Human Rights & Equity Office
Employment Accommodation Fund
This employment accommodation funding program for employees with disabilities expresses the University’s commitment to ensuring that all employees of the University are able to access required accommodations that will help them perform their duties and be contributing members of the campus community. The University will do its utmost to ensure that accommodations promote dignity and inclusion.
The Ontario Human Rights Code [the “Code”] outlines that every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to employment. Where a person has a disability, the Code states the employer has a duty to accommodate the person to the point of undue hardship. The University is committed to meeting these obligations under the Code and has endorsed them in its own Human Rights Policy.
The Employment Accommodation Fund was established in 1997 to provide funding for required employee accommodations. The current fund totals $20,000.00 per fiscal year.
Accommodation can include, but is not limited to:
- human support services
- interpreting services
- technical aids and devices
- workstation modifications
- accessible transportation
- job redesign
The Employment Accommodation Fund Committee (the “Committee”) receives and assesses accommodation requests and oversees the disbursement of funds for employees with disabilities. The Committee is composed of the Occupational Health Services Manager, the Human Rights and Equity Advisor – Accommodation, and a Centre for Students with Disabilities Advisor or their substitutes.
Any item purchased by the Employment Accommodation Fund belongs to the University of Guelph. It stays with the employee for as long as it is needed while working for the University. This allows employees to change jobs within the University and make the most of their accommodation. Equipment purchased through the fund returns to the University when the employee no longer requires it or leaves the University's employ. Accommodation can benefit a specific individual as well as others.
This policy aims to establish a process through which employees with disabilities can access required accommodations. In doing so, the policy ensures the University meets its duty to accommodate under the Code.
Application and Scope
All qualified University of Guelph job applicants and employees are eligible for employment accommodation funding if they require it. It is the individual's responsibility to inform the University of his/her specific needs. This will ensure that accommodation is provided to enable full participation in employment. People with visible and non-visible disabilities are eligible whether their disability is permanent or temporary.
(a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
(b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
(c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
(d) a mental disorder; or
(e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; (“handicap”)
“employment accommodation” means special services, adaptations or adjustments that enable people with disabilities to compete for jobs and perform all employment activities. Employment accommodation includes and integrates people with disabilities into the work force in ways that respect their dignity and self-worth. The period of accommodation may be temporary or permenant.
“undue hardship” means the point at which the costs of the accommodation at issue are so substantial that they would alter the essential nature of the University, so significant that they would substantially affect its viability, or the degree of health and safety risk that remains after the accommodation has been made outweighs the benefits of enhancing equality for persons with disabilities.
- Any job applicant or employee with a disability who requests funding for accommodation to compete for University jobs or perform the essential duties of a job must obtain and complete a funding request form. This form can be obtained in hard copy from the Human Rights and Equity Office or in electronic format by downloading it from the Human Rights and Equity Office Website.
- If medical documentation outlining the employee’s disability is not already on file with Occupational Health Services it should be submitted with the request form. The recommended accommodations and their associated costs must be submitted with the request form.
- The request form and any necessary documentation must be submitted directly to the Human Rights and Equity Office, care of the Employment Accommodation Fund. Medical documentation will remain confidential, only to be seen by the members of the Employment Accommodation Fund Committee.
- The Committee will meet within 5 business days of receiving the request for funding to assess the request. The assessment will consider whether there is a bona fide disability, the documented recommendation, and the most appropriate form of accommodation. If no further information is needed, the Committee will determine whether the request is granted and communicate this to the employee and other necessary parties the following business day.
- If further assessments need to be completed (e.g. an ergonomic assessment of the work environment) or further documentation or information is sought, the Committee will communicate this to the employee. A meeting may be required between the Committee, the employee, the supervisor and/or other necessary parties to devise the most appropriate accommodation solution considering dignity, inclusion and cost.
- The Committee will render its decision on funding within 5 business days following receipt of further assessments, documentation or information.
- Once funding approval has been granted, the employee’s department shall purchase the required accommodations and the employee or department will submit the invoice to the Human Rights and Equity Office for reimbursement from the Employment Accommodation Fund.
For further information about the Employment Accommodation Fund please contact: