Accommodation Procedure

Objective

The Town of Oakville (town) is committed to the health, safety and wellness of its employees. The town will make every effort to assist an employee in their safe return to work following a leave for illness or injury, or anywhere an employee identifies a bona fide accommodation need that arises from protected rights identified in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Work related injuries or illnesses will be managed according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) legislative requirements.

Purpose statement

This program supports the town’s objective to:

  1. ensure every effort is made to accommodate an employee in need of accommodation in their own job, where possible;
  2. provide a temporary or long-term work accommodation in an existing alternative job in the town if unable to accommodate the employee in his/her own job;
  3. ensure all work is performed in a manner which is safe for the employee, their co-workers and the public;
  4. ensure that the work performed is meaningful work in keeping with the town’s values of:  Accountability; Dedication; Honesty; Innovation; Respect; and Teamwork;
  5. ensure job applicants have access to accommodation in the recruitment process.

Scope

This procedure applies to all town employees (including but not limited to full-time, part-time, students, volunteers, temporary and interns).  It also applies to all applicants to jobs at the town while they are involved in the recruitment process.

Procedure

Accommodation for injury or illness

  1. A formal request for accommodation must be made in writing by completing the Accommodation Request Form and providing supporting medical documentation.  The request must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources.
  2. Medical information supporting the request is reviewed by the HR Disability Claims Coordinator and may be in consultation with an outside medical practitioner or other expert to assist the town in determining an appropriate accommodation option(s).
  3. Where a duty to accommodate exists the HR Disability Claims Coordinator consults the employee’s manager to determine:
    i.     What are the essential duties of the position held by the employee?
    ii.     Can those duties or working conditions be modified without undue hardship?
  4. If the manager is unable to provide accommodation without undue hardship the HR Disability Claims Coordinator will review all existing job vacancies for a position which may be suitable or which may be modified.
  5. A meeting will be convened with the HR Disability Claims Coordinator, the manager, employee and their union or other workplace representative where there is no bargaining agent, to discuss the work modification(s) or placement.  If the modified work is in a job other than the one held by the employee this meeting may involve more than one manager and union.
  6. Temporary accommodations will generally not exceed six (6) months in duration unless there are exceptional circumstances.  Once the employee is placed in or returns to a modified position the employee’s progress in the position will be reviewed at two week intervals for the first three (3) months by HR Disability Claims Coordinator, the manager and union where appropriate.  Further modifications may be made if necessary.
  7. Long-term work accommodations will be offered when a long-term disability in need of accommodation exists.  Once the employee is placed in or returns to a modified position the employee’s progress in the position will be reviewed at two week intervals for the first three (3) months by HR Disability Claims Coordinator, the manager and union where appropriate.  Further modifications may be made if necessary.
  8. Following the initial reviews during the first three (3) months of the accommodation, long-term accommodations will be reviewed annually or whenever there is a material change to the employee’s ability to perform job task, by HR Disability Claims Coordinator, the manager and union where appropriate.
  9. If an accommodation is unsuccessful for either the employee or the employer it may be ended.  If it is ended by the employer, efforts will be made to find another accommodation.  If it is ended by the employee and upon review is found to be a suitable accommodation the duty to accommodate will have been satisfied by the town.

Human Rights accommodation

  1. A formal request for accommodation must be made in writing by completing the Accommodation Request Form and providing supporting documentation if available.  The request must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources.
  2. Where a duty to accommodate is found to exist the Director of Human Resources or designate will consult with the employee’s manager to determine:
    i.     What are the essential duties of the position held by the employee?
    ii.     Can those duties or working conditions be modified without undue hardship?
  3. If the manager is unable to provide accommodation without undue hardship the Director of Human Resources or designate will request that Human Resources staff review all existing job vacancies for a position which may be suitable or which may be modified without undue hardship.
  4. Once a suitable accommodation and/or position is identified a meeting will be convened with the union and the employee to discuss the work modification/placement.  If the modified work is in a job other than the one held by the employee this meeting may involve more than one manager and union.
  5. Once the employee is placed in a modified position the employee’s progress in the position will be reviewed at two week intervals or as needed for the first three (3) months by the Director of Human Resources or designate and manager.  Further modifications may be made if necessary.
  6. Requests for temporary accommodations for Human Rights reasons will in many cases have an expected end date.  If the end date is several years in the future the accommodation must be reviewed at least annually to ensure that the accommodation remains appropriate and that the need for it still exists.
  7. Following the initial reviews during the first three (3) months of the accommodation, long-term accommodations will be reviewed annually by the Director of Human Resources or whenever there is a material change to the employee’s ability to perform job tasks to ensure the accommodation remains appropriate.
  8. If the accommodation is unsuccessful for either the employee or the employer it may be ended.  If it is ended by the employer efforts will be made to find another accommodation.  If it is ended by the employee and upon review is found to be a suitable accommodation the duty to accommodate will have been satisfied by the town.

Accommodation in the recruitment process

Accommodation in the recruitment process will be in accordance with the town’s Accessible Employment procedure.

Definitions

Accommodation: any adaptation or adjustment that is required to enable employees to perform their essential job responsibilities.

Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the following workplace modifications:

  • The work area
  • Employee’s job tasks
  • Equipment used to perform regular duties
  • Schedules
  • Work locations

Job applicants to the Town of Oakville will be offered appropriate accommodation where the need for such arises and is identified by the applicant.

Essential duties: the duties necessary to achieve the actual job outcome. The job outcome is the overall objective of the job in terms of the production of the final product or provision of service.

The duty is essential if, when you take the duty away:

  • the job outcome is not accomplished;
  • the product or service is affected;
  • a process related to the job either before or after is affected.

Temporary accommodation: any job, task, function or combination thereof that an employee who suffers a partial disability, diminished capacity, or has a  need for an accommodation for a short term defined period of time, which may be performed safely, without risk of re-injury or exacerbation of the existing injury.

Long-term accommodation: a modification of the pre-illness or injury job, relocation of the employee to a suitable existing position, or modification to the workplace or hours of work as required.  In order to be eligible for a long-term accommodation an employee must be permanently disabled and/or in need of a work accommodation.

Comparable job: a job with the features and earnings that are comparable to an employee’s job on the date on which the illness, injury or the need for accommodation arises.

Suitable job: employment consistent with the employee’s skills and functional abilities that does not pose a health and safety hazard to the employee, co-workers or the public.

Job demands analysis: an objective observation and evaluation of the physical, sensory, behavioural and cognitive demands of a job.

Functional abilities evaluation: a process of assessing and describing an individual’s physical and functional abilities related to their ability to work.

Undue hardship: an employer does not have to provide an accommodation that causes undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense. Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but also accommodations that are unduly extensive or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.

Undue hardship does not arise because of other employees' or clients' fears or prejudices, or because providing a reasonable accommodation might have a negative impact on employee morale. Undue hardship may arise where a reasonable accommodation would be unduly disruptive to other employees' ability to work.

Human Rights accommodations: are accommodations based on the rights protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. They include: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.

Procedure details

Procedure Number: HR-MNG-008-003
Parent Policy: HR-MNG-008
Section: Human Resources
Sub-Section: Manage
Author: Human Resources
Authority: CAO
Effective Date: 2012 Dec 17
Review by Date: 2017

References

Appendix A Accommodation Request Form

Ontario Human Rights Code

HR-MNG-008 Respectful Conduct Policy
HR-MNG-008-001 RZone Procedure

HR-MNG-008-002 Respectful Conduct Procedure

MS-ACC-001-003 Accessible Employment Procedure

Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Any other relevant town policies