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Accommodation and Accessibility

People living with mental health and/or addiction disabilities are entitled to certain rights, protections and accommodations under law. These laws include the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, people with mental health and addiction disabilities are entitled to equal rights and opportunities and freedom from discrimination. There is a legal duty for employers, landlords, service providers and others to provide accommodation for people with disabilities to the point of “undue hardship” (e.g. in terms of costs, health or safety issues). Even in cases where there is a potential situation of accommodation creating “undue hardship”, there is a precedent from investigated cases that directs employers, landlords and service providers to do what can be done until a more ideal solution is possible.

The Ontario Human Rights Code applies to the workplace, housing, facilities and services, contracts and union/trade/professional memberships. Employers are expected to recruit, hire and accommodate employees with plans of action that best meet their individual needs. No one can be discriminated in the workplace due to a mental health disability.

Landlords and housing providers have a duty to accommodate people with mental health or addiction disabilities. Housing providers must work with the tenant to accommodate their disability before any steps are taken towards eviction. It is important to know that a landlord or housing provider cannot deny housing to someone because they have a mental health or addiction disability.

The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Barriers can include physical, organizational, technological, communications and/or attitudinal barriers. Under this Act, accessibility standards are being developed for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the built environment.

The standards by which organizations have an obligation to comply are being phased in. The Customer Service Standard is now in effect and applies to all organizations (public, private and non-profit) that provide goods or services to Ontarians.

  • Organizations must demonstrate they have taken action (including training staff) in order to ensure that their services are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • If you believe barriers exist with respect to services you desire as a customer, you should discuss your situation with the particular organization and let them know how they can improve their services to be more accessible for you.
  • Complaints can be filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario if you are concerned that your rights have been violated.

Resources

Accessibility Directorate provides information to individuals and organizations on what to expect and take action on to increase barriers to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

AODA Alliance is a disability consumer advocacy group that works to support the full and effective implementation of accessibility standards in Ontario. 

ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty legal clinic that provides legal services to people with disabilities who live Ontario.

Mental Health Works is a national program of CMHA that builds capacity within workplaces to address issues related to accommodating employees with mental health conditions.

Ontario Human Rights Commission provides information about disability rights and accommodation, and the responsibilities of persons with disabilities and employers, landlords, unions and service providers.