step 4:  Complete an Individual Accommodation Plan.

Once the most appropriate accommodation has been identified after the needs have been identified, the accommodation details are written down in the CA.30.01.146 Individual Accommodation Plan Form, including:

  • What special requirements the employee may have in an emergency response situation, if required;
  • Accessible formats and communication supports, if requested;
  • Workplace emergency response information, if required; and
  • Any other accommodation that is to be provided.

The Manager will provide a copy of the individual accommodation plan to the employee and to Human Resources. 

Step 5:  Return to Work Plan Process (Non-WSIB, STD or LTD) for individuals returning to work

  • Once the needs have been assessed, a CA.30.01.161 Return to Work Plan may need to be completed if an employee is returning to work due to a disability and an accommodation is required (i.e. medically supported gradual return to full work hours, etc.). This ONLY needs to be completed if there is a need for accommodation and the individual is NOT being returned to work under a WSIB or STD/LTD formal return to work plan. 
  • Based on documented need, the employee, direct Manager and Human Resources will complete the Return to Work Plan

Step 6:  Implement, Monitor, and Review.

  • The employee and their Manager, with support from Human Resources, monitor the accommodation to ensure that it has effectively resolved the challenge.
  • Individual accommodation plans will be reviewed:  
    • When updated medical information is provided to the Agency that may affect the individual’s accommodation plan for individuals with a permanent disability.
    • During the performance review cycle for other individuals for individuals who do not have a permanent disability and when updated medical information is provided to the agency that may affect the individual accommodation plan.
    • If the employee’s work location or position changes.
    • If the nature of the employee’s disability changes and this can be substantiated through updated medical information.
  • If the accommodation is no longer appropriate, the employee and the Manager, with support from Human Resources, work together to gather relevant information and reassess the employee’s needs in order for the employer to find the best accommodation measure (Step 2).
  • The Manager will provide a copy of any updated individual accommodation plan to the employee and to Human Resources.  

DEFINITIONS

Refer to the Accommodation in Employment Policy

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure:  CA.52.01.151 Accommodation in Employment Process
Human Resources Forms:
CA.30.01.143   Emergency Response Worksheet – Identification of Potential Barriers
CA.30.01.146   Individual Accommodation Plan Form
CA.30.01.147  Functional Capacity Assessment Form
CA.30.01.161  Return to Work Plan Form

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Human Resources 

APPROVED BY

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services