Fact Sheet – My Rights at Work: Requests for disability-related accommodation in Ontario
What are my rights for disability-related accommodations at work?
What does the law say?
- Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code) is a provincial law that says persons with disabilities in Ontario have the right to be free from discrimination in employment.
- Persons with disabilities are protected from discrimination in all stages of the employment relationship, including applying for a job, recruitment, interviews, returning to work after time off for a disability-related reason, and termination.
- The law says that persons with disabilities have the right to access equal opportunities, such as training, rate of pay, performance evaluations, and promotions.
- The protection includes all kinds of employment relationships, including short-term work, part-time work, internships and volunteer positions.
Duty to Accommodate
- The Code says that employers have a duty to accommodate persons with disabilities.
- Accommodations are things that give persons with disabilities equal opportunity to get a job and perform their job in a meaningful way.
- Barriers at work may include:
- physical barriers, such as inaccessible buildings, technologies or workspaces, or
- non-physical barriers, such as attitudinal barriers, workplace rules, or job qualifications.
- This Factsheet is not intended to be legal advice. Consult a lawyer or legal worker if you need legal advice on a specific matter. This information is current as of March 2020.
- The duty to accommodate means that your employer has to listen to your request for accommodation and work cooperatively with you to find a solution that meets your needs.
- Your employer is required to pay for the accommodation.
How do I make a request for accommodation?
- It is your responsibility to make your disability-related accommodation needs known to your employer.
- It is best to make your request in writing as early as possible.
- Accommodation requests should be made to the person who has the authority to put the accommodation in place, such as your boss or manager.
Is my employer allowed to ask for medical information?
- Your employer is allowed to ask for more information in order to understand your disability-related needs. The law says these requests are allowed as long as they are limited to only the necessary information.
- You do not have to share the cause of your disability or your diagnosis with your employer.
- The kinds of information that may be important to share with your employer are notes from your doctor explaining your abilities, needs, and limitations.
I’m concerned about privacy. Will other people have access to my information?
- The law says your employer must keep your accommodation request and any supporting documents confidential.
- The only persons who are allowed to have access to this information are those who need to be a part of putting the accommodation in place.
Note: federally-regulated employment
- For employers that are federally-regulated (like banks and air transportation companies), the Canadian Human Rights Act (the CHRA) applies. Some of the laws are different for these kinds of employment relationships.
For specific questions about your situation, including what law applies, persons with disabilities who live in Ontario can call ARCH for free, confidential summary legal information and advice. To find out about the kind of legal advice ARCH provides and how to book an appointment, go to: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/services
Disclaimer: This Factsheet is not intended to be legal advice. Consult a lawyer or legal worker if you need legal advice on a specific matter. This information is current as of March 2020.
© ARCH Disability Law Centre, 2020