Does my employer have to accommodate me if I give them a doctor’s note?

This article was originally published by The Hamilton Spectator.

Q: Does my employer have to accommodate me if I give them a doctor’s note?

A: Your employer does have a duty to accommodate you, but it is not absolute.

The duty to accommodate is a legal obligation placed on employers, service providers, landlords, and others under the Ontario Human Rights Code to ensure that individuals with disabilities and other protected grounds are not discriminated against in the workplace, in accessing goods and services, or in finding and keeping housing.

In Ontario, the duty to accommodate requires that employers and service providers make reasonable efforts to remove any barriers that may prevent a person from fully participating in employment, accessing services, or obtaining housing. This may involve modifying policies, practices, and physical environments to allow individuals with disabilities and other protected grounds to fully and meaningfully participate in society.

The duty to accommodate in Ontario is not absolute, however. Employers and service providers are not required to provide accommodation that would cause undue hardship. Factors that may be considered when assessing undue hardship include the cost of accommodation, the availability of funding or resources, or the impact on health and safety. They also do not need to provide perfect accommodation.

Most importantly, the accommodation needs to:

  • respect dignity
  • respond to a person’s individualized needs
  • allow for integration and full participation.

Navigating the law of accommodation can be challenging as each solution depends on individual circumstances. Reach out to a member of our team to discuss your specific situation.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Ross & McBride professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.


Nicole Biros-Bolton
Nicole Biros-Bolton
P: 289-260-1277