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A blind woman uses a computer with a Braille display and a computer keyboard. Inclusive device.

Employees that have disabilities need to be accommodated in the workplace, both as a progressive management strategy and due to legislated requirements under the Human Rights Codes in most jurisdictions. The good news is only 20% of workers with a disability require any accommodation, and in nearly two-thirds of cases where accommodation was needed, the cost was less than $500.9 Other common accommodations, like flexible schedules or remote work options, cost nothing at all. Further, many employees bring their accommodations with them.

9 Conference Board of Canada. (2015). Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities. 2nd Edition. Retrieved from:

Statistics prove that people with disabilities are excellent employees, taking off less sick time and demonstrating greater company loyalty than workers without disabilities. Even co-workers report greater engagement scores when the workplace culture is one of inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.10

10 Connolly, C.E., & Fisher, S.L. (2021, August 8). Why it makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities. The Conversation.

This is due in part to the large number of existing employees with non-apparent, undisclosed disabilities that feel more secure and welcome in a workplace that embraces accessibility.

With forecasted workforce challenges in the electricity sector, now is the time to attract the best and the brightest including people with disabilities, a greatly underused resource of skills and knowledge.

Some people with disabilities may need what’s known as “reasonable accommodations” in order to perform the essential functions of a job. It is important for employers to consider the procedures and administrative mechanisms they use to ensure accommodations are put into action efficiently.

Strategies and Recommendations

Below are 10 strategies for implementing reasonable accommodations successfully and efficiently:

  1. Developing, implementing, and communicating the written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodations.
  2. Establishing an administrative mechanism for minimizing or centralizing the cost of an accommodation 
  3. Developing and maintaining an inventory of common accommodation solutions that can be quickly and easily deployed upon request.
  4. Establishing an administrative mechanism or centralized source of expertise (appointing a specific individual and/or establishing an office) for assessing, evaluating, and providing reasonable accommodations (including assistive technology) to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the reasonable accommodation process.
  5. Providing training for executives, managers, and line staff about new strategies and devices, such as telework and assistive technologies.
  6. Ensuring that both managers and employees are aware that they may contact someone, internal or external to the organization, to receive confidential and free advice and technical assistance on workplace accommodations.
  7. Creating an online system for tracking accommodations in order to document their successful use.
  8. Allowing line managers to authorize reasonable accommodations, with team review of denials and a requirement that all denials be signed by upper-level management.
  9. Assigning a full-time director of disability services or workplace supports to coordinate accommodations strategies.
  10. Regularly revisiting accommodation solutions to ensure their ongoing effectiveness and appropriateness.


General adjustments to workflow and processes to promote accessibility

  • Modifying job tasks.
  • Provide flexible scheduling.
  • Assess the potential for remote work.

In Canada (2019), the majority of accommodation requests were workspace-related requests (such as specialized desks or chairs, or specific spaces in which to work), followed by non-physical accommodation requests, such as scheduling changes, light duties or requests for redeployment.

Please also see the Disability to Inclusion project video to learn more about Hydro One’s accommodation and return to work processes for employees with disabilities including advances in technology employed.

Below are just a few examples of accommodations that can be made to facilities and equipment. This is not an exhaustive list – if you have questions about ensuring accessible workspaces, we encourage you to seek expert advice (see “Selected resources” for more information).

Accessible Equipment and Workspaces

  • Provide accessible communication devices such as hands-free telephones or voice-to-text/text-to-voice translation.
  • Provide document holders to make typing easier.
  • Provide accessibility software such as screen readers or large print.
  • Install carpets or non-slip strips to promote ease of movement.
  • Adjust the height of shared items such as photocopiers, printers and fax machines to promote ease of access and reach.
Disabled woman in a wheelchair on a ramp to the barrier-free business office

Accessibility of Common Spaces

sign language interpretor presenting to a laptop
  • Widen hallways and entrances to workspaces and common areas.
  • Install access ramps and automatic door openers.
  • Ensure that washroom facilities are accessible.
  • Provide designated accessible parking spaces.
  • Install air filters to restrict or limit respiratory or skin irritants.
  • Consider low-glare light, natural light and stronger light for visual disabilities in Meetings/interviews/presentations.
  • Ensure presentation material is accessible.
  • Provide sign language interpreters/captioners as needed.
  • Change the venue if necessary to promote ease of access Emergency equipment and procedures.
  • Install a visual signal to complement the auditory alarm.
  • Ensure workplace emergency procedures are developed to ensure the safety of all staff, including people with disabilities.

Useful Resources