Under the Code, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination because of disability or perceived disability in the social areas of employment, services, goods, facilities, housing, contracts and membership in trade and vocational associations.
This right means that persons with disabilities have the right to equal treatment, which includes the right to accessible workplaces, public transit, health services, restaurants, shops and housing.
The duty to accommodate
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 University must consider, assess and accommodate each person individually.
- If putting the best solution in place is not possible, or if doing so results in undue hardship, uOttawa still has the duty to put into place the next-best, a phased-in or an interim solution.
- The needs of persons with disabilities must be met unless doing so would cause undue hardship.
Factors used to determine undue hardship
Under the Code, only three factors can be considered when deciding whether an accommodation would cause undue hardship:
- Any available sources of external funding
- Any health and safety requirements
The onus of proof of undue hardship lies with the University. The Code stipulates that the evidence required to prove undue hardship must be real, direct, objective and, in the case of cost, quantifiable.