Accommodating disabled workers

New Ontario legislation provides accessibility to disabled workers
By Joe Conforti
|Canadian Employment Law Today

People with disabilities have the right to equal treatment. This protection is guaranteed by human rights legislation in all Canadian jurisdictions and includes equal access to employment and the right to freedom from harassment in the workplace.

Under existing laws, employers have a duty to consider the needs of disabled persons. This means designing buildings, processes, programs and job responsibilities inclusively. If existing physical structures, systems or attitudes create barriers then they must be removed. Where it is impossible to remove barriers without undue hardship, special arrangements or “accommodation” must be made so the disabled can fully participate

But workers with disabilities continue to experience barriers in participating in society, including the workplace. Ontario alone has 1.9 million people with disabilities, a number which is expected to increase as the general population ages.