The first review of the AODA’s Employment Standards became public in 2019. In this review, the AODA Employment Standards Development Committee recommends changes to the existing Employment Standards. In addition, the Committee also identifies barriers that employment-seekers and workers with disabilities face, and recommends strategies to remove these barriers. This article will discuss the Committee’s recommendations for notifying job applicants about workplace accommodation at every stage of employment.
Notifying Job Applicants about Workplace Accommodation at Every Stage of Employment
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides workers with disabilities the right to accommodation in employment. Furthermore, employers must also provide workplace accommodations under the Employment Standards. These standards require employers to notify job applicants about the availability of accommodations during three (3) stages:
- Notice to successful applicants
At each of these stages, employers must notify applicants that they can request accommodations for that stage. For example, employers’ job postings may invite applicants to request accommodations during the recruitment stage of the application process.
However, this staged approach to notifying applicants may lead to misunderstandings. For instance, applicants may believe that a workplace will provide accommodations only during the recruitment stage. If a prospective applicant needs accommodations at the selection stage, they may believe that the employer would not provide these accommodations. Likewise, if a prospective applicant needs accommodations throughout their employment, they may think the employer would refuse their request. As a result, some people with disabilities may not apply for jobs if their postings mention the availability of accommodations only at the recruitment stage.
Therefore, the Committee recommends an update to the Employment Standards to clarify this potential point of confusion. The Standards should require that, at the recruitment stage, employers notify applicants about workplace accommodations at every stage of employment. In other words, job postings should announce that accommodation is available not only during recruitment, but throughout employment. These clearer job postings would encourage more candidates with disabilities to apply for jobs in workplaces that welcome them.