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Roles and responsibilities

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Often, a number of parties might be involved in the accommodation process rendering it quite complex. Everyone should co-operatively engage in the process, share information and avail themselves of potential accommodation solutions. It is in everyone’s best interests that congenial and respectful relationships be maintained throughout the accommodation process.

The student with a disability (or his or her parent/guardian) has a responsibility to:

  • advise the education provider of the need for accommodation related to a disability
  • make his or her needs known to the best of his or her ability, so that the education provider may make the requested accommodation
  • answer questions or provide information regarding relevant restrictions or limitations, including information from health care professionals, where appropriate, and as needed
  • participate in discussions regarding possible accommodation solutions
  • co-operate with any experts whose assistance is required
  • fulfill agreedupon responsibilities, as set out in the accommodation plan
  • work with the education provider on an ongoing basis to manage the accommodation process
  • advise the education provider of difficulties they may be experiencing in accessing educational life, including problems with arranged accommodations.

As a party to the accommodation process, the education provider has a responsibility to:

  • take steps to include students with disabilities in in-class and extra-curricular activities
  • advise students or their parent(s)/guardian(s) of available accommodations and support services, and the process by which these resources may be accessed
  • accept a student’s request for accommodation in good faith (even when the request does not use any specific formal language), unless there are legitimate reasons for acting otherwise
  • take an active role in ensuring that alternative approaches and possible accommodation solutions are investigated, and canvass various forms of possible accommodation and alternative solutions as part of the duty to accommodate
  • obtain expert opinion or advice where needed, and bear the costs of any required disability-related information or assessment
  • maximize a student’s right to privacy and confidentiality, including only sharing information regarding the student’s disability with those directly involved in the accommodation process
  • limit requests for information to those reasonably related to the nature of the need or limitation, and only for the purpose of facilitating access to educational services
  • deal with accommodation requests in a timely manner
  • ensure that the school environment is welcoming and that all students treat one another with respect
  • take immediate remedial action in situations where bullying and harassment are or may be taking place
  • educate all faculty, staff and students about disability-related issues.

In the provision of educational services, the education provider has a responsibility to:

  • review the accessibility of the educational institution as a whole, including all educational services;
  • design and develop new or revised facilities, services, policies, processes, courses, programs or curricula inclusively, with the needs of persons with disabilities in mind; and
  • ensure that the costs of accommodation are spread as widely as possible.

Unions, professional associations, and third party educational service providers are required to:

  • take an active role as partners in the accommodation process
  • facilitate accommodation efforts
  • support accommodation measures irrespective of collective agreements, unless to do so would create undue hardship.

The duty to accommodate a disability exists for needs that are known. Education providers are not, as a rule, expected to accommodate disabilities of which they are unaware. However, some students may be unable to identify or communicate their needs because of the nature of their disability. In such circumstances, education providers should attempt to assist a student who is perceived to have a disability, by offering assistance and accommodation. Once disability-related needs are known, the legal onus shifts to those with the duty to accommodate.

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