Canadian Hearing Society
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Determining your accommodation needs

What is accommodation?

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the duty to accommodate persons with disabilities means accommodation must be provided in a manner that most respects the dignity of the person, if to do so does not create undue hardship. Dignity includes consideration of how accommodation is provided and the individual’s own participation in the process.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission words the duty to accommodate as the obligation to meaningfully incorporate diversity into the workplace. The duty to accommodate involves eliminating or changing rules, policies, practices and behaviours that discriminate against persons based on a group characteristic, such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, disability, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, marital status, and family status.

A request for accommodation for you should be reasonable and fair based on:

  • Documented individual needs (i.e. audiogram, letter from accessibility expert)
  • Most inclusive experience in participation (i.e. full communication access)
  • No “undue hardship” in terms of funding or supervision (no excessive costs)
  • Reasonable health and safety for all parties involved
  • Not jeopardizing the minimal requirements of training or work duties

Principles for Providing Reasonable Accommodations should include:

  • Reasonable accommodations in a manner that does not stigmatize the individual
  • A mind set that recognizes the individual's strengths and potential contributions to the organization, respects the person as an individual, and exhibits a willingness to engage in joint problem solving
  • The individual affected should be involved in all decision making about his or her school or work including identifying reasonable accommodations
  • A voluntary approach
  • An environment in which hearing loss and reasonable accommodations are accepted, disclosure is not punished, and an individual's desire for confidentiality is respected

Reasonable Accommodation Process should include:

  • Methods of Accommodation
    • Consult with the youth who is deaf or hard of hearing to:
      • Determine the precise training or job-related limitation imposed by the individual's disability
      • Determine how those limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation
      • Get the youth's recommendation on accommodation needed
    • In consultation with the youth
      • Identify and investigate potential accommodations
      • Determine feasibility
      • Assess the effectiveness each would have in enabling the individual to perform the essential functions of learning or job
    • Give primary consideration to the preference of the youth
      • Select and implement the accommodation that would be most effective
      • Monitor its progress
    • Existing legislation
      • Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate (OHRC)
      • Guidelines on accessible education (OHRC)
  • Reasonable Accommodation Options
    • Making existing facilities readily accessible (visual information)
    • Modifying existing equipment (add visual alerting system)
    • Job restructuring
    • Changing tests and training materials
    • Changing college/university or employer policies
    • Hiring a notetaker, ASL/English interpreter, LSQ/French interpreter, print interpreter or computerized note taker
    • Making sure all videos are captioned
    • Arranging tutoring/instructional services
    • Look at priority registration (permitting early registration)
    • Make assistive listening devices available
    • Making sure the rooms are a hearing accessible environment

In determining whether a college, university or employer has met his or her obligations, the following questions should be considered:

  • Did the school or employer try to find a way to meet the youth’s needs in a way that was not discriminatory?   
  • If there were alternatives, what were the reasons they were not used?
  • Is there a way for a school or employer to meet their objectives in a way that is less discriminatory?
  • Is the standard, policy or procedure necessary for the school or employer to accomplish their objectives, and is it broader than it needs to be?
  • Have all parties cooperated in search for an alternative? This includes unions and professional associations
  • Is the cost of the accommodation or the impact of the accommodation so great that it changes the nature of the college’s, university’s or employer’s business?

Adapted with references:

Guidelines on Accessible Education
Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate
Achieving Barrier-free Education for Students with Disabilities
Youth Dynamic: An Employment Services Guide for Working with Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing Youth
Breaking the Sound Barriers – A Guide for Employers
To be Heard: Guideline for Instructors of Students who are hard of hearing

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