Policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PDF)

Policy on Accommodation for Employees with Disabilities

Excerpt from the Carleton University Human Rights Policies and Procedures (last updated: September 29, 2010).

Policy – III.2.

  1. Carleton University encourages applications from individuals with disabilities included within the meaning of the Ontario Human Rights Code, including visual, hearing,
    communication and mobility impairments and learning and other non-visible disabilities. Information to applicants and interview candidates should signal that the University is
    prepared to accommodate disabilities in the selection, testing and interview process and identify whom the applicant should contact for the necessary arrangements to be made.
  2. In order to secure appropriate accommodation, employees with disabilities are responsible for identifying their individual needs to their manager and (assisted as appropriate by the employee’s bargaining agent) working with the manager to develop and implement an accommodation plan.
  3. Employees with disabilities who request accommodation must provide their manager with relevant professional supporting documentation as determined by the University, generally from a regulated health professional practitioner (e.g., a physician, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist). The documentation must include a statement that the individual has an ongoing, recognized disability that requires accommodation and must specify the resulting limitations to the performance of the employee’s job. The University has a right to request a separate medical opinion.
  4. If needed to clarify the accommodation requested or the adjustment in work tasks, the employee must be willing to sign a consent to release to the Human Resources Department, at Carleton University, relevant accommodation information for the disabling condition in question.


  1. This policy encourages dialogue between managers and employees as to how the needs of individuals can be accommodated within the terms of the legislation and current University guidelines in the area. All such dealings require mutual understanding and respect from the parties involved in the accommodation process.
  2. Employment accommodation is assessed and provided on an individual basis. For example, limitations that are traditionally attributed to a particular disabling condition cannot, and should not, be generalized. The University is committed to maintaining confidentiality to the greatest extent possible when providing accommodation and related support services to employees.
  3. The Manager is responsible for identifying the essential duties of the employee’s job. If the employee can perform the essential duties of the job, arrangements must be made for appropriate accommodation. Examples of possible accommodation are appended to this Policy.
  4. If a Manager determines that an employee cannot perform the essential duties of the job, he or she must consult the Assistant Vice-President (Human Resources) and the Director of Equity Services before taking any action. Furthermore, the employee may request that their bargaining unit be notified and a representative of the union participate in discussions related to this issue.
  5. Where possible, the employing work unit is expected to carry the cost of any accommodation. If the employing work unit is unable to carry the cost of the accommodation, the Chair or Director or the unit manager will contact the relevant Resource Planning Committee (RPC) for funding. If costs are beyond the ability of the RPC to carry, the RPC Chair can apply to the Vice-President Finance and Administration) for funding of the accommodation.

Problem Solving

  1. The parties involved may seek advice at any time from Equity Services and/or the Human Resources Department, which may also provide assistance for communicating the situation to others in the workplace.
  2. While every effort will be made to provide accommodation, there may be times when it is not possible to do so. If managers conclude that they cannot accommodate an employee’s request for accommodation, they will meet and discuss the situation with the Assistant Vice-President (Human Resources) and the Director of Equity Services.

Examples of Accommodation of Individuals with Disabilities

To provide some guidance, the following are given as examples of the types of accommodation that could be provided, subject to cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any.

Work station modifications: specialized or adjustable furniture, signs with raised or Braille lettering, modified lighting, flashing signals, and handrails; Job redesign: the reassignment of duties or the restructuring of job tasks for both the person with a disability and coworkers;

Employment policy and practice modifications: flexible or part-time hours; Technical aids and devices: environmental control units (e.g., remote control to open and close doors, operate lights), hoists, grips, technical devices for the deaf, infrared systems, FM broadcast systems, Braille computer printers, optical character recognition systems, keyboard adaptations and the training and technical support required to use technical aids and devices and ergonomic furniture;

Building modifications: ramps, retrofitted washrooms, elevators with audio signals, lowered elevator panels, automatic doors, visual-display alarm systems, suitable designated parking spaces;

Accessible transportation: for employment-related activities that are held outside of the place where work is routinely performed;

Communication services: captioning, sign language interpreters, in-meeting notetakers, personal FM systems, transcription services from print to alternate formats (audio tape, Braille or computer disk);

Human support services: personnel provided to assist in accommodation.