Most accommodations for students who identify as having a disability or mental health challenge are inexpensive and easy to implement. Some common accommodations include:
Flexible work hours
Redistributing some work tasks to other employees
Arranging for access to a quieter workspace
When an employee tells you that they need accommodation because of their disability, the Canadian Human Rights Code states that employers must accommodate these needs as long as they do not cause undue hardship to the employer organization (we outline what this means below).
The majority of people who identify as having a disability or mental health challenge do not require special workplace accommodations. Approximately one-third of employees require an accommodation that includes a one-time cost of around $500. Regardless of cost, there are benefits to providing reasonable accommodations, such as improving your employee’s productivity and morale.
Work with your co-op student to create an accommodation plan that you both agree on. Individual accommodation plans are a formal way of recording accommodations that you would provide to an employee with a disability. Co-op students that are participating in the CanWork program can count on the support of a job coach to assist them and you in assuring success as you work through this process.
The Canadian Human Rights commission states that an employer in Canada has a duty to
accommodate up to the point of undue hardship on your organization. Undue hardship is
considered valid when an accommodation may:
Cause quantifiable, substantial costs that would seriously affect the organization’s
Exceed available resources even after both the organization and individual seeking
accommodation have applied for outside funding sources
Cause significant health and safety risks to any individual within the organization
Learn more about the Canadian Human rights act and how to develop an accommodation
policy at your organization here.