Under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), employers, landlords, and service providers must accommodate people with disabilities. In other words, organizations have a duty to make changes in order to meet the needs of workers, tenants, customers, or clients with disabilities. In this article, we will explore the right to accommodation in services. Accommodation in the delivery of goods, services, and facilities ensures that people with disabilities can benefit from the same services that people without disabilities have access to.
The Right to Accommodation in Services
Multiple Contact Methods
Customers or clients with disabilities should be able to contact service providers in multiple ways. For example, customers or clients may need to do business:
- In person
- By phone, teletypewriter (TTY), or video relay service (VRS)
- By email, or through a contact form online
Accommodating Service Animals
Moreover, when customers contact service providers in person, they have the right to enter with their service animals. Service providers must allow customers with disabilities to keep their service animals with them anywhere they need to go, except in places where the law excludes service animals. For example, service animals are allowed in restaurant dining rooms, but not kitchens.
Furthermore, some customers or clients with disabilities may need more time or breaks than non-disabled clients have access to. For example, some students with disabilities may need more time or breaks when they take tests.
Similarly, if services have attendance requirements or deadlines, these requirements should be flexible to accommodate clients’ disabilities. For example, a doctor may cancel an appointment when a patient is late. However, patients with disabilities who use specialized transportation may have little control over their arrival time. As a result, the doctor should make this deadline flexible.
Considering Mitigating Circumstances
Finally, some customers or clients may behave in inappropriate ways that would usually result in negative consequences. However, if a customer or client’s disability has an impact on their behaviour, the service provider may need to withhold some of the negative consequences that would usually follow such behaviour.
Accommodation in the delivery of goods, services, and facilities ensures that people of all abilities have access to the same products, places, and activities.