Employment Rights and Responsibilities

Employment Rights and Responsibilities

As an employer, it’s important to know that federal and regional legislation is in place to promote accessible employment practices for people living with disabilities. This resource helps you understand your obligations under relevant legislation to ensure an inclusive and productive workforce. Organizations that work towards accessibility report better job retention, higher attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and work quality, better safety records, stronger competitive capabilities and greater customer loyalty (Conference Board of Canada).

Accommodation process

The steps suggested below are adapted from the Government of Canada’s “Duty to Accommodate: A General Process for Managers”.

The process of providing accommodation(s) should be as simple as possible. Always respect the dignity and privacy of the individual requiring accommodation(s). Remember that each individual has unique needs, and all employees have the right to be accommodated up to the point of undue hardship.  

Additional processes and standards 

Many provinces have additional accommodation processes and standards: 

  1. Accessible recruitment processes, including notifying candidates that accommodations are available upon request. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 
  2. Accessible workplace information, such as job descriptions, health and safety information and training manuals available in different formats (such as large print, braille, audio, etc.). AODA 
  3. Performance management process enhancements, considering the needs of employees with disabilities through feedback, coaching and improvements. AODA  
  4. Clearly communicated accessibility policies, shared through a variety of channels including newsletters, emails, and in-person conversations. AODA  
  5. Written accommodation plans, outlining the previously mentioned steps and any other components of the process for your organization. AODA 
  6. Written return to work process, detailing steps you will take so that an employee can return to work after an absence due to disability. AODA 
  7. Training on accessibility processes and responsibilities, including the recruitment process, creating accessible workplaces and understanding human rights legislation. Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment 
What about employees?

Employees have the right to reasonable accommodation to the point of undue hardship and the responsibility to inform their employer of their need for accommodation. In addition, an employee should not turn down any reasonable proposal for accommodation that is offered. Depending on your region, employees may need to provide different information on their functional limitations to request an accommodation, ranging from detailed medical information to an accommodation form. 

Employee responsibilities according to the Government of Canada’s “Employee and Candidate Responsibilities” webpage include: 

  • Communicating the need for accommodation directly 
  • Working with the organization by providing relevant supporting information as needed 
  • Cooperating with health assessment if appropriate 
  • Working with the manager to identify the right accommodation solutions 
  • Considering all suggested proposals that respond to accommodation needs, even if proposals are not employee’s preferred option 
  • Advising manager of any changes or if accommodation has not worked as intended 
  • Exploring ways to modify accommodations as needed 

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More resources 

This resource was reviewed in April 2020 with expert advice from:

Monique A. M. Gignac, PhD 
Scientific Co-Director and Senior Scientist, Institute for Work & Health 
Project Director, Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED) Partnership Project 
Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto