The duty to accommodate is a broad equality concept that applies to all grounds of discrimination covered under human rights legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Every human rights law in Canada protects workers from discrimination at work, including disability-based discrimination. Discrimination could occur any time that a workplace rule, job requirement, policy, or practice results in a barrier for a worker with a disability.
When such a barrier exists in the workplace, an employer (and the union, where one exists) is legally required to “accommodate” the worker, up to the point where the accommodation would result in undue hardship (see What is undue hardship? below). Accommodation might mean changing aspects of the worker’s physical workspace, the schedule or number of hours, the specific tasks she or he is required to complete, or other terms or conditions, in order to keep the worker in productive employment. It may mean a temporary or permanent reassignment to other duties. Many other forms of accommodation exist as well. At the end of the day, it usually involves treating that worker differently, so he or she can be treated equally and maintains dignity.