Why Accommodate?

Legal and Policy Background

For Principle Terminology​, click here.​​

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees: 

  • “[Every] individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination …”
  • The Charter is responsible for making Canada more accessible. The Ontario Human Rights Act strengthened the foundation of the Charter by legislating duty that ensures legal responsibility provincially.

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s ‘Policy and Guidelines on Disabilities and the Duty to Accommodate’ (2001) states:

  • “...education providers have a duty to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship… Accommodation is a means of preventing and removing barriers that impede students with disabilities from participating fully in the educational environment. ”

Full copies of these polices are available at Ontario Human Rights Commission​ and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.


It is expected that any person working with students within Student Accessibility Services will respect the strictest confidentiality in regards to any information obtained from, by, or about the student.

Any information and/or documentation shared by a student with Student Accessibility Services is confidential and can only be made available to other departments, faculty, or staff if the student provides specific written consent.  A student who consents to the release of information must specify who can receive the information and what information can be disclosed.

Please note that the student does not need to notify the professor about specific details pertaining to their disability.

Letter of Accommodation

The Letter of Accommodation might be the basis for your initial communication with a student with a disability in your class.  This letter is issued to the student by the Accessibility Consultant and is typically delivered to the professor either through email by the Accessibility Consultant or in person by the student during the first few weeks of each term.  If the student is uncomfortable giving the professor the letter in the class, the student may request an appointment in which to deliver the letter.

The Letter of Accommodation is a summary of the recommended academic accommodations the student might be accessing in order to participate in lectures, complete course work, and/or write tests and exams.  Although the majority of classroom and testing support will be arranged and provided through Student Accessibility Services, we want the professor to be aware of this support and we need the professor’s cooperation.

For example, supports such as providing your class textbooks in alternate format to a student with a reading disability will be arranged through Student Accessibility Services; however, if you have an in-class reading assignment, you may need to provide this reading in a format accessible to the student.  Either the student or Student Accessibility Services can help you if you are unsure what the student might need and how to provide the accommodation listed in the letter.

Please remember the Letter of Accommodation is a confidential, disability-related document, and the professor has a responsibility to keep this document secure and the information within it confidential.