Skip to main content Skip to main menu >Toggle high contrast

Individual Accommodation Plans in Ontario Workplaces

The Employment Standard under the AODA states that all public sector organizations, and private or non-profit organizations with fifty or more workers, must develop and document a process for writing individual accommodation plans.

Individual accommodation plans are written documents that list all accommodations workers with disabilities need to make their jobs accessible. For example, accommodations that a worker might use include:

  • Informational accommodations, such as documents in digital form or real-time captioning at meetings
  • Workstation accommodations, for example, a raised desk or a quiet workstation
  • Scheduling accommodations, such as shifts at certain times or a compressed work week
  • Structural accommodations, for example, automatic doors or accessible washrooms

Starting the Individual Accommodation Plan

Firstly, workers with disabilities and their managers write individual accommodation plans together and sign the finished plans. Other people involved in developing individual accommodation plans may include:

  • Human Resources
  • A volunteer from the workplace, or from the union if there is one
  • A medical professional or another expert, consulted at the employer’s expense

A worker with a disability may approach their employer and request accommodation. The worker has the most knowledge about their own needs and what accommodations will best meet those needs. At other times, the employer may ask the worker whether accommodation would help them perform job tasks.

Discussing Accommodations

Next, after the worker and employer have talked about the need for accommodation, they should discuss what the worker’s needs are. During this discussion, the worker and employer do not need to talk about exactly what the worker’s disability is. Instead, they should talk about how the worker will perform certain functions of the job. For instance, job functions a worker could perform with accommodations include:

  • Accessing the workplace or workstation
  • Communicating verbally or in writing
  • Maintaining focus, organization, or energy level
  • Coping with stress or social situations

The employer must keep a worker’s personal and medical information secure and confidential, and disclose it only to people involved in that worker’s accommodation process. An employer may deny the worker’s accommodation request, however this denial must be in writing.

Details in the Individual Accommodation Plan

The worker and employer should then create the individual accommodation plan, which should state:

  • The worker’s name and title or department
  • The manager or supervisor’s name, and title or department
  • When accommodations should start, and when they should end, if applicable
  • How the employer will provide accessible-format workplace information if needed
  • How the employer will provide emergency information in an accessible format if needed
  • When or how often the plan should be reviewed and updated

Tasks

The plan should also list tasks the worker performs differently, such as:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Reading
  • Organizing

Job functions

The plan should include all job functions involving those tasks, such as:

  • Entering the workplace or visiting the manager’s office
  • Written communication with colleagues and awareness of company events and policies
  • Multi-tasking and keeping track of appointments
  • Which of these job functions are essential

Accommodations

The plan must list accommodations that would allow the worker to perform each function, such as:

  • Moving throughout the workplace without using stairs
  • Receiving written information in accessible formats
  • Accessing records of appointment times and tasks needing priority

Strategies

The plan should then outline strategies for these accommodations, such as having:

  • A ramp at the front door or meetings on the first floor
  • Digital versions of all documents using email and screen reading software
  • Calendars and flowcharts and/or tasks given priority levels when assigned

Actions needed

Actions needed to implement these strategies, such as:

  • Installing a ramp or arranging meeting space
  • Buying or downloading screen reader software on the worker’s computer
  • Buying a calendar and creating a priority system

A number of people are responsible for these actions, such as:

  • Human resources
  • maintenance personnel
  • IT
  • The worker’s manager

Other information

Lastly, the following other information may also be included in the plan:

Any documents relating to this information, such as a copy of an emergency response plan or a copy of the accommodation plan in an accessible format, should be attached to the plan. The worker’s copy of the plan, or the denial if applicable, must be in a format the worker can access.

Reviewing the Plan

Finally, the worker and employer must observe how successful the plan is. They should review the plan and make any needed changes on pre-scheduled dates, as well as if:

  • An accommodation is not working correctly
  • The worker’s ability to perform certain job tasks changes
  • The worker’s job location or responsibilities change

Why do we need individual accommodation plans?

Accommodation ensures that workers with disabilities have the tools they need and helps employers hire or retain talented, competent, and creative workers with disabilities.